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Saying goodbye to Jean Carroll

Legendary comedian Jean Carroll passed away on New Year's Day at the age of 98.  A pioneering stand up comedian, Jean Carroll was a regular headliner in nightclubs and theaters in the '40s and '50s.  She was featured on the Ed Sullivan Show, and she even had her own sitcom on ABC in the 1953-1954 season.

Topics: Comedy

Rachel Simmons on the Truths of Girls' Lives

One of the country’s foremost experts on the lives of American girls is Rachel Simmons, a 35-year-old alumna of Vassar College and Oxford University who also attended the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School through high school.

The decade in Jewish women's history

Since we celebrated the beginning of a new millenium, Jewish women have continued to make important "firsts" in a variety of fields, and have made their voices heard in the Jewish community, in American culture and politics, and in forums around the world.  Here are just some of the important events of this decade in Jewish women's history.  Please do add other important events and accomplishments in the comments.

Happy New Year everyone!

The decade's best Jewish athlete?

Last week the Jewish Chronicle asked us to nominate the most important Jewish person in sports over the last decade.  They suggested Israeli footballer Yossi Benayoun, European judo champion Arik Ze’evi, tennis star Andy Ram, and American swimmer Jason Lezak.  Tablet magazine picked up on the story, and added Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis to the list. Excuse me, but where are the Jewish women athletes? Have they been invisible for the past ten years?  Considering the Associated Press' recent nomination of two horses for "Female Athlete of the Year," maybe so.

Topics: Athletes

We should not stand idly by on health care

Twin Cities Jewfolk asked Minnesota State Representative Phyllis Kahn the question: "Is it Jewish to support national health care reform? Why or Why Not?”

Here is Rep. Kahn’s response:

At this advent of the secular New Year, it is appropriate for Jews to reflect on their duty to Tikkun Olam to “repair the world.” It is apparent that among our greatest tasks is to repair our broken health care system in the U.S. today.

Healthcare reform passes in the Senate and more - Link Roundup

This morning the Senate passed their verson of the healthcare reform bill in what was another historic moment.  Still, it doesn't feel much like a victory.  Significant compromises were made, especially regarding abortion coverage, not to mention the loss of a public option. Take a look at the links below for more information, and let us know how you feel about the Senate's bill in the comments.

Fetishizing ourselves

Recently, the infamous Heeb magazine began a feature on their blog called "Gratuitous Jewess," in which they feature photos of a scantily-clad Jewish woman, and then readers comment about whether or not they would "hit that."  Last week there was outrage over the Details piece heralding this very same "Jewess fetish," but apparently the objectification of Jewish women from within the Tribe goes relatively unchallenged.

Standing up for women's health care

These last several weeks, I (like other JWA bloggers) have walked around in a haze of frustration, rage, and despair over politicians' apparent blindness to the centrality of women's health to national health. As a historian, I can attest that as goes women's health, so goes the health of the nation.

Topics: Medicine

A Jewish American (Disney) Princess?

In response to yesterday's post about the "What's a Coastie?" song, Renee Ghert Zand of Truth, Praise & Help shared this video.  Landline TV spoofs classic Disney "behind the scenes" shorts about the making of a fictional new animated film about a Jewish American Princess called "Rachel and the Dragon."

Topics: Film

Henrietta Szold: travel and transformation

Today Henrietta Szold would have been 150 years old.  Exactly 75 years ago today, her birthday was celebrated by Zionists throughout the U.S.  There was a national radio address, parties hosted by local Hadassah chapters, and Shabbat sermons dedicated to her all over the country.  To read more about this remarkable event, visit This Week in History.

What's a Coastie? -- the latest "JAP" attack

News of the University of Wisconsin's slang term "Coastie" exploded over the weekend with a song called "What's a Coastie" quickly going viral on Youtube.  A "Coastie," as explained in the song, is an out-of-state student who wears East Coast fashion and is a "rich Jewish girl."  The lyrics say:

What’s a coastie?

Black tights all day

That’s a coastie

Starbucks, big shades!

Amy in the sky

Last week we got an unexpected call from a woman named Amy Sheridan, the first American Jewish woman pilot in the U.S. Army.

