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Mona Golabek Photo

Making Family Stories into Art

This weekend I was lucky enough to see two talented Jewish women make memorable art from their family stories. On Friday night, I went to Club Passim, the legendary folk venue in Harvard Square, to hear one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Lucy Kaplansky. Her set mixed old favorites with songs from her new CD, “Reunion.” The title track tells the story of two family reunions. The first in 1971, when she was 11, began at her grandmother’s bakery and continued at a fancy restaurant. The second “40 years on,” moved her to write “Here we are together/our fathers gone/ just daughters and sons.”

Loose Tea Photo

Gorging Yourself on Cheap, Coin-Shaped Candy? You Are SO Better Than That

Chanukkah (or however the heck you spell it) is a time of lighting the menorah, recounting yet another story of the resilience of the Jewish people, and celebrating miracles both great and small. It’s also a time of eating things you wouldn’t dare touch the rest of the year, letting your standards slide, and finding yourself hung over on January 1st, loathing yourself as you struggle to button your jeans.

Don’t be that person.

Topics: Recipes, Hanukkah
Condoms Photo

Teaching Sex Ed to Young Modern Orthodox Women

In the years I attended Modern Orthodox day schools, I received close to zero sex education. Aside from one class period in the sixth grade dedicated to menstruation and a week during my senior year devoted to learning the laws of Neidah (Jewish ritual purity laws relating to menstruation), I remained in the dark about reproduction and sexual health, as well as about how they related to my identity as a young Jewish woman.

Letty Cottin Pogrebin Photo

Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Founding Editor of Ms. Magazine, Talks with "The Slant"

Accepting an award from the Jewish Women’s Archive earlier this year, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, a longtime activist, pointed to the Statue of Liberty, just visible in the foggy distance, and quipped, “I love her, even though she’s not Jewish.” Over murmurs of laughter, she spoke of her love for Lady Liberty’s “grace and beauty,” and defined what the monument represents to her: “welcome, freedom, hope.” The same could be said of Pogrebin herself.

Bookshelf and books

The Talmud: Repository of Wisdom or Masculine Tool of Oppression? Maggie Anton Weighs In

Writer Maggie Anton, whose "Rashi’s Daughters” series has sold 175,000 copies, believes that studying Talmud is the most feminist thing a woman can do. “Knowledge of Talmud is the key to halacha,” she says. Anton asserts that modern Jewish law is made at a table full of Talmud scholars, and that women can have a seat at that table.

Identifying Triangle fire victims at the 26th Street Pier Morgue

Why history is not just about the past

A fire blazes through a garment factory. The building has too few exits and not enough fire escapes. Fire equipment cannot reach the fire. More than 100 people—many of them young women—die. Bodies, burnt beyond recognition, line the floor of a government building, awaiting identification.

If you’re thinking, “I know that story—it happened at New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Company in 1911,” think again. Though the details fit the Triangle tragedy, the scene I’ve just described is the deadly fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, this past Saturday night.

Topics: Labor, History
Smitten Kitchen Cookbook Photo

Tasty Treat: Talking Shop with Smitten Kitchen's Deb Perelman

Just before my favorite holiday last week, I sat down with the prolific food-blogger-turned-cookbook-author Deb Perelman. The founder of the Smitten Kitchen was recently given a spot on the Forward 50 and is currently touring the U.S. to promote her new book, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook. Next week, I will post more of the story about how her recipes have inspired my own culinary pursuits. But first, here is your chance to be a fly on the wall in our conversation about how she came to write and publish her delicious new book.

Red Flower Photo

In Celebration of Our Bodies...and Our Unique Wiring

In case you haven’t heard, Naomi Wolf just came out with a new book, Vagina: A New Biography, and it just might change your life.

We're Grateful For... Having Come A Long Way, Baby

As we approach this year's Thanksgiving, I asked some of the JWA staff members how far they've come—personally or politically, culturally or collectively—and how that's inspired a sense of gratitude. Here is a sampling from Etta King, Michelle Cash, Stephen Benson, and Ellen Rothman.

Phyllis Schlafly photo

Phyllis Schlafly: Groundbreaker for Women's Rights?

For today’s young feminists, the name Phyllis Schlafly may be totally unfamiliar; if anything, it triggers a distant memory of a footnote in an AP US History textbook. Those activists who lived and fought during the Second Wave are, however, all too familiar with the uber-conservative activist.

Topics: Feminism, Film, Law
Helen Bennett Sneezing Photo

Is It Cold and Flu Season Yet?

As the air turns brisk and squash appear in the grocery store, I realize that autumn really is here. Though winter is still a ways off, a quarter of my colleagues and a handful of our patients are already starting to sniffle and cough.

