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Jewesses with Attitude

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Gabrielle Orcha in profile 1

I've Come a Long Way, Baby

If you’ve followed this blog over the last nine months (the time it takes for new life to come to term), you may have been privy to my special journey here at JWA.

Words with "Hot Mamalah" Lisa Klug

If what every Jewish woman needs is great accessories, a bissel Yiddish and copious chutzpah, she need look no further than Lisa Alcalay Klug's new book, Hot Mamalah: The Ultimate Guide for Every Woman of the Tribe. "Jewesses with Attitude” [JWA] talked to Klug [SK] about her irreverent look at what she calls “Hot Mamalah-tude.” 

Taking stock of the “unfinished revolution”

There are those pioneers who are out to change the world—think Betty Friedan, whose book The Feminine Mystique, 50 years after its publication, continues to spark conversation and debate about women’s roles.

Topics: Feminism, Film
Blume, Judy - still image [media]

Thank You, Judy Blume

Best-selling author Judy Blume is among the Jewesses with attitude featured in “MAKERS: Women Who Make America,” the film that premieres on PBS tomorrow night.

Topics: Feminism, Fiction
Jason and Mia Bauer

The Sweet Success of a Jewish Baker and Businesswoman

Chocolate Snowball. Toasted Coconut. Blackout. Raspberry Swirl. Peanut Butter Cup. White Hot Chocolate. Baba Booey. It’s hard to choose just one!

"We Can Do It" poster

Breaking the Modern Orthodox Glass Ceiling

Recently, The Jewish Week published an article by Rabbi Dan Friedman about the roles of women in modern Orthodoxy. The article, entitled “Female Orthodox Rabbis? We Already Have Them,” argues that as women pursue the chance to become rabbis in some modern Orthodox circles, they undermine the influential roles women have in modern Orthodoxy, such as the learned and spiritual rebbetzin or the guest lecturer at shul.

Aron Lieb and Susan Kushner Resnick

She Saved Him, Too

Susan Kushner Resnick was recovering from post-partum depression after the birth of her second child when she struck up an unlikely friendship with Aron Lieb, a widowed, childless, elderly Holo

Hillary Clinton Older Photo

Our Changing Perception of Hillary (Rodham) Clinton

It’s Presidents’ Day. And I find myself thinking about her, the woman who came closest to presiding over our nation, taking up temporary residence (for the third time) at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I am fascinated by our nation’s changing perceptions—and altered reception—of Hillary Clinton.

A Jones by Any Other (Married) Name

I recently got engaged, and despite the fact that my byline is short and simple, figuring out what to do about my last name will be tricky.

Topics: Marriage
Heart and Woman

Not Feeling the Candy Hearts and Kitsch? How to Turn Around 50 Shades of Abysmal Gray

It’s that time of year...chocolates, flowers, jewelry. Sappy advertisements and red and pink store displays. There are reminders everywhere. It’s Valentine’s Day.

Rachel Sklar Twitter Screen Shot

No Time Out for This Troublemaker

JWA doesn’t just live online. Occasionally, we do things in real time, with real, flesh and blood people. Just a little less than a month from today, we will hold our Annual Awards Luncheon where we will honor three women, whom we fondly refer to as “troublemakers”: Rachel Sklar, Rachel Cohen Gerrol, and Bel Kaufman.

MAKERS Women's Convention 1977 Photo

“Women Who Make America”

For the past year, I’ve enjoyed paying regular visits to MAKERS.com, a growing online collection of video interviews with an impressive array of women who have made a mark on the last half century of American history.

Chalkboard of Jessica Kirzane Photo

Guess What's Being Taught in my Sunday School Class?

A few weeks ago, on the Sunday before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I posed a question to the students in my class on "Jews and the Civil Rights Movement": "If you could plan a Jewish commemoration for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, what would it be? Who would be the audience? What would you do? Why should Jews, as Jews and in Jewish communities, commemorate this holiday?"

Group with "Thou Shalt Love Thy Neighbor" sign

Where Are You? Searching for our Social Justice Role Models

This piece was inspired by a webinar on “Jews and the Civil Rights Movement” presented by the Jewish Women's Archive in collaboration with AVODAH as part of the AVODAH Alumni network’s distance learning program. It  was originally posted on AVODAH's blog on February 5, 2013.

In 2009 I attended a workshop focused on Anti-racist organizing for white folks. The presentation allowed for self-reflection and next steps in our own organizing. At the end of the workshop, we were asked to share who our white social justice role models were. It was shocking, although not surprising, that the majority of the attendees shared that they did not have any white, social justice activists to look up to. I’ve been searching for my answer to this question ever since.

