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Mazel Tov Joan Nestle, Suze Orman, and Hilary Rosen!

Okay, so October is host to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Love Your Body Day, Fat Talk Free Week, AND GLBT History Month?  This is a seriously busy month!

GLBT History Month chooses 31 GLBT icons to highlight, one for each day of the month.  This year, three Jewesses are included in the list! 

Ask not what JWA can do for you...

The Jewish Women's Archive is in the running for a Jewish Choice Award from GreatNonProfits, an online directory of non-profits where users can rate and review their favorite (or least favorite) organizations. Think of it as the "Yelp" of non-profits. The Jewish Choice Award will go to the Jewish organization with the most positive reviews in its category.

Guilt, Health, and the Jewish body - Link Roundup Oct. 20, 2009

  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month: "Where you can put your pink ribbons," by Tamar Fox. [MyJewishLearning
  • Marjorie Ingall and Debra Nussbaum Cohen discuss breastfeeding, and the Jewish guilt that comes with failure. [Tablet] [The Sisterhood]
  • A "healthy" American appetite for Israeli food is growing. [JTA]
  • Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags -- HBO's new documentary about the rise and fall of the garment industry and its role in the American Jewish experience. (Don't forget its significance in labor history and women's history!) [Heeb] [Forward

Fat Talk

October is host to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Love Your Body Day (Oct. 21st), and now Fat Talk Free Week. Beginning Oct. 19th, Fat Talk Free Week challenges us to stop "Fat Talk", defined as "all of the statements made in everyday conversation that reinforce the thin ideal and contribute to women's dissatisfaction with their bodies.

The collective "shoebox": JWA joins Flickr Commons

Last week JWA became the 29th organization to join Flickr Commons, a project to increase access to public photo collections and to provide a way for the general public to contribute information and knowledge to the historical record.

Love, Remembrance, and Vigilante Injustice - Link Roundup Oct. 15, 2009

On leadership:

  • Jewish Women International releases its "10 Women to Watch in 5770" list.  Mazel Tov! [JWI]

On the Arts:

  • The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco will host “As It Is Written: Project 304,805,” a public performance in which 34-year-old scribe Julie Seltzer will spend a year calligraphing a Torah scroll in one of the museum’s galleries. [Tablet]
  • New York, I Love You opens this Friday, starring Natalie Portman as an ultra-Orthodox woman.  Tablet looks over the history of Hasidic characters in film. [Tablet]
  • Regina Spektor condemns Holocaust deniers in her song, "Ink Stains." [MyJewishLearning]

JWA one of 50 most innovative Jewish organizations in Slingshot '09-'10!

The Jewish Women's Archive has been named one of the nation’s 50 most innovative Jewish nonprofits in Slingshot ’09-’10, a resource guide for Jewish innovation.

"Cravings:" Food and the Jewish experience

This weekend I went to the Central Square Theater to see Cravings: Songs of Hunger and Satisfaction, a cabaret set in a Jewish kitchen that explores themes of hunger, success, acceptance, nourishment, fame, and sex.  Cravings, starring cabaret artist Belle Linda Halpern, accompanied by Ron Roy, and directed by Sabrina Hamilton, was originally created to close the Ko Festival's 2008 series, themed on food.

As I entered the theater I was surprised to find myself in a Jewish kitchen. The only thing out of place was the piano. Belle Linda Halpern made charoset, and kibbitzed with us in between songs.  She even called on Ron to help peel apples. As a Jewish woman, I found everything in this show relatable. (Except, where did they find such a quiet food processor!?) But what struck me most of all was the connection Halpern draws between the Jewish craving for food and the craving for success and achievement.  

Topics: Food, Theater

Save the ta-tas?

"Boobs, boobies, titties, and ta-tas."  These are not the words of a giggling 6 year-old, but the words of the nationwide Breast Cancer awareness campaign.  They are illustrated by the t-shirt to the right, and a variety of other oh-so-tasteful designs. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and this year, campaigns have ditched the emotional appeals to save the lives of the women in your life in favor of misogynistic slogans like, "Save the titties!" and "Save Second Base!"

