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Rethinking the question: "Why are there so few women in comedy?"

In a recent interview with Lisa Leingang in the New York Times, Melena Ryzik asks the question: "Why are there so few women in comedy?" To answer it, you have to approach it the way Bill Clinton did during the Monica Lewinsky period. We have to deconstruct the terms.

Topics: Comedy

"Girls in Trouble": Indie rock as midrash

I tend to be wary of educational musical acts, especially those that sound like they were written by teachers trying to be "cool."  But after a quick listen, it is obvious that "Girls in Trouble" is far, far more than a simple "101" on biblical women. 

Conversion, culinary memoir, and a Jewish woman for President? Link Roundup - Nov. 4, 2009

  • Yesterday's gay marriage defeat in Maine reminds us that civil rights should not necessarily be decided by a majority vote. [The Daily Beast] [Choices Campus]
  • Rumors of a Jewish woman for President?  Could Debbie Wasserman Schultz be the first?

Milestones for Jewesses in politics

Today is the first Tuesday in November, which means that for those of us freezing our toes off up north, it's finally time to turn on the heat!  It also means it is Election Day, and since we're not electing a President this year, we have the luxury to relax and reflect on the trailblazing Jewish women in politics who have made history on this historic day.

You Might As Well Call It Feminism, Joanne Lipman

The blogosphere and my inbox, have been buzzing with response to former Portfolio editor Joanne Lipman’s rather bizarre piece on modern womanhood in The New York Times, “The Mismeasure of Woman,” which has spent several days floating around on the paper’s most e-mailed list. I’m going to have to echo Jezebel’s Anna N. by saying that I was actually with Lipman throughout much of her critique — until the end when she started listing a rather motley group of prescriptions for the Woman Problem.

Topics: Feminism

The good, the bad, the bizarre - Link Roundup, Oct. 30, 2009

The Good:

  • When divorce is a reason to celebrate. [Sisterhood]
  • "If you're happy and you know it..." Ellen Goodman refutes the results of the so-called "Happiness Survey." [Boston Globe]
  • Cory Kahaney (one of the hosts of Making Trouble) hits the borscht belt with her new play. [TheJewishWeek]
  • "New Jews" are doin' it for themselves.  The post-baby-boom Jews embrace new approaches to Jewish culture and faith, which include praying in the desert, webcasting bible stories, organizing for non-Jewish causes, Jew-tattoos and punk rock. [CNN]
  • With the emergence of women scholars in the Orthodox community, women are starting to talk about sex. [Forward]

A victory in the fight to make hate crimes history!

Yesterday, Oct. 28, 2009, heralded a historic moment for human rights as President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act into law. This act expands the already existing hate crime protection to include crimes based on one's sexual orientation, gender, disability, or gender identity, and also allows federal authorities to support local investigations, as well as step in when local authorities unable or unwilling to investigate. For the first time in our nation's history, GLBT people and people with disabilities have the legal right to safety from hate violence. 

Topics: Law

To Life! Celebrating Vermont's Jewish women

Ann Zinn Buffum came to JWA through “midnight web searches” for family history.  She was surprised to discover that Madeleine May Kunin, the first woman Governor of Vermont, was the only Vermonter to be featured on jwa.org.  “Surely there were other women in our state, small as it is, who had interesting and accomplished lives,” she writes in To Life!, the book that accompanies the gallery exhibit. With her mission in mind, she enlisted Sandra Stillman Gartner, a writer, actor, and active member of the Rutland Jewish Center community, to create DAVAR: The Jewish Women’s History Project.

What is Jewish hair?

The buzz about Good Hair, Chris Rock's new documentary about Black hair, has got me thinking about "Jewish hair": what it is, what it means, and where I -- a straight-haired woman -- fit into this curious piece of Jewish identity. 

Doing the "work" of identity

"Who am I, anyway?" That's a question most of us ask at various points throughout our lives -- usually most noisily as adolescents but with piercing power as we grow older, too.

Topics: Film

The "Pride, Honor & Courage" of Hartford Jewish women during WWII

Pride, Honor and Courage: Jewish Women Remember World War II, the documentary film produced by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford (JHSGH), premiered Thursday at the Mandell Jewish Community Center.

On (not) breastfeeding and maternal Jewish guilt

I like this new article by former Forward “East Village Mamele” Marjorie Ingall over at Tablet magazine, in an issue this week focusing on the body.

I had struggles myself with nursing each of my three children, and naturally the first time was the most difficult to deal with.

Topics: Mothers

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

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