Religious Life

Q&A With Miryam Kabakov: Editor of Anthology on Orthodox Lesbians

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Keep Your Wives Away From Them: Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires

A new anthology, titled “Keep Your Wives Away from Them: Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires,” includes essays by 14 women who identify themselves as part of the GLBQT community. Some remain part of the frumcommunity, and write anonymously. One is from a prominent politicallyconservative family and talks about her family’s gradual acceptanceprocess of her and her non-Jewish partner.

Behind "Chagaga" by the Tichel Cuties

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My friend Becca, along with some of her Orthodox Jewish Day School friends/co-tichel cuties created a pretty intense fusion of Lady Gaga and traditional Orthodox concepts (the wearing of the tichel – garb for married women, preparing for Shabbat, and the waiting for the Messiah). This is not a likely combination so that’s probably why it has been getting so much attention in the blogosphere, both positive and negative.

Celebrating Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, the first woman Reconstructionalist rabbi

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Thirty-six years ago today, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso was ordained as the first female Reconstructionist rabbi by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) in Philadelphia on May 19, 1974.

Kagan and bat mitzvah innovation

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I've been loving the coverage of Elena Kagan's youthful challenge of her rabbi over her right to have a bat mitzvah. I love it because it confirms what I've always believed -- that the chutzpah of young girls is not just pre-teen attitude but a sign of inner strength and a harbinger of great things to come (and I say this not only in a self-serving way as a former obnoxious girl-child or as the mother of a burgeoning one).

Jewish feminism, then and now

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Yesterday I celebrated Mother's Day in an unusual way.

Finding a Jewish feminist home

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I walk into what is undoubtedly the most beautiful house on campus. Its simplicity allows for the exuberance of the people within it to shine. The rabbi opens the door, a young father of twins, all smiles and joking about having to convince me to attend the university even though my mind was already made up. I follow my friend Tobah, a Conservative Jew who has yet to skip a week of coming to the multi-denominational Havurah, into the living-room-turned-synagogue. We squeeze onto a couch with a sisterhood of freshmen and sophomores who make up the majority of the Kabbalat Shabbat crowd.

Mikveh Dreams

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I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about niddah, or the laws having to do with a women’s monthly immersion in the mikveh (this is what happens when you run a Jewish blog---you read a lot of random things). I am no expert on this issue---far from it---but I think it’s a really interesting topic, and something that more women should be aware of, especially in light of the battle over mikvaot that is going on in some communities in Israel right now. 

Hipsters, Hasids and the war over women's bodies

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Hipster woman among Hasids

I am neither Hasid or hipster, yet I am linked to both fringe communities in different ways. Every generation has a counter-culture, and every religion has a fundamentalist extreme. The hipsters are my friends, and the Hasids are my tribe. They both live in the same neighborhood in New York City, and they are at war over women's bodies and bike lanes.

More Passover Memories

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Passover Table 2

The other day I blogged about celebrating Passover on my great aunt’s dairy farm outside of Baltimore.

Passover on the Farm

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Dairy Farm

How many kids growing up in Baltimore City in the 1950s celebrated Passover on a dairy farm? How many little girls hunted for the afikomen in a house that had once been home to slaveholders? How many children heard the sounds of cows mooing when they opened the door for Elijah? Not too many, I reckon, but for the first 15 years of my life, our family seders were held on the dairy farm owned by my Great Aunt Sarah Mahr.

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