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Jewesses with Attitude

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Vashti is not a failure; Esther is not a bad feminist

Abby Wisse Schachter, associate editor at the New York Post, recently published an article in Commentary Magazine that suggests that feminist thinking has changed the meaning of Purim, and that that is a bad thing. I have not read the piece because the article is only available to subscribers, and therefore I cannot evaluate the merit of Schachter’s individual arguments. Still, I reject the idea that a feminist interpretation of the Purim story “lionizes the wrong woman, promotes a false political message of nonviolence and tolerance, and worst of all embraces failure instead of promoting perhaps the greatest of Jewish heroines,” as Schachter argues in her abstract.

Topics: Feminism, Purim

Purim, feminism, and my kids

What’s not to love about Purim? Another success story for our people: plan to kill us, foiled! Bring on the food!

Topics: Feminism, Purim

"Sexism lives!" and other stories -- Link Roundup

We Remember:

  • Yitta Schwartz, a member of the Satmar Hasidic sect, died at 93, leaving over 2,000 living descendents. [New York Times]
  • Rosa Rein, a Swiss Jewish woman, died at 112. She was thought to be the world's oldest Jew. [Forward]

Not Yet Equal:

Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry

In The Life of Poetry, Muriel Rukeyser declares, “I wish to say that we will not be saved by poetry. But poetry is the type of creation in which we may live and which will save us.”

Topics: Poetry

Laura Spector's Olympic debut

Two years ago we cheered on swimmer Dara Torres, fencer Sada Jacobson, marathoner Deena Kastor, and pole Vaulter Jillian Schwartz at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. This year, only one Jewish American woman is competing in the Vancouver Olympic games, and in one of the more interesting events. Laura Spector made her Olympic debut in Vancouver, competing in the women's biathlon, a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. 

Only 2 women in the Forward's "Top 10 to Watch in 2010"

Today the Forward published a list of 10 up-and-coming Jewish political hopefuls "to watch" in 2010.  Surprise, surprise, only two were women.

The first was Beth Krom, running for U.S. Congress to represent California’s 48th District.  The second was Deb Markowitz, the Secretary of State of Vermont, currently running for Governor.

Discussing rape, the "sisterhood" fails

We mentioned Tuesday the disturbing news of a British survey that showed that women were more likely than their male counterparts to blame rape victims for being raped.

Topics: Feminism

It takes a village -- or a court order

It's not always easy to raise children Jewish in America. Our holidays are no match for the big C, bacon is America's favorite food, and to top it off, your ex might baptize your children when you're not looking. That's what happened to Rebecca Reyes, a Jewish woman going through a divorce.

Topics: Marriage

Our first Jewish Congresswoman

Eighty-five years ago today, Florence Prag Kahn became the first Jewish woman elected to the United States Congress, and only the fifth woman to ever serve in that body.

A place at Emily's Table

Of all the things I’ve come to regret in life (most of which involve something I should/could/would have said, or the length of my hair before I turned 30), the most significant is not spending more time cooking with my beloved aunt, Emily Mehlman, before she passed away in 2006.  

Topics: Food

AdDRESSING Women's Lives: Translating Interview into Art

The following is a piece by Ethan Grossman, a high school student at the Weber School in Atlanta. As part of a project called AdDRESSING Women's Lives, created by Barbara Rosenblit and Sheila Miller, Ethan interviewed Millie Rotter Kinbar and documented her oral history in a multi-media work of art, revealing her character and life experiences through the metaphor of a dress.

Topics: Art

Do Jews celebrate Valentine's Day? A post holiday roundup

  • What does Valentine's Day have to do with Judaism? [From the Rib?]
  • Video dating for Orthodox singles? [Tablet]
  • "Love is in the Air": a collection of stories about the first year of marriage.

Well-behaved vaginas rarely make history

Fourteen years after its first performance, The Vagina Monologues has become a February tradition.

Topics: Feminism

100 years: Happy Birthday Anna Sokolow!

