Since leaving my 5th floor walkup apartment building and graduating to a home with enough space for a bicycle, I have been a woman obsessed.Riding my bike is faster, cleaner, and way more fun than riding the subway or the bus.Apparently, I am not the first Jewish woman in Boston to feel this way.
I spent the last week of December encamped in a Catskills hotel with about 425 klezmorim, dancers, artists, students, and lovers of Yiddish from around the world. We had gathered for the 23rd annual KlezKamp, a music and culture extravaganza organized by Living Traditions, a nonprofit dedicated to Yiddish cultural continuity and community. During the day, we took classes on everything from Hasidic dance to world Jewish foodways; at night, we danced to the newest and oldest in Ashkenazi music in the hotel ballroom with its famous gold lamè curtains.
Just a few months ago, I received an e-mail from someone who expressed appreciation for JWA but took issue with the phrase “women rabbis,” a phrase that often appears in Jewish Women’s Archive features including This Week in History and Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution. Her point was this: for a feminist organization that does empowering work, there is something unseemly and demeaning about modifying rabbi with woman when we wouldn’t dare do the same thing with man.
Why have we, a group of Jewish young women respectful of pop culture and history, opted to call ourselves "Jewesses with Attitude"? After all, when we tested "Jewesses" with friends and colleagues, we were told it sounds "Jappy," "old-fashioned," and "weird." But we decided we love it, in large part because it immediately sparked heated discussion.