Next week is Tu B'Shevat, the Jewish birthday for trees. The meaning of the holiday has undergone some major evolution over the years; it started as a tax deadline, was co-opted by Kabbalists and then the Zionists, and is now considered a holiday celebrating the environment and environmental activism in a broad sense. At the Jewish Women's Archive, our Tu B'Shevat tradition is to seek out and celebrate Jewish women who have dedicated their lives to environmental activism.
Jewish designers are a staple on the fashion scene – famous names like Zac Posen, Isaac Mizrahi, Max Azria, Kenneth Cole, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Diane Von Furstenberg, Ralph Lauren are all members of the tribe. A few years ago, Slate even published a story called “The Rise of Schmatte Chic”, which chronicled the fleeting trend of Orthodox Jewish influence in runway fashion.
Alysa Stanton, who made headlines when she became the country’s first black woman rabbi, will be leaving her Greenville, N.C. pulpit — after the congregation that hired her less than two years ago decided not to renew her contract. Stanton said the decision to leave was not hers, and that she fully intends to serve out the duration of her contract, which expires July 31, 2011.
A couple weeks ago, while visiting my parents over the holidays, I overheard something very disturbing. As I made my way from the dining room (occupied by the younger generation) back to the kitchen for a second helping of Indian takeout, I overheard my mother say to the table, "You know, I'm not opposed to arranged marriage."
I’ve never been particularly offended by the various cultural stereotypes of Jewish women that portray us being zaftig, food-loving mamalehs-in-the-making; as someone who falls perfectly within the parameters of this description, I tend to favor anything that lends legitimacy to my, uh, lovely lady lumps. But when it comes to Jewish women’s body image, there may be a darker reality lurking out of the sight of stereotypes.
Last week I wrote a blog post about the "Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah" issue. But now I'm thinking we should all just disregard what I wrote because today I found this video of Katie Goodman of Broad Comedy singing "I'll be Jewish for Christmas," and it says everything I wanted to say and more. In song.
This weekend has been very exciting for me–the synagogue that my family belongs to is hosting Sara Hurwitz as a guest speaker. For those of you haven’t heard of her: after studying for seven years at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, she was given the title of “maharat” by Rabbi Avi Weiss (an Orthodox rabbi) in March 2009, and deemed a Jewish spiritual and halachic leader.