It’s one thing to swap stories (the guy who didn’t understand personal space on the subway, the guy who wouldn’t stop talking to you despite the headphones in your ears and your nose in the book, the guy who shouted something about what you were wearing) and, well, it’s another thing to take action. While great resources exist online—like hollaback, an app that exists in 64 cities across 22 countries—support can feel hard to come by. Harassment can feel isolating.
I reach for poetry that draws out my breath when it is caught in my lungs; poetry that surprises my heart into movement, expansiveness when it is heavy and turns in upon itself; poetry that feeds the pit of empty in my stomach so that it rumbles again for fire and food.
I’ve been sitting at my desk since 3pm today, hands at ready on the keyboard, but I haven’t gotten much done. I’ve mostly been refreshing twitter, checking my email, and holding on for dear life. The Jewish Women’s Archive is located in Boston, a town that has been my home since 2000. It's hard to see your home being hurt. Especially when words like "hard" and home" are far too weak. Today Boston is under attack.
When a people have been around as long as the Jews, they have to be pretty good at renewing and re-imagining traditions in ways that feel authentic and also relevant. How else can rituals, practices, and beliefs survive the changes of time and place? It's a fine balance that is nicely captured in the term "old-new"--used, for example, in Theodore Herzl's Zionist novel about the "Old-New Land."
The Jewish Women's Archive offices are located in Masachusetts, and as you might imagine, morale was pretty low in the office yesterday. On Tuesday, we witnessed one of the greatest defeats for the Democratic party as Republican Scott Brown was elected to represent our traditionally "blue" state. Gender was never really a part of Martha Coakley's campaign, nor the rhetoric surrounding the race in the weeks and months leading up to the election.
Today is the Boston Marathon, the oldest annual 26-miler; the "granddaddy" of road races. In just a few hours, hundreds of bodies will whiz through the city, pounding the pavement right outside my window. Without feeling side cramps, pulled hamstrings, or the throbbing of achy joints, the marathon is, from a spectator's vantage point (and perhaps from an ecstatically adrenaline-jacked runner's standpoint, too), a rather exhilarating, life-affirming, freeing experience. And yet, the opportunity to feel such freedom and exhilaration wasn't always afforded to everyone.