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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!

Poetic Words Image

I Reach for Words

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. 

Boston

Holding onto Humanity

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.

Topics: Non-Fiction
Anne Frank

Justin Bieber's "Belieber" Baloney

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. 

Topics: Holocaust
Stop Sexual Harrasment

On the Power of Words

If this week's double parshios looks at the power of words to do harm, in an era when most communication was oral and few in the community could write, what would it say of the power of words when most of the 7 billion of us now have access to a cell phone, can quickly send a text, and can forward that text to the dozens, hundreds, or thousands in our contact lists?

Topics: Bible
Jordyn and Justin Lean In

Lean In But Keep Your Balance

Sheryl Sandberg seems to be everywhere these days from the cover of Time Magazine to Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.” She has raised the question of balance—of how families work together to handle responsibilities—from something at the back of our minds to something we face head on each day.  Agree with Sandberg or not, the question of how we “lean in” without losing our balance, is one we all face.

Ocean

Tracing My Ancestry Through Poetry

A few years after my grandfather passed away, my mother mentioned that for years he had refused to eat Spanish olives. I asked her why, and she said that he could trace his family history back to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and that this was his form of protest.

Topics: Poetry
True Colors Group Rehearsal

Painting the World with True Colors: An Interview with Two Jewish Women Helping to Tell an Incredible Story

In the one instant of silence between the curtain and the applause I remember feeling alive. I remember feeling like my heart had been ripped out of my chest, bounced down a basketball court, and thrown through the hoop for the winning shot. Then we (the audience) erupted in cheers. I was elated, proud, and profoundly humbled.

Women's Tefillah 1 - still image [media]

When a Woman Cannot Mourn

The Women of the Wall have been fighting for a woman’s right to pray at the Western Wall since 1988.

Today’s featured poet, Jennifer Rudick Zunikoff, responds to the latest challenge facing these women- the right to say Kaddish and mourn at the Western Wall.

Topics: Prayer, Poetry
Jaffa Streets

Travelogue for National Poetry Month

Throughout the month of April we will be introducing you to a wide variety of Jewish poets and their poetry.

I’m honored to present the first poet in the series, Annie Jacobs.

Topics: Poetry
Carrie Brownstein

Meet Carrie Brownstein: A Triple Threat

Although there’s nothing Jewish about her music, Carrie Brownstein is a bonafide Jewish rock star, as well as cowriter and co-star of the hit sketch comedy show “Portlandia” on IFC.  In an interview on the MAKERS website, she reveals her early interest in acting, her start in rock music, and her success as an actor and comedy writer.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Meet Rosabeth Moss Kanter- She Led the Way for Women in the Workforce

I remember how excited I was to discover Rosabeth Moss Kanter in the early 1980’s. She was one of the few females writing about leadership and organizational change management. I hungrily devoured The Change Masters as a relatively new nonprofit CEO navigating roiling changes in the healthcare and political landscape while learning to lead a complex organization toward continued growth.

Beate Sirota Gordon

Meet Beate Sirota Gordon – Who Knew?

Beate Sirota Gordon (1923-2012), feminist and Asian arts impressario, was only 22 years old when she wrote women's rights into Japan’s constitution. In her postwar career as a director of performing arts, first for the Japan Society and then the Asia Society in New York City, she introduced Americans to Asian visual and performing arts, from Japanese wood block prints to Burmese music to Vietnamese puppets.

Mimi Garcia

Tonight My Daughter Will Celebrate Her First Passover

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in my car outside my daughter’s day care. No worries, there’s no crying here, no major trauma. I’m trying to check things off my list while waiting for the start of “El dia de Primavera,” a celebration of the first day of spring.

Jackie Hoffman

Jackie Hoffman Doesn't Care If You Find The Feminist Message

Throughout March, Baruch College Performing Arts Center has been presenting a series of Jewish comediennes in partnership with the Jewish Women’s Arch

Gloria Steinem

Stuck in a “Pissed Off” Time Warp

Sometimes when I’m speaking about my alma mater, Smith College, I’ll start with Gloria Steinem. Forget being the largest of the Seven Sister schools, or having the first women’s engineering program, or even the amazing education I received. For bragging rights, I go straight to fellow Smithie Ms. Steinem.

Topics: Feminism
Mary Kobey with grandchildren, c.1905

Meet Miriam Kobey, “Denver’s Angel of Mercy”

An Orthodox Jewish woman from Suwalki, Poland, Miriam (Mary) Rachofsky (Kobey) was an unlikely pioneer on the western frontier. Her passion for helping others led to a successful career as a midwife in Denver at a time when very few women ran their own businesses.   

Topics: Midwifery
Sheryl Sandberg

I’m Hitting “Like” on Leaning In

The spotlight is on Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and her mission to change the balance of power in the United States.  Sandberg’s book Lean In hit the proverbial shelves this week and the media is buzzing.  Is Sandberg the new Gloria Steinem?  Will her message on women and leadership motivate real change? 

Bel Kaufman

Meet Bel Kaufman: She Wrote What She Knew

Adapted from The Journey Home: How Jewish Women Shaped Modern America, by Joyce Antler (Schocken Books, 1997). 

Bel Kaufman, the daughter of East European immigrants and granddaughter of Yiddish novelist Sholom Aleichem, emigrated from Odessa with her family in 1923 when she was twelve, quickly learned English, and used the public libraries voraciously. 

Sammie Moshenberg

Meet Sammie Moshenberg - Mazel Tov!

At its gala dinner on Tuesday, the National Council of Jewish Women will honor Sammie Moshenberg, Director of Washington Operations, for 30 years of service in NCJW’s Washington office.

Diane Arbus Identical Twins

Meet Diane Arbus - A Journey into the Surreal

At first glance Diane Arbus might seem like an odd role model.  To many she is simply a photographer of freaks. Her name is usually associated with the marginal and with what some call the “deviant.” Author Norman Mailer once said “giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child.” She struggled with depression for most her life and committed suicide in 1971 at the age of 48. She might not be the best example of a nice Jewish girl, but she is my choice for Women’s History Month.

Topics: Photography
Liana Finck Annual Luncheon Comic 1

Troublemaking is an Unpredictable Sport

 “When women talk about their accomplishments, it’s a signal to others to stop liking them,” said Rachel Sklar. “For men, success correlates with positive feelings. Women want to be well liked, they don’t want to rock the boat. We have to support our troublemakers.”

Topics: Feminism
Sophie Rabinoff in Arab dress

Meet Sophie Rabinoff as the Camera Saw Her

Sometimes at JWA a story insists on coming to life. 

The article on Sophie Rabinoff  in our online Encyclopedia was a good scholarly representation of the pioneering physician's life and work. But no photos accompanied it; nothing helped lift it off the page. A few weeks ago, her great niece Jennifer Arnold contacted us to say that she had some photos of her aunt and wondered if we could add them to the article.  I told her that we would be happy to, and she kindly scanned and sent them to me.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on November 1, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog>.

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