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.
“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.”
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.
Yesterday, the Jewish Women's Archive held its third annual Making Trouble/Making History Awards Luncheon. As a new member of the JWA staff, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Less than one week on the job, and I was packing my bags for a trip to New York City—ready to blog, tweet, photograph, and schmooze my way through the event. Not exactly the definition of “easing into things,” but I was ready to take the metaphorical bull by its metaphorical horns and dive right in.
Josephine Marcus Earp would really hate being on this page. Yes, the woman who lived with famed lawman Wyatt Earp for nearly 50 years was Jewish, and yes, she had plenty of attitude.
Editorial in the Forward published online March 6, 2013
It’s so tempting to deride Sheryl Sandberg for her new, self-appointed role as the leader of a social movement to bring more gender equality to the workplace.
She must be one of the richest, most successful working mothers on the planet, and in her new book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” her attempts to identify with ordinary working moms seem comical at times.
To illustrate that she, too, has found herself in unexpected situations as a parent, she describes a time when she discovered her children had head lice. What parent can’t relate? Except that Sandberg was on her way to a Silicon Valley business conference. On a corporate jet. Owned by the CEO of eBay.
You might expect a writer, at age 80-plus, to retire from the public eye. Not Faye S. Moskowitz. As chair of the English Department at The George Washington University, the acclaimed short story author still shapes the dialogue about Jewish American fiction and where it’s headed. She continues to give book talks and forge conversations between accomplished writers and aspirants. Her own work has sometimes been compared to that of famed Jewish American short story writer Tillie Olsen.
I'm not your old-fashioned Jewish Mother, who shovels guilt on my kids in whose lives I'm over-invested.
Back in the day (as we now say) when I was an undergraduate at a college that had been educating the country’s elite—all men, of course—for almost 350 years, the first ripples of Second Wave feminism were stirring things up outside the ivy covered walls. Inside, in a classroom filled entirely with women, an untenured (but well-published) female Senior Lecturer was teaching the institution’s first course on women’s history.
For Judith Malina, place has always been a state of mind. This tiny giant of the theatre world has epitomized the life of a nomad over her 66 years of work with the Living Theatre. Her peripatetic career has taken her company to five continents; she herself has gone from serving time in prison to performing in South American prisons, even to a self-imposed exile from the U.S.
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.
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.”
Chocolate Snowball. Toasted Coconut. Blackout. Raspberry Swirl. Peanut Butter Cup. White Hot Chocolate. Baba Booey. It’s hard to choose just one!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?"
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.
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.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on February 27, 2015) <http://jwa.org/blog>.