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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ruth Proskauer Smith, a longtime women's and human rights activist, passed away last Friday at the impressive age of 102. Smith co-founded the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, which later became the National Abortion Rights Action League and is today known as NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Take a look at these "household hints" published in American Jewess in January, 1896. Published between April 1895 and August 1899, The American Jewess was the first English-language publication directed to American Jewish women. I wonder what household hints American Jewesses would share today?
Saturday is Tu B'Shevat, known as the "Jewish New Year for trees," the "Jewish Arbor Day," or the "Jewish birthday for trees." The holiday has an interesting history that, believe it or not, began with taxes. Lenore Skenazy explains in The Forward:
Back about 2,000 years ago, Tu B’Shevat — literally the 15th day of the month of Shvat — was a tax deadline, of sorts. Any trees planted before Tu B’Shvat were considered to have been “born” the previous year. Those planted after Tu B’Shvat (or, perhaps those that started blooming after Tu B’Shvat) were part of the next year’s crop. As the amount of fruit you were required to tithe from each tree was determined by its age, this date was significant. And since the easiest way to remember a tree’s birthday was to plant it on that day, that’s what some folks did: planted.
Last week in The Sisterhood, Elana Sztokman weighed in on the struggle to balance work and motherhood. Her piece was written partly in response to an earlier Sisterhood post by Deborah Kolben, who wondered if choosing to stay home with her new baby made her a "bad feminist." Below is an excerpt from Elana Szotkman's piece.
Today is the 37 anniversary of the Supreme Court's legalization of abortion in the Roe v. Wade decision, and as such, it's also NARAL's 5th annual Blog for Choice Day. The question NARAL has posed for this year is "What does Trust Women mean to you?" And I've chosen to answer this as historians do best -- by dipping into the archives for a story about Jewish women and reproductive rights that goes back much farther than 1973.
Happy 5th Annual Blog for Choice Day!
Today is the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and to celebrate this occassion, we wanted to discuss one of the more exciting new developments in Choice organizing: the use of social media. Who better to speak on this topic than Gloria Feldt, whose passion for Choice organizing remains strong after 30 years of leadership at Planned Parenthood. Gloria volunteers on the board of the Women's Media Center and the Jewish Women's Archive, and worked as a consultant for Not Under the Bus, a platform and aggregator for the many media campaigns working to combat stop anti-abortion measures in healthcare reform.
The Jewish Women's Archive offices are located in Masachusetts, and as you might imagine, morale was pretty low in the office yesterday. On Tuesday, we witnessed one of the greatest defeats for the Democratic party as Republican Scott Brown was elected to represent our traditionally "blue" state. Gender was never really a part of Martha Coakley's campaign, nor the rhetoric surrounding the race in the weeks and months leading up to the election.
I recently received a press release announcing the launch of JSitter.com, a site that purports to connect families with "reliable" Jewish babysitters, pet sitters, and house sitters. My initial reaction to this was disgust. This morning while I was catching up on my reading, I saw a post on TC Jewfolk that caught my attention. In their advice column, "Ask Shuli," a reader asked: "I’m wondering where to find a Jewish babysitter.
The people at the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) are turning one of the arguments for the Hyde Amendment back on itself in an exciting video campaign with one of my favorite video bloggers, Jay Smooth. Hyde supporters have argued that federal dollars should not fund something a large percentage of the population considers immoral. The CRR is asking: what do you wish the government wouldn't spend your tax dollars on? And if you don't get to pick and choose, why should the Pro-Lifers?
Renee Ghert-Zand is a Jewish educator and writer living in Palo Alto, CA. This piece was originally posted on her blog about Jewish culture, education, current events and parenting, called Truth, Praise and Help: Musings of a Gen X Yiddishe Mama.
Today I discovered a particularly obnoxious column in the Boston Globe that began with the line, "A specter is haunting America, and much of the industrialized world - the specter of female domination." The piece, by Globe columnist Alex Beam, argues that women are taking over America and that boys are "tomorrow's second sex." Beam claims that because women outnumber men in general, in colleges, and in the workforce, they are, in effect, "dominating" America. As the father of 3 sons, Beam wonders if he is "raising the underclass of tomorrow." Seriously?
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on November 28, 2015) <http://jwa.org/blog>.