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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Tucker, Alex 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.
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.
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.
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)?
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.
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.
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!
I reach for poetry that draws out my breath when it is caught in my lungs; poetry that surprises my heart into movement, expansiveness when it is heavy and turns in upon itself; poetry that feeds the pit of empty in my stomach so that it rumbles again for fire and food.
I’ve been sitting at my desk since 3pm today, hands at ready on the keyboard, but I haven’t gotten much done. I’ve mostly been refreshing twitter, checking my email, and holding on for dear life. The Jewish Women’s Archive is located in Boston, a town that has been my home since 2000. It's hard to see your home being hurt. Especially when words like "hard" and home" are far too weak. Today Boston is under attack.
A lot has been made of Justin Bieber’s weekend visit to the Anne Frank House and Museum. The teen sensation is known for making headlines, but it’s not often (or ever) that he makes headlines here at the Jewish Women’s Archive. However, try as we might, we couldn’t ignore the Bieb’s belieber baloney.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on March 31, 2015) <http://jwa.org/blog>.