Topics: Civil Rights
Woman on 1950s magazine photo

When Do We Become 'Women?'

When do you become a woman? As in, someone that your friend or colleague actually refers to as a “woman.” It is is certainly not after your Bat Mitzvah (will get back to that later), nor is it when you graduate from high school, or even college.

Topics: Feminism
apple and orange photo

February 1st Link Roundup

Join a Rising. Start a Rising. One Billion Rising is Building Momentum.

Sara Hurwitz

The Rabba Revolution Continues

Three years ago this month, Rabba Sara Hurwitz made history in the Jewish world by becoming the first publicly ordained female rabbi in the Orthodox community. Since then, the 35-year-old mother of three has been working as Dean of Yeshivat Maharat, an institution dedicated to training women Orthodox clergy, as well as working as Rabba at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, which this June will graduate the first three women with the title of Maharat — an acronym for “Religious, spiritual, Torah leaders” — marking yet another important milestone for women in Orthodoxy. Rabba Hurwitz explained to "The Sisterhood" what this all means.

Sheena Levi Bat Mitzvah Photo

The Power of the Bat Mitzvah

When I was brought on board at the Lev LaLev Fund in May 2011, I was asked if I could run the bat mitzvah project program. I thought, sure, how hard could it be? I was once a bat mitzvah girl too after all. Yet, a year later, as I was writing about the 15th anniversary of my own bat mitzvah in my e-newsletter to the bat mitzvah girls, I finally realized just how much had changed in that short amount of time.

Topics: Ritual
Stairway in the woods photo

Redefine Success, Submit to Passion

It's January 2013 in Denver, Colorado. Things are going well. My children have settled easily into the school year in second grade and pre-K. Becker Impact started a challenging and particularly meaningful new project. Then, as part of that project, I interviewed a charismatic young lawyer who mentioned what first year associates now earn at New York City law firms. Plus bonus.

Topics: Feminism, Israel, Law
Pro Choice etc. poster photo

The name may change but the belief stays the same

Not surprisingly, the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade kicked up a great deal of dust. In early January, Planned Parenthood announced that it will abandon the term "pro-choice" to describe people who believe abortion should be every woman's right; on January 25th, tens of thousands of  activists gathered on the Mall in Washington, D.C. for the annual Walk for Life. One of our regular guest bloggers, high school student Talia bat Pessi, shares her thoughts on the issue. 

Table and chairs photo

How I Came to My Table

I was seated at one of those grand, heavy, deep brown mahogany tables in a beautiful room with two walls of windows. To my left, sat my mother, visiting for a few days from Los Angeles. Then to my right, and all the way around the table sat 10 classmates and my professor. We were talking about my favorite topic: How do you do good?

Topics: Schools, Theology
Trunk photo

Jewish Identity: A Round-Trip Journey

A life-long discomfort with institutionalized Judaism is hard to shed once you reach the mid-life years. Sure, it’s great to keep an open mind, but there’s also the sense of not wanting to waste time on pursuits unlikely to enrich one’s life. Some of us narrow our options as we get older in a bargain to reduce the odds of having regrets.

Rabbi Ruth's Family Photo

Let’s Get Real About Marriage and Parenting

“Being a diplomat is no career for a woman who wants to have a family,” said the consul.

“By the time you’re ready to get married he’ll be married,” said my mother.

“Don’t put off having children,” said the prominent professor.

Image of Heather Booth and Fannie Lou Hamer

Tikkun Olam in a Mississipi Freedom School

On February 1, 1960, four black students in Greensboro, North Carolina, sat down at a race-segregated lunch counter in Woolworth’s and asked for service. When the waitress refused to serve them, they remained seated. This act of passive resistance launched a mass Civil Rights Movement involving tens of thousands of black southerners demanding equality and an end to the hideous system of racial segregation. I was a vocal music teacher in junior high school in the Lower East Side of Manhattan then, and not that much older than these students. Their courage and dignity in the face of constant violence fired my heart and mind.

Alex Estroff Shadow Box

Jewish Women in Modern America: Lessons to Live By

Last semester, I was one of four boys in a course at The Weber School dedicated to Jewish women in modern America—a group of people who have had great impact on our lives. However, this group has received little of the public recognition it deserves and is vastly underrepresented in traditional history classes. Like most other American high school students, I have spent the bulk of my academic career studying Christian men from Europe. No wonder that I knew little or nothing about these remarkable women. Yet learning about them is only one reason why this course was so enlightening.

Topics: Crafts, Education

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on October 22, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog>.

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