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"Painting and Feminism," "No Excuses," and plenty of Jewish feminism links - Link Roundup

For those of you in or around New York, or looking for an excuse to visit New York, put this exhibit on your calendars!

Why I plan to be a "Student for Choice"

The end of summer marks the beginning of a relatively short but tumultuous season for the high school student: the college application process. The Common Application went up August 1, and with it came a slew of essays that students across the country must finish by January. Topics range from choice of major to hobbies to why you want to go to a particular school. I've been slowly working my way through them, and I found myself trying to answer the question of what activities I plan to pursue at college.

Eating Jewish: Apple Cake

I don’t quite know how it happened, but the nights are getting cooler and there’s that feeling of fall in the air. Summer is winding down and with that comes the reds, yellow and orange colors of the changing leaves, thicker sweaters and of course the High Holidays. With the New Year almost upon us, attention is beginning to shift to the upcoming celebrations and of course what will be served at the festive meals that will be part of the holiday.

The Spiritual and the Material: Wealth and Stereotypes on the High Holidays

I just came home from a trip to my local suburban mall with two friends from elementary school. The mall is looking good – the walls are an upscale beige accented with stained wood, and new stores like Coach and BCBG emphasize that those who shop here must have ample money to spend. The mall is clearly marked as Jewish, too, with shoppers wearing long skirts, kippas, or less modest clothing adorned with Jewish symbols and summer camp logos.

Sweeping Away Nostalgia with Songs for the New Year

Recently, I saw Eleanor Reissa, a talented and well-known Yiddish actress and performer, sing "My Yiddishe Momme" to a standing ovation. Mind you, the crowd was entirely over seventy and the children of Polish Jewish immigrants to North and South America. To help pass the time, I thought about that nice tough character, Sophie Tucker, who made the song into a bi-lingual top five hit in 1928.

The Snarker and The Yente

Evil tongues, gossip and snark; who is not guilty of slithering into their seductive arms? I refused to see the movie “Mean Girls.” I was not, however, immune to its cultural reverberations and its ever-popular subject matter: catty girls destroying one another with vituperative snark, often in the cafeteria accompanied by sidelong glares and diet sodas. Jews and students of Judaism may be familiar with snark under its Talmudic pseudonym lashon hara – evil language/tongue.

Katrina Plus Five: Carol Wise and granddaughter Zoe Oreck weigh in

To mark the 5th anniverary of Hurricane Katrina, we got in touch with JWA Board member Carol Wise and her granddaughter Zoe Oreck, two Jewish women who experienced the storm and its aftermath first-hand. Carol Wise has served as President of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, and Chair of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce. She now serves on the Executive Committee and Board of the Hillel International Foundation and as President of Tulane Hillel. Zoe Oreck is a senior at the University of Georgia majoring in PR and History.

Five Years Ago

In late August of 2005, when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, I was lying in a hospital bed in Boston getting nasty medicine through an IV line and receiving all nourishment through another tube. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself until I turned on the generally useless TV and saw what was – and was not – happening in New Orleans. The images of desperate people on rooftops, the misery at the Superdome, water flooding into Charity Hospital made me wonder if my illness and the treatment I was receiving for it were causing me to have delusions.

Sharing the stories of Katrina's Jewish Voices

This weekend we lead up to the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans on the morning of August 29th, 2005 killing more than 1,700 people and displacing hundreds of thousands.

The Lessons of Women's Equality Day

Thirty-nine years ago today, legendary Congresswoman Bella Abzug led Congress in designating August 26th "Women's Equality Day."

Women's Equality Day and the legacy of Jewish women fighting for suffrage

Today is the 90th anniversary of the 19th Ammendment giving women the right to vote, and has become known as "Women's Equality Day." Jewish women undoubtedly played pivotal roles in the suffrage movement. Take a look at their stories of activism on

Fress. Kvetch. Shtup.

Your life is a mess. You’re tired of the routine, you’re constantly craving more of what you’ve already attained, and you find true satisfaction in nothing and in no one. Well here’s the quick fix:

  1. Plan an expensive get-away.

  2. No, actually, scratch that—plan three expensive get-aways.

  3. But it’s not just the location that’s getting to you. You’re also sick of your significant other. So dump the schlub, give no real reason for your decision to break-up, and then…

Topics: Film

Women reading Torah: Empowerment in Photos

Earlier this week, a post on The Sisterhood blog (with whom JWA regularly cross-posts) publicized a call from Women of the Wall for photographs of women with Torahs as part of a solidarity movement with WOW, who have been subject to harassment and arrest over the past several months in their attempts to hold egalitarian Rosh Chodesh services at Robinson’s Arch in Jerusalem.

Teffilin Barbie and Burqa Barbie: What does it mean to dress dolls?

Barbie was created in 1959 by Jewish business woman Ruth Handler. She was an Amazonian creation: a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, big-busted American beauty. She loved to drive pink convertibles; her wardrobe and shape-shifting abilities were astonishing. By the 80s, she was highly multicultural and had an endless variety of career paths open to her, from model to mad professor. Nothing is off-limits to ever trail-blazing Barbie, not even tefillin or a burqa.

