Uplifting stories to beat the "news blues"

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The recent attack on women's health in the Stupak Amendment has got me so angry and frustrated that it's hard to see straight. But, thanks to stories like these and a second cup of coffee, I'm feeling better.  Good things are happening, and I want to share them with you.

  • This story about Rabbi Robin Nafshi, president of Seer Farms, a "people-centered animal sanctuary," left me with a wonderful warm and fuzzy feeling. Seer Farms "takes care of pets for owners who are temporarily unable to keep them, whether due to foreclosure, illness, domestic violence, overseas deployment, eviction or other circumstances," offering compassion to pets and pet owners alike in times of need. [Forward]
  • Girls Write Now, a New York organization led by Maya Nussbaum that matches girls with professional writing mentors, won the 2009 Coming Up Taller Award from the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. On Nov. 4, First Lady Michelle Obama presented the award to Nussbaum and one of her mentees. [Feministing]
  • Nancy Lieberman, who already made history for being the first woman to play pro basketball with men, has become the first female head coach of an NBA basketball team!  She says, "In 1986, my goal was not to be a girl playing in a men’s league, it was to be a player in a men's league. In 2010, I don't want to be a woman who is coaching men, I want to be a coach who is coaching." [JC.com]
  • Also in sports, Suzyn Waldman was the first woman to broadcast a World Series baseball game! She is also a breast cancer survivor. [MLB]
  • Courtney at Feministing praises GirlDrive, a road trip, blog and book project created by Nona Willis Aronowitz and the late Emma Bee Bernstein.  Aronowitz and Bernstein drove around the country interviewing women about feminism. Courtney writes: "Their voices struck me as distinctly young and alive and unapologetic, another huge gift to a lady looking ahead at her 30s and feeling a bit less wide-eyed than I used to. Nona and Emma recaputure that spirit for me. The sound of their voices are a testament to how the feminist movement reinvigorates itself. Neverending."  You can check out the book, as well as the blog, which features stories of women all over the country.  (Check out today's interview with Kate, a 26 year-old southern, queer, Jewish feminist.) [Feministing]
  • Marissa Brostoff writes about The Descendants Project, a yet-to-be-released documentary about the third generation decendents of the Holocaust, on both sides.  The film was made by best friends Michal Blum and Katinka Kraft.  Blum is Jewish and Kraft is the granddaughter of a Nazi soldier.  Brostoff writes: "[Blum and Kraft] share an earnest belief that tolerance and dialogue can heal the wounds inflicted by history—and everyone else interviewed in the film seems to feel the same way." [Tablet]

And back to healthcare, it feels like the Jewish community is starting to come together to support women's health and the right to abortion coverage.  Three Jewish organizations (The National Council of Jewish Women, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the American Jewish Congress) have publically come out against the Stupak Amendment.  (I think the NCJW gets extra points for calling the amendment "draconian.")  Sarah Seltzer also commends Jewish Rep. Jerrold Nadler for speaking up about the bill's effect on women on the Sisterhood, and I never get tired of watching Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz vow to kill the amendment on MSNBC.

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