Topics: Military

Paid Maternity Leave Should be a Right, Not a Privilege

Oh to be a working mother in Israel, where women who give birth will soon get 14 weeks of paid maternity leave. Fourteen weeks? I’d have been happy to get 14 days of paid leave in this country.

Topics: Mothers

Women of the Wall: Keeping the faith for 21 years

You may have heard about the arrest last month of medical student Nofrat Frenkel for wearing a tallit (prayer shawl) when she prayed with Women of the Wall (WOW), a monthly women's prayer group that meets at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

The "Merry Christmas" grumps

You know when you walk into a store, a movie theater, a restaurant, a bus, really ANYWHERE anytime after Thanksgiving, and you buy your gift, movie ticket, meal, bus ticket and so on, you inevitably get wished a “Merry Christmas?” How do you feel about that? Warm and fuzzy or … not so much?

Hanukkah "how-to's," no fear of frying recipes, and advice for your Christian friends: Hanukkah 2009 link roundup

Are you behind on your Hanukkah reading?  Take a look at these hot Hanukkah links.

Who wields the pans on Hanukkah?

Ever since that one little jug found in the corner of the First Temple burned for eight days instead of one, olive oil has been political. 

The one day supply of olive oil lasted for eight days, so the eternal flame did not go out while the temple was re-dedicated. Thus, Judaism’s victory against Hellenism was ratified by the holy light, and we now remember the miracle by serving fried food for eight days.

Topics: Food, Hanukkah

AdDressing Women's Lives 2009

Last week, the students of the Weber School, a Jewish community high school in Atlanta, GA, participated in the exciting AdDRESSING Women's Lives project.  In 2002, two faculty members at the Weber School conceived of this interdisciplinary project for high school juniors and seniors studying the history of Jewish women in America.  Humanities and Bible teacher Barbara Rosenblit and conceptual artist Sheila Miller combined their interests and talents to create an innovative way for stud

Don't forget Barbara Seaman!

I read this New York Times article about the role of pharmaceutical companies in creating a market for treating menopause at about midnight, and I was so appalled that the article doesn't mention journalist and women's health activist Barbara Seaman that I couldn't sleep and got out of bed at 1 a.m. to write this post.

Remembering Grace Paley

Today would have been writer and activist Grace Paley's 87th birthday, and since her death two years ago, it's become a day to celebrate her life and legacy.

Topics: Civil Rights

What's on YOUR latkes?

Hanukkah is coming, and with it my usual debate with my husband’s family. They are wonderful--sophisticated, warm and accepting of my last-minute hysterical gift decrees (no plastic toys, no battery-operated toys, whatever is bothering me that year). They are flexible about what a proper Menorah is, especially if a grandchild constructs it. But, don’t touch their toppings.

Topics: Food, Hanukkah

Lynn Amowitz: physician for human rights

Lynn Amowitz was born and raised in North Carolina.  Her community had very few Jews –- so few that her parents founded a synagogue in order for her to have a Bat Mitzvah.  Amowitz suffered anti-semitic harassment from her peers, an experience which, she said, led to her work in human rights.

Survivors and storytelling in "Four Seasons Lodge"

This week I had the opportunity to screen a documentary about a community of Holocaust survivors who bought a bungalow colony in the Catskills called the Four Seasons Lodge to spend their summers together at each year.  I was looking forward to seeing the film after my cousin sent me a link to the trailer. I knew exactly why she was so excited about it -- the survivors in the trailer acted and sounded exactly like our grandparents, Ben and Rose Berkenwald.    

Topics: Holocaust, Film

Abortion rights advocates celebrate a major victory and look to the future

Yesterday's Senate vote to table the Nelson/Hatch amendment, the Senate version of the infamous anti-choice Stupak/Pitts amendment, was a major victory for pro-choice healthcare reform supporters.

My Day of Listening

A few days before Thanksgiving, I wrote about my plans to participate in the National Day of Listening, a project of Storycorps to turn "Black Friday" into a day for listening instead of shopping. 

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on April 24, 2015) <http://jwa.org/blog>.

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