Topics: Medicine
Jewish Women in the Military memory board

The Army Nurse You Should Meet Today

“A Boston girl, one of the shortest girls in the unit. Maybe 4-foot-10. When we came ashore at Normandy, she almost drowned because she couldn't touch bottom."

An hour before she was to die, Army nurse Lt. Frances Slanger sat before a fire and wrote a letter to the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.

Women Belong in Senate Photo

Women in Congress: The Good News and the Bad

Ten years after the election that resulted in a doubling of the number of women in Congress, the old record of 90 women was broken on Tuesday. Five newcomers will join 15 returning female senators — including two Jewish women from California  — for an all-time high of 20, and there will be at least 77 women in the House (a few races are still undecided) when the 113th Congress convenes in January.

Obama with world third eye photo

Obama's Jewish Neshama

I was struck by the Jewish spirit (neshama) and the Jewish ethos that wound its way through the words of Obama’s acceptance speech last night. The emphasis on cooperation, on tenacity in the face of adversity, on individual responsibility and personal action, while underscoring the interconnectedness of the nation all rang clearly with Jewish ideals. Perhaps what I found most satisfying was Obama's return to hope. Hope.

Elephant and Donkey

How Being A Jewish Mother Informs My Politics

My political views are shaped by three important facets of my life – I’m Jewish, I’m a woman, and I have kids.
For starters, I grew up Jewish in Orange County, CA, where there were even fewer Jews than Democrats.

Ribbon worn by Weil at the National Suffrage Convention

Did Your Grandmother Have The Right To Vote?: With rights, comes responsibility

According to an August USA Today/Suffolk University poll, there are 90 million Americans who “could turn a too-close-to-call race into a landslide for President Obama, but by definition they probably won’t.” The poll found that people who are eligible to vote but aren’t likely to do so “back Obama’s re-election over Republican Mitt Romney by more than 2-1.”

American Flag

Political Jewess: Oldies but Goodies

We are at T minus four days to the election, and one of our favorite past times at JWA is looking to the past to inform the future...

So on that note, I ask:

LTL Institute Photo

JWA Spotlights Jewish Women's Activism

Like all large groups of people, American Jews are complex and irreducible despite some aspects of shared culture. Recently, the Jewish Women’s Archive made an interesting choice to focus a new curriculum on Jewish involvement in the labor and civil rights movements — without cheerleading or focusing solely on women’s involvement — thereby shining a probing light on that very complexity.

Antin, Mary - still image [media]

Mary Antin's Promised Land

Boston, MA-- Last night the New Center for Arts and Culture presented an evening of music and storytelling drawn from the history of Boston’s early Jewish community.

Topics: Memoirs
Pink Cupcakes

Why I'm Resistant To All Things Pink In October

Dr. Judith Rosenbaum, Director of Public History at the Jewish Women's Archive and lead developer of Living the Legacy educational materials, first wrote this piece for Role/Reboot. There you can read the piece in its entirety.

Freelancers Union Logo

Building a new social safety net: Sara Horowitz and the Freelancers Union

In 1909, Jewish women revolutionized the American labor movement. Before the huge garment industry strike known as the “Uprising of the 20,000,” union leaders saw women workers as irrelevant to the labor movement because they did not fit into the model of the traditional male union member. But these garment workers, many of them young Jewish women, proved that women could, in fact, organize effectively and challenge working conditions, and in doing so, they expanded the definition of worker and union member.

Don't Patronize Reds!

Dr. Judith Rosenbaum Talks Living the Legacy with Jewschool

This fall, the Jewish Women’s Archive released its latest online curriculum in the Living the Legacy series, a Jewish social justice education project.

Marilyn Sneiderman organizing with labor sign

Understanding the Past, Imagining the Future

Images and scenes etched in the minds of generations of Jewish activists--immigrant workers marching, sitting in, and striking; tear gas filling the air as riot police attack, beat and arrest union protesters; and battles with gangsters to free unions of mob domination. Freedom rides across the South, rabbis and religious leaders arrested in protests, and a generation of Jews--rank and file workers, organizers, and emerging leaders--swept up and inspired by a movement to win economic, racial, and social justice.

Topics: Labor, Unions
Bra Hanging

Mourdock, Menses, and Breasts

Here We Go Again. Add Mourdock to the Akin mixology, shake, and serve on the rocks.

Feminist Fist

Nothing to Fear Here, It’s Just a Little Feminism

After five years of functioning within the pseudo-reality of “Big A” Academia, I often ponder questions of identity formation and self-understanding.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on August 28, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog>.

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