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Jewesses with Attitude

Jewesses: Jappy, Bizarre, or Cool?

Why have we, a group of Jewish young women respectful of pop culture and history, opted to call ourselves "Jewesses with Attitude"? After all, when we tested "Jewesses" with friends and colleagues, we were told it sounds "Jappy," "old-fashioned," and "weird." But we decided we love it, in large part because it immediately sparked heated discussion.

We also decided to reclaim this term for ourselves because of its cool revolutionary roots. Flash to 1895: Rosa Sonneschein (1847-1932) founded and edited The American Jewess (1895-1899), "the only magazine in the world devoted to the interests of Jewish women." It was the first English-language periodical aimed at American Jewish women, hitting on everything from women's place in the synagogue (we should be able to "drink directly from the fountain of religion") to whether women should ride bicycles.

So, more than a century later, we follow in Rosa's footsteps by kicking off another space for Jewish women to sound off. While still perhaps pondering our place in the synagogue, we will also discuss our place in the oval office; rather than exploring whether we ride bikes, we may debate whether we should donate Jewish eggs. And though we hope for plenty of heated debates, the real goal as Rosa put it, is "to connect the sisters dwelling throughout ... this blessed country."

So, sisters, how do you feel about being called a "Jewess?"

How to cite this page

Jewesses With Attitude. "Jewesses: Jappy, Bizarre, or Cool?." 28 March 2006. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on August 21, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog/jewesses>.

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