I heard the news about Patrick Swayze's death when I logged on to Facebook last night and saw numerous status updaes about dancing the merenge and not putting Baby in the corner. Swayze's death is not just sad (he was only 57); for Jewish girls of my generation, it's the end of era.
I read Gabrielle Birkner's article in the Forward on the shameful lack of family-friendly policies in most Jewish organizations with disappointment, but not surprise. It's one of the well-known but rarely articulated -- except by whispering mothers, trying to figure out how to manage their jobs and pregnancies -- secrets of the Jewish community.
In (belated) honor of Labor Day and the start of the new school year, I want to call your attention to a set of lesson plans on labor activism and communal responsibility. The lessons are based on a speech given by Rose Schneiderman, a Jewish immigrant activist, lifelong advocate for the rights of workers and of women, and powerful orator.
Jews are generally not a quiet people -- at least not in America in this day and age. We like to speak up, to speak out, to express our opinionated selves fairly loudly. So when the White House announced this year's recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, it's not surprising that there was a vocal "Jewish response."
Forty-five years ago today, the bodies of civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, Michael (Mickey) Schwerner, and James Chaney were discovered, buried in an earthen dam in Mississippi. They had disappeared six weeks earlier in Neshoba County, Mississippi, while participating in Freedom Summer, a project of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
Over lunch today, our conversation turned to an article a couple of us had recently read in Tablet about Yiddish words for vagina. (Yes, this is fairly typical lunchtime conversation at the Jewish Women's Archive.) None of us had really thought much about this topic before, but we were all quite intrigued. Why yes, it IS strange, we agreed with the author, Elissa Strauss, that Yiddish slang for penis has been assimilated into general English usage, while Yiddish slang for vagina is virtually unknown.
Our friends at the National Museum of American Jewish History have recently announced a new project for which they are seeking public input. Their new museum, scheduled to open in November 2010, will include a gallery called "Only in America," that will -- in their words -- "examine the choices, challenges, and opportunities faced by a remarkable group of a token 18 American Jews on their paths to accomplishment."
Recently, JWA hosted a fascinating webinar with Dr.Keren McGinity on "Gender Matters: a New Framework for Understanding Jewish Intermarriage Over Time." Keren is the author of Still Jewish: A History of Women and Intermarriage in America, and is the Mandell L. Berman Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Contemporary American Jewish Life at the University of Michigan's Frankel Center for Judaic Studies.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. " Judith Rosenbaum ." (Viewed on April 19, 2015) <http://jwa.org/blog/author/judith-rosenbaum>.