 

Jewish women and the Nobel Prize

As the 2009 Nobel prizes are being handed out, many are fussing over Obama's Peace Prize -- does he deserve it, will this affect his approach with Iran, etc.  Important questions, certainly, but don't let them distract you from the real story this year: 2009 is a record year for women Nobel Prize-winners

Only 40 women have ever won the prestigious Nobel Prize, 5 of whom were awarded the prize this year, one of whom is Israeli Jewess Ada Yonath, winner of the Chemistry Prize.

Topics: Science

Why the Anne Frank video is so unsettling

I logged onto the computer last weekend to see that Anne Frank was a trending topic on Twitter. That was largely thanks to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, which released (as the Bintel Blog reported) a new video, showing the only known footage of Anne, leaning out of a window and watching a married couple. It immediately became a hit on YouTube. Seeing such a timelessly tragic figure from another time on such definitively contemporary context — Web 2.0 — had an odd feeling to it. And then of course, Anne got caught in the middle of a bizarre dust-up between David Mamet and the Disney Studio. (Mamet’s re-imagining of the diary onscreen involved a contemporary girl going to Israel to learn about the trauma of suicide bombings) and she is the subject of a new book by Francine Prose.

Topics: Holocaust

Barbra's hit album, healthcare reform, and Ruth Reichl's "Gourmet" - Link Roundup Oct 9, 2009

  • Barbra Streisand's Love is the Answer is her 9th #1 album on the Billboard charts! [Heeb]
  • A "nice Jewish girl" is guarding male, Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

If Lois Griffin is Jewish, who isn't?

Earlier this week, Family Guy aired an episode called "Family Goy" in which Lois (the mother) discovers her Jewish roots.  As a self-proclaimed pop culture critic I feel like I should say something about this but honestly, what's to say?  It's getting a lot of attention, as you might expect when a show known for offensive humor takes on the Jews. But the reality is that this is nothing new.  If anything, it confirms the fact that Jewiness has gone mainstream.

Topics: Television

Keeping history and sharing stories

On November 6th, the Museum of Jewish Heritage will open the Keeping History Center, providing an interactive experience for New York visitors that allows them to record and add their own stories to the historical record.  This project is near and dear to us at the Jewish Women's Archive, since we have worked since our start 13 years ago to record the untold and unheard stories of American Jewish women -- stories like the one shared in this podcast.

Topics: History

Beating Hearts: Stories of Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Jewish Women International is posting daily stories of domestic abuse on their blog.  These stories are shocking, crushing, and sad.  They are also inspiring and thoughtful, with lessons about courage and love. 

The following post is cross-posted from the JWI blog.  It is taken from "Beating Hearts: Stories of Domestic Violence" an exhibit of photographic constructions with accompanying text by Kate Sartor Hilburn and Terrie Queen Autrey.  This particular story is important because it reminds us that domestic abuse reaches far beyond violence.  Abuse is about control, and often involves restriction, isolation, or even imprisonment.

Roman Polanski and Jewish "anti-heroes"

I am fascinated, as well as outraged, by the Roman Polanski rape story.  As all high profile media stories do, this case has evolved and mutated to touch on a number of really interesting and really important topics, primarily about rape culture and the culture of fame.

Last week celebrated filmmaker Roman Polanski was arrested at a film festival in Switzerland  for the 1977 rape of a 13 year-old girl.  Polanski admitted to drugging the girl and having intercourse with her, which is rape by any stretch of the imagination, not to mention pedophilia. Take a look at Feministing's roundup for more background information.

