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Leah Berkenwald

Leah Berkenwald
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Leah Berkenwald

Leah Berkenwald was born and raised in Northampton, MA, where "The coffee is strong, and so are the women."  As such, she was a feminist and equal rights activist straight out of the womb. She is particularly passionate about reproductive rights and sex education, despite her father's wish that she do something less controversial like "save the whales." Leah draws strength from the memories of her grandmothers - two incredible Jewesses with some serious attitude. After three years as JWA's Social Media Specialist, Leah moved on to Wentworth Institute, where she coordinates Wellness Education. You can read her blog at www.leahbee.net

Blog posts

Putting Joy Ladin "On the Map"

Recently, we asked you to add Jewish women to our GLBT Pride Month feature on jwa.org. A contributor pointed out that we didn't have any transwomen, and suggested we add Joy Ladin. What an excellent idea! Not only should she be mentioned on jwa.org, she should be put On the Map. I used this as an opportunity to create a tutorial video to explain how to add an entry to the map.

Jewish women and GLBT Pride: Who will you add?

Former president Bill Clinton designated the month of June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month in 2000. Last year President Obama expanded the month to celebrate the entire gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) community. From the beginnings of the Gay Rights movement in at Stonewall, Jewish women have played an important part in the fight for equality.

Welcoming trans rabbis, stories from the White House, and the "stained glass ceiling" - Link Roundup

  • Transgender rabbi is celebrated as the the new assistant rabbi and music director at Berkeley’s Congregation Beth El. This story is also an example of the right way to report on a story about a trans individual (using correct pronouns, respectful language, etc), which is unfortunately still a rarity in the media these days. [JWeekly]
  • Sarah Lefton, creator of G-dCast, on her experience at the White House reception for Jewish American Heritage Month. About meeting Justice Ginsburg, Lefton said: "Of all the people there, the high school debate nerd in me was extremely awestruck by her." [JWeekly] Also from the White House, author Judy Blume tweets about meeting Regina Spektor. [Jezebel]

JDate and the pitfalls of Jewish, feminist online dating

Just last week, your grandmother was at Dr. Finklestein's office for her regular teeth cleaning and Sarah, the dental hygenist, told her all about her nephew who just met the nicest Jewish girl on JDate. Can you believe it? JDate! You know, you should really try JDate. You're not getting any younger, you know.

Topics: Feminism

"Sex and the City 2" v. "Agora": How will you escape?

This weekend, two movies starring two of Hollywood's most famous Jewesses are opening. One is the glitzy explosion of Sex and the City 2 (SATC2) starring Sarah Jessica Parker and the other is the relatively quiet premiere of Agora, starring Rachel Weisz.

Topics: Feminism, Film

Joan Rivers: "Rediscovered at 76"

There is a lovely piece about Joan Rivers in New York Magazine to mark the premiere of her biographical documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. Jonathan Van Meter notes that Joan Rivers has been "rediscovered at age 76," despite the fact that she has been in our hearts and minds all along.

Topics: Comedy

Guess who's going to the White House?

According to Haaretz, everyone is trying to figure out who is on the guest list for the first ever White House reception in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month. We have heard that big-name Jews in the arts, sports, and other fields will be there. There have been whispers about Sandy Koufax, Judy Blume, and Dara Torres, as well as activists and scientists.

We don't know about Judy Blume or Dara Torres, but we can give you a BIG HINT about one woman attending!

Celebrating Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, the first woman Reconstructionalist rabbi

Thirty-six years ago today, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso was ordained as the first female Reconstructionist rabbi by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) in Philadelphia on May 19, 1974.

A link roundup to keep you busy during Shavuot

On Shavuot:

  • What Shavuot teaches us about women [MyJewishLearning]
  • One woman’s search for the perfect blintz [Tablet]
  • Sarah Bernhard discusses Shavuot [Tablet]

On Elena Kagan:

If Elena Kagan were a man, would we be questioning her sexuality?

It’s common knowledge that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is Jewish, and except for some handwringing over the fact that her appointment would mean the Court would be made up entirely of Jews and Catholics, her Jewish identity is a non-issue. Unlike the debates over Justice Sotomayor’s ethnicity, no one is worried that Kagan’s status as a “wise Jewess” will color her judgment. Her sexual orientation, however, is another story.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. " Leah Berkenwald ." (Viewed on November 28, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog/author/leah-berkenwald>.

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