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Ruth in Boaz's Field

An Un-Love Song

An Un-Love Song is written as a psalm to Shavuot, which is associated with one of the most beautiful, celebratory poems in history, the Song of Songs. However, it’s written in the style of a Lamentation, as a response to heartbreaking acts of aggression towards women and children in the misappropriated name of religion. The poem addresses current events against a backdrop of Biblical recounting, including the Mount Sinai experience, the sin of worshipping the golden calf, the subsequent breaking of the original Tablets, and the story of Ruth and Naomi. It is a decidedly feminist poem.

Topics: Shavuot, Poetry
Mae Rockland Tupa

Mae Rockland Tupa: Artist and Author

The objects Mae made and the books she wrote helped shape the field of Jewish Americana. Mae’s work, taken as a whole, reflects her view that “just as Jews have become an integral part of the American scene, so can a classical American symbol be used to express a Jewish theme.” A shining example is her hannukiah titled “Miss Liberty”, which is emblazoned with the last lines of Emma Lazurus’s poem “The New Colossus,” and is in the permanent collection of the Jewish Museum in NYC.

Rabbi Janie Grackin

For the Love of Children

My heartbreak was saved by a friend who watched my interaction with groups of children on playgrounds and in schools who told me that because I didn’t have other children, my heart was big enough to hold everyone else’s. 

Shannon Sarna & her mom_ Shannon Sarna & her Daughter

Reflections on My Mom

This year it’s been 15 years since my mom passed away from Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and I think this past year has actually been one of the most difficult without her.

When my mom first died, some people warned me how difficult it would be not to have her down the road, especially during lifecycle events such as weddings, children, and other moments of joy. Well, they were right.

Topics: Children, Mothers
Estelle Getty

Estelle Getty: Golden Girl

Do I admire her because she's been described as "... evasive about her height, acknowledging only that she was under 5 feet and under 100 pounds?" Well, all the more points to Estelle Getty for being an itsy-bitsy powerhouse, but mostly I admire her for being a genuinely funny, talented woman, who never gave up on her greatest ambitions. In an industry where youth and beauty are often valued far above maturity and wit, Estelle turned the tables. She found success in her later years, cracked wise about it the whole time, and taught young women like myself a few things along the way.

Kathryn Garcia-Cameron's BabyNaming Ceremony

What’s in a Name?

I am like Ruth, I chose to join this community. But my daughter is more like the matriarchs— Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah— born to the Jewish people. For generations the greatest welcome a little girl got into the Jewish community was when her father would be honored with an aliyah the next Shabbat and announce the name of his daughter. No great fanfare like a bris. No grand communal gathering.

Topics: Children, Mothers
Hannah White

The Power to Name Myself

Changing my name is a choice that I can make. I can keep my name if I want, or change it, or come up with something entirely different. By deciding to take my soon-to-be-husband’s last name, I am naming a particular moment in my life, my transition from single to married. I am changing my name, not because that is what I am expected to do, but because I am signaling a unified partnership, as we are both helpers to each other. Adam isn’t naming me, like the birds and the beasts. I am claiming the power to name myself.

Topics: Marriage, Mothers
Dinah Shore

Moments in History: Jewish Entertainers of Television

Earlier this month we promised more from our new series Moments In History, which commemorates game changing Jewish women in entertainment.  Our last entry took a look at women on the silver screen—today we’ll explore memorable moments from the lives of four very different Jewish stars of the smaller screen.

Nora Ephron headshot; back cover of Crazy Salad

Nora Ephron: Profiled by MAKERS

Nora Ephron, writer and director, wasn't interested in portraying women as victims. To her, humor was the way to get through a tough situation. In many ways she was the ultimate in Jewish entertainers.

Shirah & Dara

I am Hopeful. I'm Up for the Challenge. I am a Mother.

My daughter is 11 months old. Yet I don’t know if the thought that I am someone’s mother has fully settled in. Mother. It’s a term I did not consider carrying much weight until 11:46pm on June 12 of last year. Now, it’s a term that feels very rich and heavy. It is a term that is ripe with promise. It is a term that terrifies me.

Amanda & Grandpa

Naming William

I told my husband that if we're blessed to become pregnant again, I don't want to start discussing names until the day before the bris or simchat bat— perhaps we'll make that an added superstition that we throw into the barrel of Jewish pregnancy customs.

Reposted with permission from InterfaithFamily.

Topics: Children, Mothers
Walters, Barbara - still image [media]

Barbara Walters: Profiled by MAKERS

In this amazing clip from MAKERS, Barbara Walters speaks of breaking not just the glass ceiling—but the steel ceiling. It’s hard to imagine Barbara Walters as anything other than successful and confident.