Women's jeans, Jewish comedians "Making Trouble," and revisiting Anne Frank - Link Roundup Oct 5, 2009

  • October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Check out the blog of Jewish Women International where survivors are sharing stories and inspiring change. [JWI]
  • It's the 75th anniversary of women's jeans, according to Levis. The history of women's jeans is juicy, so check the archives to read about boyfriend trousers and Jewess jeans. [Feministe]
  • Newest SNL cast member (and Jewess) Jenny Slate accidentally says the F-word live.  Like many Jewish women comedians, Jenny Slate is "Making Trouble." [Heeb]
  • On that note, Making Trouble, the film about legendary Jewish women comedians, is now available for purchase on DVD from our website, www.makingtrouble.com.

Sages and sex therapists - Dr. Ruth's "Heavenly Sex"

Last Thursday I went to see pioneering sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer talk about her book Heavenly Sex: Sexuality in the Jewish Tradition at Temple Israel in Boston, a program by the New Center for Arts and Culture. This was my first time seeing the legendary Dr. Ruth in person, and as predicted, I was in awe of this teeny-tiny bubbe and her stylish glasses.  I was excited to be there with my friends from the Jewish Women's Archive, community partner of the NCAC for this event.

Remembering Ruth F. Brin

Ruth F. Brin, esteemed Jewish author, poet, and scholar, died Wednesday September 30th, 2009, at age 88.

Ruth F. Brin was a literary pioneer famous for her authentic Jewish poetry, prayer services, scholarly articles, children’s books, librettos, a memoir, and most recently, at the age of 86, her first novel.

She was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and lived in Minneapolis until her death, at the age of 88, on Wednesday, September 30th. However, her poetry and teachings have moved beyond the Twin Cities, filling the pages of Reconstructionist, Reform and Conservative prayer books used in synagogues around the country.

Electricity applied in a "strictly scientific manner"

I recently began a fun Twitter project, tweeting tidbits from American Jewess, the first English-language publication directed to American Jewish women (and this blog's namesake), edited by the original Jewess, Rosa Sonneschein.  Today I came across this ad from the October 1895 issue, and almost fell out of my chair.

Are Jews easier to get along with?

At the Jewish Women's Archive, it is part of my job to stay on top of the "twitterverse." I keep a running search of "tweets" that mention Jewish women, which helps me stay on top of the various conversations, as well as a few discriminatory remarks (anti-Semitism isn't dead!).  And that is how I discovered this tweet: "When we claim Jewish women are easier to get along with than Christians, you don’t blame us, you blame Jesus. http://bit.ly/1RmiT" This quote has been tweeted and retweeted enough times to finally make me click on the shortened link to see what everyone was talking about.

The symbols we use to represent, and gender, Jewish women

Yesterday in Tablet magazine, Ruth Ellen Gruber* wrote about her trip to an old Jewish cemetery in Romania to look at the way images of shabbat candles are used on women's gravestones to convey meaning and memory. Gruber's project, (Candle)sticks on Stone, is time sensitive, as many of these gravestones are crumbling into obscurity, but, she writes, "those that remain comprise wonderful examples of vivid local stone-carving that fuse local folk art and Jewish iconography." Gruber is interested in presenting these carvings as works of art, but she does acknowledge the depth and complexity these carvings carry concerning the intersection of symbolism, Jewish tradition, and gender roles.

Women's health is not elective

We are in big trouble.  When I started reading about the healthcare reform battle, I was angry.  Now that the Senate panel has rejected the public option, and Obama has declined to stand up for reproductive rights, I am getting scared. The more I read, the more I started to realize that there is a larger problem underlying this debate.  There is something fundamentally wrong with the way people think about women's bodies and the healthcare they require.  While reproductive healthcare is absolutely critical to the general health of every woman, every family and every community, it is considered separately, almost as if it were elective, in the greater discussion of healthcare reform.

For Convert and Mother-to-Be, Bris Is Ultimate Measure of Commitment

How do you measure commitment? That’s the question I was left pondering after reading Elana Sztokman’s post on the double standard for Orthodox women. Some women’s tardiness for services has become a justification for shutting out the entire gender from a whole host of responsibilities, as late arrival to shul apparently signifies a lack of spiritual commitment.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on December 22, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog>.

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