Nutrition and Social Welfare: What Would Frances Stern Do?

On August 23, 1914, pioneering nutritionist Frances Stern published an editorial that identified the connection between nutrition, socio-economics, and social welfare. 

Topics: Food

Eating Jewish: Caramels from Baden -- A way to remember

Talking about food, about the recipes that we’ve tried and recipes that we want to try is often a topic of conversation when I’m with my family and friends. It allows us to share recipes for dishes that we’ve enjoyed and those that we think others would also enjoy. It gives us the opportunity to learn about new dishes or about new ways to make ones that we’ve previously tried. We get to share the stories that go along with the dishes, while at the same time allowing us to connect to our cultural and religious identities.

8 -- Down: Historian Joyce

A friend of JWA tipped us off to an exciting clue in the August 13th Jerusalem Post crossword puzzle.

8 -- Down: Historian Joyce ('You Never Call, You Never Write' History of the Jewish Mother)

Six letters.

Got it?

If you guessed A-N-T-L-E-R, you're correct!

"Who Do You Think You Are?" -- When Genealogy Meets Reality TV

After hearing various archivists, historians, and librarians rave or moan about the genealogy TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?” I finally got a chance to see it for myself. This show is run by the genealogy database and takes various celebrities on journeys to discover their roots in an odd blend of reality TV confessionalism and historical inquiry. This is the show that recently helped “Sex and the City’s” Sarah Jessica Parker discover a distant ancestor involved in the Salem Witch Trials.

Topics: Television

Eating Jewish: Bagels

My neighborhood in Montreal, called Mile End, is known for hipsters, Chasidic Jews and bagels. Although each of these topics could potentially make for an interesting blog post, it is, of course, the bagel that I would like to discuss. I absolutely love bagels and have been eating them for as long as I can remember. Living in walking distance of two of the most famous bagel shops in the city means that they’re on the menu very often.

Topics: Food, Recipes

Snazzy, new features "On the Map!"

Have you visited Jewish Women On the Map recently?

Since its launch this March, JWA's map of Jewish women's history has steadily grown to include landmarks in 30 states, six Canadian provinces, and seven countries. The site maps the stories of a number of American Jewish women, recognized and unheralded, famous and unknown. They have been added by historians, Jewish and women's organizations, and friends and family.

Adding Irena Klepfisz to the Canon

In women’s studies classes, we spend a lot of time talking about power: who has it, who doesn’t, and how it moves. Power matters in literature, too, since those in power are the ones who shape the canons – the defined sets of literary works that represent a particular field. 

Mohelot and Brit Milah: Does it matter if a woman wields the knife?

Can a woman perform a bris? Jewish scholars, even the most Orthodox, answer with a tentative “why not?” for there is no halachic (Jewish law) prohibition against mohelot – female mohels. While Jewish law states that it’s preferable for a Jewish male to perform the brit milah (circumcision) if one is present, it is not mandatory. The symbolism of a woman circumcising a man is inherently provocative, touching on questions of spirituality, nurturing mothers, and emasculation. Many men, when polled on the subject, reflexively cross their legs.

Topics: Ritual

As Old as Lilith and Eve: “The Mediator between the Head and Hands is the Heart!”

Last Sunday, after a totaled car and a summarily canceled day-trip to Ipswich, MA, my friend and I decided to make the best of things and not let a little thing like a car accident ruin our day. What better activity than seeing a German Expressionist film about robots, class struggle, and compassion? Alas, while there are many great things one can say about the film, I was angered by the predictably dualistic depiction of women, a theme as old as Lilith and Eve.

Topics: Feminism, Film

Eating Jewish: Poppy-Seed Cookies

Growing up, most foods that contained poppy-seeds simply didn’t appeal to me. I was wary about those tiny black seeds that dotted pastries, muffins or cookies and wished that they simply weren’t there. Due to this aversion to poppy-seeds, I usually stayed away from desserts that contained any. Yet in the last few years that has changed, mainly because of a poppy-seed strudel that opened my eyes (or rather my taste buds) to the nutty sweetness that poppy-seeds could bring to a dish.

Topics: Food, Recipes

"Being welcoming" is an end unto itself

I recently read a piece called "New Study Finds That It’s Not a Lack of Welcome That’s Keeping the Intermarrieds Away" in the eJewish Philanthropy daily e-letter. It explained how a study done by Steven M. Cohen, a sociologist who studies American Jews, determined that it was a lack of "competency" rather than welcome that was keeping intermarried families and their children from engaging with the Jewish community.


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on October 21, 2016) <>.


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1 hour
"How could I honor a tradition that did not make space for me as a female?"
23 hr
"...even though my brand of Judaism doesn’t include religious observance, I am no less Jewish."…
1 day
"For me, tefillin were about feminism, not religion."