Modern dance pioneer Anna Sokolow was born 100 years ago today in Hartford, Connecticut. Anna Sokolow was a Woman of Valor. She was a radical artist who used dance to explore social and political issues, challenege audiences, and make a statement.

Topics: Dance

Link Roundup - Teen dating violence, Rabbis blaming gays, and more

  • Jewish education takes on a new flavor at the Jewish Food Education Network. [eJewishPhilanthropy]
  • Dan Friedman reviews Off and Running -- the story of an African American girl adopted by Jewish lesbian parents -- in the Forward.

We asked, you answered!

Last year in honor of Tu B'Shevat, we created a new page on jwa.org to feature Jewish women in environmental activism, and honored six women actively engaged in that work. After it “went live,” we were excited to find that several people submitted comments suggesting other Jewish women who deserved recognition. We heard those suggestions, and this year we brought the question to you—“who would you add to our list?” We asked, and you answered!  We have received the names of over 30 women in response to our call.

Topics: Activism

Happy Birthday, Hebrew School

Today marks the 172nd anniversary of the First Hebrew Sunday School in the United States, founded in 1838 in Philadelphia.  You can read about it at JWA's This Week in History. It was an audacious undertaking which required the special talents of an unusual woman.

Jewish women, or women who happen to be Jewish?

Thirteen years ago today, the newly appointed Secretary of State Madeline Albright went public with the discovery of her Jewish roots. This event brings up an interesting issue, one that we at the Jewish Women's Archive wrestle with daily. Is Madeline Albright a Jewish woman, or a woman who happens to be Jewish?  Is there a distinction between the two?  Should there be?

Topics: Judaism

Kol Ishah: Jewish Chicks Rock

Kol ishah is the singing voice of a woman, and something observant Jewish men are forbidden to hear. Too bad for them, because they are missing out. They are not listening to the voices of today’s Jewish women rock musicians, something that even those of us who do not observe kol ishah did not have the privilege of hearing until recently.

Topics: Music

The Album as Archive, the Photograph as Story

On Sunday afternoon, twelve women sat around a table at the sunny education center of Mayyim Hayyim, in Newton, Mass. Each of us clutched -- gently, lovingly -- a few old photos, sepia-toned, worn at the edges. These photos held pieces of our history, and as many questions as answers.

Feed Me Bubbe

As stated in the Boston Globe, "Two years ago, Bubbe didn’t know from a website."  Her grandson, Avrom Honig, decided to share his Bubbe with the world, producing an online kosher cooking show from her classic 1950s Jewish kitchen called Feed Me Bubbe.  After 30 Youtube episodes teaching luchen kugel, chicken soup, cheese blintzes and more, 83 year-old Bubbe now has her own website, t-shirts, and even a ringtone.

Topics: Food

Mazel tov to Hasia Diner, winner of a 2009 National Jewish Book Award

The JWA family extends a joyous mazel tov to Hasia Diner, winner of a 2009 National Jewish Book Award.  Her recent work, We Remember with Reverence and Love, was the winner of the Celebrate 350 Award in American Jewish Studies. 

Luck and Pluck

Question: Why would a modern woman cross the road to go to a Kosher Chicken Shechita?
Answer: To get to the other side. With feet.

Topics: Food

Trees have birthdays? -- a Tu B'Shevat link roundup

  • Get started with "Tu B'Shevat 101" [MyJewishLearning] or "Tu B'Shevat FAQ" [Tablet]
  • What role have Jewish women played in environmental activism?

From Maharat to Rabbah

A year ago we congratulated Sara Hurwitz on becoming a Maharat.  Today we rejoice in her new title: Rabbah.

The subject of ordaining Orthodox women rabbis is highly controversial. Last year Sara Hurwitz completed the required course of study in Yoreh Deah to become a spiritual leader, but instead of receiving the title of rabbi, a new title was created for her.  "Maharat" was created from an acronym that loosely translates to mean a leader in religious law and spirtual matters.

Topics: Feminism, Rabbis

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on September 1, 2015) <http://jwa.org/blog>.

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