Reading Adam Kirsch’s excellent piece in Tablet on Isaac Bashevis Singer reminded me of my all-time favorite short story, Cynthia Ozick’s “Envy, or Yiddish in America,” wherein the hilariously bitter Edelshtein is obsessed with Yankel Ostrover (a Singer-like figure), consumed by the fact that Ostrover has obtained mainstream adulation through having his Yiddish writing translated into English.
On April 20, 2006, President George W. Bush officially proclaimed May Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) to recognize Jewish contributions to American culture over the past 350+ years. President Obama’s 2011 proclamation declares that “this month, we embrace and celebrate the vast contributions Jewish Americans have made to our country… We remember that the history and unique identity of Jewish Americans is part of the grand narrative of our country…”
Happy May Day! Originally, May Day was a pagan springtime festival, roots of which survive in the traditions of flower-festooned maypoles and the crowning of the “Queen of the May.” Since the late 19th century, it has also been a workers’ holiday. Though in the US it has been officially replaced (and I would argue, coopted) by Labor Day in September, May Day remains an occasion for social protest of many kinds.
As a historian, I spend a lot of time thinking about stories -- what stories we tell about ourselves and the world, what stories aren't told, how our narratives change depending on context, mood, timing.
Baruch Atah Adonai
Viva Puerto Rico Ha'olam
Hahmotzee , Fight The Power
Jojo Lazar is a Boston-based multimedia visual and performance artist with a dizzying portfolio of projects. She puts her MFA in Poetry and love of vaudeville to work performing as “The Burlesque Poetess.” She plays the ukulele in the steam-crunk band, “Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys,” and with Meff in “The Tiny Instrument Revue” and in “WHY ARE THOSE GIRLS SO LOUD it’s ‘cos we’re jewish,” with fellow Jewish writer/performer Amy Macabre.
I was really wary of watcing HBO's new female-driven comedy, "Girls." I'd heard a lot of not-great reviews and was afraid it would read like an emo version of "Sex and the City," which I was never fan of to begin with. I don't typically fall for awkward comedies a la "Arrested Development," either, as they tend to make me, well, uncomfortable - perhaps because my life often feels like an awkward comedy, and I like for my TV shows to hit a bit less close to home. Still, I was drawn to "Girls" because Lena Dunham, its writer, creator, and star, is just 25 years old - and, oh, she's also Jewish. It's also produced by funnyman Judd Apatow (also Jewish), who has turned out such comedic greats as "Anchorman," "Bridesmaids," and "Superbad." With a behind-the-scenes cast like that, I knew I had to give "Girls" a try.
Twice a finalist for the National Book Award, Alicia Ostriker has published fourteen poetry collections, including The Book of Seventy, which received the 2009 National Jewish Book Award for Poetry. To further our celebration of National Poetry Month, Ostriker has allowed us to reprint a poem from her newest collection, The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems 1979-2011.
There’s been a lot of press about Rabbi Sharon Brous lately, since she became the first woman to crack the top 5 on the Newsweek America’s Top 50 Rabbis list. Of course, this wasn’t the first recognition of Brous for her work building IKAR, a vital and exciting Jewish community in Los Angeles; she’s already been recognized by the Forward, Jewish Women International, the Jewish Community Foundation of LA, and others, who herald her as a leader in reimagining Jewish life for the 21st century.
I sometimes direct tourists toward 'the HP garage,' which is marked with a plaque and gets photographed a lot. It is three blocks down the street from my house.
When not memorizing Latin declensions, Nina, a graduate student of history, authors alltumbledown: a modest attempt at style, a blog about the intersection of modesty and daily fashion. In addition to brightly colored pencil skirts and everything sequined, she is a fan of Mad Men, the quickly-disappearing Jewish Lower East Side, and the printing press. She currently calls both Philadelphia and New York home.
Ever dream of making a film about someone you wanted the world to know more about?
Most people believe that Yiddish literature and poetry was written solely by men. In reality, there were hundreds of female Yiddish writers and poets, all of whom had their own distinct biographies and writing styles.
Edith Kaplan Bregman was one of these women. She was born in a Russian shtetl in 1899 to a Hasidic family, immigrating to New York when she was 13. In America, she was exposed to literature that hadn’t been available in Europe, so she became a voracious reader. Bregman went on to write poetry in her native tongue, Yiddish. Her love of language led her to meet many Yiddish literary giants, like Avrom Reyzen, a poet who became her mentor. While she wrote poems throughout her early life, her works weren’t published until 1939, when a Yiddish newspaper had a poetry contest that she entered and won. Her victory gave her the confidence to publish more of her written work. Some of the themes that recur throughout her poems are a love of Judaism and God, life in Europe, and Holocaust remembrance. In addition to writing poetry, Bregman sang and played the mandolin and piano. Bregman’s last poem was published in 1997, a few years before her death at age 99.
Reading through my copy of the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food by Gil Marks, I learned that artichokes are a common feature on the Passover tables of Italians and other Sephardim, since they usually first appear in early spring. I immediately knew that I wanted make this culinary tradition part of my own Passover celebrations. Yet, I have to admit that artichokes are one ingredient that intimidate me with their spiny outer leaves and inner choke that can be gag-inducing if not removed properly. Until I overcome my fear of artichokes (and for convenience's sake), I used using jarred or canned artichoke hearts.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on August 20, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog>.