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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

Take action today with Not Under the Bus

Today I discovered a particularly obnoxious column in the Boston Globe that began with the line, "A specter is haunting America, and much of the industrialized world - the specter of female domination."  The piece, by Globe columnist Alex Beam, argues that women are taking over America and that boys are "tomorrow's second sex."  Beam claims that because women outnumber men in general, in colleges, and in the workforce, they are, in effect, "dominating" America. As the father of 3 sons, Beam wonders if he is "raising the underclass of tomorrow."  Seriously? 

Natalie Portman has got a point

Natalie Portman raised some eyebrows last week when she stated that she avoids Jewish roles, romantic comedies, and playing the "sex object," in an interview with Elle magazine.

Topics: Acting, Film

What would Ida Cohen Rosenthal think of your bra as a symbol for breast cancer awareness?

Today I got a curious message titled "Breast Cancer Awareness" in my inbox on Facebook.  It instructed me to update my status to say the color of my bra, and asked me to spread the word to my lady friends only. It struck me as an odd way to show support for breast cancer awareness, but I decided to play along. 

Throughout the day, I saw the number of status updates reading simply "black" or "hot pink" increase throughout the day, accompanied by comments by confused and frustrated male friends asking, "What does it mean???"  I was pretty surprised to see how quickly the message spread throughout the Facebook universe.  (Behold the power of social media!)

And as this was happening, and will continue to happen, I couldn't help but wonder what Ida Cohen Rosenthal -- co-founder of Maidenform -- would think of the fact that the bra is quickly becoming a symbol of breast cancer awareness.

The Western Wall: ground zero for the struggle for equality and pluralism

Today Jane Eisner, editor in chief of The Forward, reported the second egregious injustice at the Western Wall in the following pieces.

Women of the Wall Leader Interrogated by Police

The leader of Women of the Wall, a group of women who gather monthly to pray at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, was questioned by police, fingerprinted, and told that she may be charged with a felony for violating the rules of conduct at what is considered Judaism’s most sacred site.

Calls to action and "quiet revolutions" -- Link Roundup 1/6/2010

Saying goodbye to Jean Carroll

Legendary comedian Jean Carroll passed away on New Year's Day at the age of 98.  A pioneering stand up comedian, Jean Carroll was a regular headliner in nightclubs and theaters in the '40s and '50s.  She was featured on the Ed Sullivan Show, and she even had her own sitcom on ABC in the 1953-1954 season.

Topics: Comedy

The decade in Jewish women's history

Since we celebrated the beginning of a new millenium, Jewish women have continued to make important "firsts" in a variety of fields, and have made their voices heard in the Jewish community, in American culture and politics, and in forums around the world.  Here are just some of the important events of this decade in Jewish women's history.  Please do add other important events and accomplishments in the comments.

Happy New Year everyone!

The decade's best Jewish athlete?

Last week the Jewish Chronicle asked us to nominate the most important Jewish person in sports over the last decade.  They suggested Israeli footballer Yossi Benayoun, European judo champion Arik Ze’evi, tennis star Andy Ram, and American swimmer Jason Lezak.  Tablet magazine picked up on the story, and added Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis to the list. Excuse me, but where are the Jewish women athletes? Have they been invisible for the past ten years?  Considering the Associated Press' recent nomination of two horses for "Female Athlete of the Year," maybe so.

Topics: Athletes

Healthcare reform passes in the Senate and more - Link Roundup

This morning the Senate passed their verson of the healthcare reform bill in what was another historic moment.  Still, it doesn't feel much like a victory.  Significant compromises were made, especially regarding abortion coverage, not to mention the loss of a public option. Take a look at the links below for more information, and let us know how you feel about the Senate's bill in the comments.

Fetishizing ourselves

Recently, the infamous Heeb magazine began a feature on their blog called "Gratuitous Jewess," in which they feature photos of a scantily-clad Jewish woman, and then readers comment about whether or not they would "hit that."  Last week there was outrage over the Details piece heralding this very same "Jewess fetish," but apparently the objectification of Jewish women from within the Tribe goes relatively unchallenged.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. " Leah Berkenwald ." (Viewed on July 30, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog/author/leah-berkenwald>.

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