Religious Life

Our 10 Plagues

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Letty Cottin Pogrebin, a rock-star of Jewish feminism, delivered a speech called “The Ten Plagues According to Jewish Women,” at the Downtown Seder on March 25 in Manhattan. An adaptation of this speech has been published on The Sisterhood blog, and it is fabulous. Pogrebin goes through each of the 10 Plagues and demonstrates how each symbolizes a problem facing Jewish women today.

Floaters or Sinkers?

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Matzoh Balls

In the degradation of Passover tradition that happens when parents get older and children move away; at times when there is no one young enough to sing the Four Questions without embarrassment; when the eating of the Hillel Sandwich is skipped because everyone at the table gets acid reflux; when the traditional four cups of sock-rotting Manischewitz dwindles to a single glass of Hagafen Chardonnay that is raised four times and demurely sipped by the host alone, one Passover tradition lives on: Matzoh balls, or knaidlach.  Or, as my neighbor calls them, “those cool things you Jewish people put in soup on Passover.”

Is Leo DiCaprio "bad for the Jews?"

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Leo DiCaprio and Bar Refaeli

Why have an American actor and Israeli model become hot topics for the Jewish press? Lehava, a Jewish organization created to prevent assimilation, recently sent a letter to Bar Refaeli, a prominent Israeli supermodel, not to marry DiCaprio because it would be bad for Judaism. Some excerpts from the letter:

Expanding Bat Mitzvah

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Bat Mitzvah 1 - still image [media]

On this day in 1922, Judith Kaplan--daughter of Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism--was called to the Torah in what is known as the first bat mitzvah ceremony in America.

Celebrating the “Old-New”

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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."

Who's your Rabba?

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Jonas, Regina - still image [media]

Raised as a Reform Jew by an ardent feminist, it was drilled into me that I could grow up to be anything I wanted. An astronaut, a doctor, the President — whatever (though I’m sure an underemployed freelance writer slacker mom wasn’t what my highly accomplished mother had in mind.)

Tefillin Barbie's new career

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Tefillin Barbie

"You know Barbie's getting a new job," says my friend Mimi to me. "People can vote for her new career."

Esther: Nice Jewish Girl, Married to a Goy?

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This past weekend was Purim, and amidst the celebrating and partying one thing stood out in my mind that most people tend to ignore: the fact that the feminine hero of the story, Esther, is interma

Queen Esther’s Agunah Story

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You can learn an incredible amount about different people from language.

Gendering at Birth: the Bris and the Baby Naming

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I consider myself fortunate to take Gender Studies as my English literature class during my final semester of high school.

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