Religious Life

What Queen Esther can teach us about intermarriage

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“She was trying as hard as she could not to be beautiful. But she had a brightness on her, made stronger by the fact that she wanted to hide it; thinking if it was seen, somehow, it would make him choose her, and of course it did.” 

Vashti is not a failure; Esther is not a bad feminist

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Vashti by by Edwin Long, 1878

Abby Wisse Schachter, associate editor at the New York Post, recently published an article in Commentary Magazine that suggests that feminist thinking has changed the meaning of Purim, and that that is a bad thing. I have not read the piece because the article is only available to subscribers, and therefore I cannot evaluate the merit of Schachter’s individual arguments. Still, I reject the idea that a feminist interpretation of the Purim story “lionizes the wrong woman, promotes a false political message of nonviolence and tolerance, and worst of all embraces failure instead of promoting perhaps the greatest of Jewish heroines,” as Schachter argues in her abstract.

Purim, feminism, and my kids

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What’s not to love about Purim? Another success story for our people: plan to kill us, foiled! Bring on the food!

It takes a village -- or a court order

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It's not always easy to raise children Jewish in America. Our holidays are no match for the big C, bacon is America's favorite food, and to top it off, your ex might baptize your children when you're not looking. That's what happened to Rebecca Reyes, a Jewish woman going through a divorce.

Happy Birthday, Hebrew School

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Today marks the 172nd anniversary of the First Hebrew Sunday School in the United States, founded in 1838 in Philadelphia.  You can read about it at JWA's This Week in History. It was an audacious undertaking which required the special talents of an unusual woman.

Feed Me Bubbe

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As stated in the Boston Globe, "Two years ago, Bubbe didn’t know from a website."  Her grandson, Avrom Honig, decided to share his Bubbe with the world, producing an online kosher cooking show from her classic 1950s Jewish kitchen called Feed Me Bubbe.  After 30 Youtube episodes teaching luchen kugel, chicken soup, cheese blintzes and more, 83 year-old Bubbe now has her own website, t-shirts, and even a ringtone.

Luck and Pluck

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Preeva plucking a chicken

Question: Why would a modern woman cross the road to go to a Kosher Chicken Shechita?
Answer: To get to the other side. With feet.

Trees have birthdays? -- a Tu B'Shevat link roundup

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  • Get started with "Tu B'Shevat 101" [MyJewishLearning] or "Tu B'Shevat FAQ" [Tablet]
  • What role have Jewish women played in environmental activism?

From Maharat to Rabbah

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Sara Hurwitz

A year ago we congratulated Sara Hurwitz on becoming a Maharat.  Today we rejoice in her new title: Rabbah.

The subject of ordaining Orthodox women rabbis is highly controversial. Last year Sara Hurwitz completed the required course of study in Yoreh Deah to become a spiritual leader, but instead of receiving the title of rabbi, a new title was created for her.  "Maharat" was created from an acronym that loosely translates to mean a leader in religious law and spirtual matters.

What the Women of the Wall Want

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Women's Tefillah 1 - still image [media]

Anat Hoffman is director of the Israel Religious Action Center of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism and chair of Women of the Wall.  This was originally published as an op-ed in The Forward.

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