The first Olympics I remember well were the 1988 Summer Games, held in Seoul. We were sitting shiva for my grandfather on Long Island. I remember my sister and I lying on our grandparents' bed (my grandmother always had pink satin sheets) and being completely mesmerized by the tiny female gymnasts as they tumbled across the floor. To my knowledge, none of those women were Jewish (Kerri Strug made her debut in 1992, and the Israeli gymnasts who competed in 1988 likely did not make it to American television), but American Jewish women have made a strong impact on the Olympic Games over the past 100-plus years.
Those of you whose lives don't involve a weekly update on what new comics have come out this Wednesday might not be familiar with Y The Last Man, a 60-issue comic book (10 volume graphic novel), whose much anticipated final issue just came out last month. The premise of Y The Last Man is that a mystery plague instantaneously wipes out every man and male mammal on planet Earth except for Yorick Brown, a 22 year old magician/slacker, and his capuchin monkey, Ampersand.
Pretty much since moving to Boston last summer, my friends have been making weekly pleas that we watch Mad Men on AMC. It took until last week, because in spite of critical acclaim and the insistence of friends whose opinions I trust, who wants to watch a television show about an advertising agency? (Of course, by that logic, who wants to watch a show about a paper sales office, NBC corporate headquarters, or a misanthropic doctor?). But I was wrong, wrong, wrong to delay! Why? Because aside from a smart script, good acting, etc.
Last week, I got an e-mail from a Jewish Women's Archive member, which was, in part, an ode to Sara Blum, the founding director of Camp Navarac in the Adirondack Mountains. And, since it's July and since I spent last weekend with my band of camp friends, I'd be remiss if I didn't write a little bit about summer camp.
When we were planning this blog in the winter of 2006, we had long conversations about possible names, ultimately choosing to reclaim the word "Jewess" from its exotic and sometimes negative connotations and give it a new life in the blogosphere. Well, it turns out we were at the forefront of a cultural phenomenon! A recent article by Daniel Krieger explores the history of this term and its recent reclamation by young Jewesses. Check it out.
Jewesses With Attitude recently reconnected with Rivka Solomon, the founder and visionary of That Takes Ovaries (TTO) and recipient of the Jewish Women's Archive's Women Who Daredaward. TTO takes many forms -- it's a book, an open mike movement, a play, and an organizing tool for women's and girls' empowerment. Most TTO events benefit women's and girls' causes -- women's shelters, Planned Parenthood, groups working to end human rights abuses around the globe, Amnesty International, and more.
It's unlikely that Emma Goldman predicted her legacy would inspire the name of an activist folk music duo, but perhaps she did. Over the weekend, I had the delight of seeing Emma's Revolution, a "musical uprising of truth and hope from award-winning, activist songwriters" perform with feminist folk music pioneer Holly Near.
What connects the Statue of Liberty with Emma Lazarus? Susan Sontag with Gilda Radner? Patriotism with labor protests? Musical theatre and domestic ritual with potato kugel and halvah? You guessed it: JEWISH AMERICAN HERITAGE!