Theda Bara

Moments in History: Jewish Entertainers in Film

For Jewish American Heritage Month, we’ve scoured the Archive for a special selection of posts we are calling Moments in History. This selection includes moments ranging from 1890 to 2011, each profiling a noteworthy moment in the history of female Jewish entertainers.

Topics: History, Acting, Film
Wendy Wasserstein

Making Trouble: Clips from the Cutting Room Floor

While hard at work here at the Archive, I stumbled upon some interviews that ended up on the cutting room floor during production of our prizewinning documentary “Making Trouble”. Take a look at a few clips that feature fabulous Jewish women in entertainment talking about fabulous Jewish women in entertainment.

See Tovah Feldshuh speak about the ahead of her time Sophie TuckerAlex Borstein explore Gilda Radner's beauty,  Adrienne Cooper's take on Molly Picon gender roles, and Wendy Wasserstein's thoughts Jewish entertainers on and off the stage. 

margolis_adele1.jpg - still image [media]

Adele at 100

What better way to end our chapter on poetry than with a poem by Ellen Steinbaum. Ellen's poem, "Adele at 100", is inspired by writer and teacher Adele Margolis. This particular poem is from her new book, Brightness Falls, which will be out in September.

Topics: Poetry
Bob Dylan

How to Practice Tikkun Olam

The world is absurd. The world is romantic. The world is corrupt. The world is beautiful. Which of these ideas, or which amalgamation is most serving to you in the life you want to lead? That’s the question.

Topics: Activism
2012 National Poetry Month Logo

Behind the Words: Reflections on the Poetry Process

Each poem I write is about a person or relationship and the feelings and sensations I associate with him/her/them/it. Some explore connections with friends or family, while others dissect my relationship with God or with myself. I usually write in moments of clarity—not as a means of working through an idea or problem. Rather the poem is a record of a conclusion or discovery I have made, or perhaps poses a question for which I have decided to seek an answer.

Topics: Poetry
Anger Images

J.A.P.: Let’s Keep It Unpalatable

We can be powerful women who know what we want. We should be, and we should be able to be without having to define ourselves according to antiquated parameters. Let’s set up new paradigms, and push beyond attachments to class and gender performance.

Alana Kayfetz

Reclaim the J.A.P.

Like, oh my g-d! Like, like really…If it looks like a J.A.P. and sounds like a J.A.P., is it a J.A.P. (Jewish American Princess)?

The Triangle Factory on Fire

Tragedy in Bangladesh

Although the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire took place in 1911, sweatshops and unsafe conditions are not a thing of the past. 

Topics: Labor
Wendy Drexler

I Write to Pay Attention

Flannery O’Connor once said, “How do I know what I mean until I see what I’ve said?

Topics: Holocaust, Poetry
Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace Book Cover

Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace

Historian Melissa Klapper calls her new book, Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace “a project of documentation and restoration.”
Jill Albert

A True Leader

Jill Albert was radiant. She had an unmatched presence that could be felt by anyone touched by her warm embrace. She had a way of making all of the girls in my troop feel welcome, appreciated and unique. But her brilliance extended far beyond our small group of girl scouts: she baked cookies for her garbage men and always had a bowl full of Double Bubble in her car to give anyone who may have been having a bad day. Jill encapsulated the ultimate role model.

Women's Tefillah 1 - still image [media]

Why is Women of the Wall Such a Hot Button?

When it comes to women’s religious expression, what is it that drives men to such distraction that they throw chairs, hurl insults, and resort to other forms of violence? Are we as women allowed to push the boundaries only so far?

On Sunday night, I went to hear Anat Hoffman—chairwoman of Women of the Wall and Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center, the legal and advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel—speak at Brandeis University’s Hadassah-Brandeis Institute.

No More Sexual Violence

Sexual Violence and Judaism: As a Community, We Need To Do More

Sexual assault and intimate partner violence occur in the Jewish community the same as it does in the rest of the country. It is an issue swept under the rug for most Jews. We point fingers at other groups of people— rape happens in the city, in other religious communities, in communities with no religion, but certainly not us, we say!

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on December 20, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog>.

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Today in 1944, Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp died and was buried next to her husband Wyatt Earp, gun slinger and lawman http://t.co/pvudfPwbba
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Today in 1979, Amy Beth Sheridan became the first Jewish woman pilot in the U.S. Army. http://t.co/KJbXOVXtcW
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@SpicyVegetarian Awesome, can you send us a copy!?