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Jewesses with Attitude

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Getting Angry, Getting Results

By now everyone must have heard about the Henry Louis Gates/Officer Crowley debacle in which an African-American Harvard professor was arrested for disorderly conduct after being questioned by police when a neighbor saw him trying to break into his own house.  Now, both Gates and Officer Crowley are headed to the White House to "have a beer" with Obama and chat it out.

A Not-So-Formal Introduction

Hello, my name is Leah Berkenwald and I am the newest ‘Jewess with Attitude’ blogging for the Jewish Women's Archive.

Daily Link Roundup - July 27, 2009

Everyday I encounter a number of interesting websites, articles, and blog posts that are definitely worth mentioning.  I hope you find these as interesting as I do!

  • The Hadassah-Brandeis Institiute releases a new issue of HBI 614 eZINE on the titillating topic of Jewish Sex!  Editor Michelle Cove writes, "Who knew there were Yiddish lesbian poems published in the last century? Or that teen girls were giving oral sex as a gift to Bar Mitzvah boys? Or that the mikvah could be considered part of erotic foreplay? Given the sizzling weather outside, we decided to partner with the entertaining Jewcy (a lifestyle website for young Jews) to look at the heated and fascinating thoughts that Jewish women experience in and out of the bedroom."

“Only in America” – vote now!

Our friends at the National Museum of American Jewish History have recently announced a new project for which they are seeking public input. Their new museum, scheduled to open in November 2010, will include a gallery called "Only in America," that will -- in their words -- "examine the choices, challenges, and opportunities faced by a remarkable group of a token 18 American Jews on their paths to accomplishment."

Daily Link Roundup - July 22, 2009

Everyday I encounter a number of interesting websites, articles, and blog posts that are definitely worth mentioning.  I hope you find these as interesting as I do!

Daily Link Roundup - July 21, 2009

Everyday I encounter a number of interesting websites, articles, and blog posts that are definitely worth mentioning.  I hope you find these as interesting as I do!

  • The National Council for Jewish Women has officially backed Sonia Sotomayor!  NCJW President Nancy Ratzan said, "Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals is an eminently qualified jurist, who, throughout her legal career, has kept faith with the constitutional values of liberty, equality, and justice.  She will be a welcome addition to the Supreme Court."

Daily Link Roundup - July 20, 2009

Everyday I encounter a number of interesting websites, articles, and blog posts that are definitely worth mentioning. Since I don't always have time to write about each one, I have created the Daily Link Roundup as a way to share them with you. I hope you find them as interesting as I do!

Still Jewish: An interview with Keren McGinity

Recently, JWA hosted a fascinating webinar with Dr.Keren McGinity on "Gender Matters: a New Framework for Understanding Jewish Intermarriage Over Time." Keren is the author of Still Jewish: A History of Women and Intermarriage in America, and is the Mandell L. Berman Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Contemporary American Jewish Life at the University of Michigan's Frankel Center for Judaic Studies.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg tells it like it is

If you haven't read it already, check out this excellent NYT interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- a JWA hero -- by Emily Bazelon (a senior editor at Slate, a founder of their new online women's magazine, Double X, and a serious Jewess with Attitude in her own right).

Topics: Law

Happy birthday, Frida Kahlo!

Today would have been the 102 birthday of Frida Kahlo, the painter famous for her striking self-portraits and her marriage to Diego Rivera (not to mention her impressive eyebrows). Though she came to be known for her representations of Mexican life and was, in fact, referred to as La Mexicana -- the quintessential Mexican woman -- her work often explored issues of identity and its hybridity, informed by her own experience as the daughter of a German Jewish immigrant father and a Mexican Catholic mother.

Topics: Painting

Art, justice, and Adrienne Rich

Here we are, poised on the edge of a "holiday weekend" in which we celebrate America's independence through those ever-meaningful traditions of barbeque, fireworks, and shopping sales.

Topics: Activism, Poetry

Reflections on Stonewall

The wee hours of June 28, 1969, began with a routine enough event: a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village gay bar owned by the mafia (as nearly all gay bars were at the time, since bars that catered to homosexuals were usually denied a liquor license, and only mob-owned bars could afford to pay off the police so that they could operate without a license). The cops entered with their usual intentions: to check id cards and arrest those found to be cross-dressing. 

Pride podcast

In honor of Pride month (and a relatively calm and safe Pride Parade in Jerusalem today - yay!), I'm posting our latest podcast: LGBT activist Shulamit Izen describing her experience coming out at a Jewish high school and creating the first ever Gay-Straight Alliance at a Jewish School. I had the privilege of being Shula's teacher at the New Jewish High School during the events she describes, and I learned a lot from her about pride and integrity.

The Belle of the (political) party

By Elisabeth Israels Perry

On June 16, 2009, the National Jewish Democratic Council, a political advocacy group based in Washington, DC, is awarding its first "Belle Moskowitz" award to Ann F. Lewis, Hillary Clinton's Communications Director during her recent presidential campaign. As one of Moskowitz's seven grandchildren, but more particularly as a historian who wrote her biography, I was thrilled to find this out.

Mazel Tov, Martha Minow, New Dean of Harvard Law!

Great news! Yesterday, Martha Minow, the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard, was appointed dean of Harvard Law School. A long-time friend, supporter, and founding board member of the Jewish Women's Archive, and member of the Law School faculty since 1981, Minow is a distinguished legal scholar with interests ranging from international human rights to equality and inequality; from religion and pluralism to managing mass tort litigation; from family law and education law to the privatization of military, schooling, and other governmental activities. She is also a widely admired teacher who chaired the Law School's curricular reform efforts of recent years and was recognized with the School's Sacks-Freund Award for Teaching Excellence in 2005.

Topics: Schools, Teachers, Law

The hows and whys of prayer

Lately, I've had a lot of trouble praying. There have been times in my life when I was committed to regular prayer, when I loved to put on my tefillin in the morning and feel the marks they had left on my arm as I went about my activities afterwards. I've had moving experiences of communal prayer, feeling buoyed by the voices rising around me, and of individual prayer, when the sight of something in the world has caught my breath and provoked a spontaneous blessing.

Calling all Gender Outlaws!

A few months ago, at the Keshet Cabaret, I had the honor of meeting Kate Bornstein, writer, performance artist, and major Jewess with Attitude. I used to teach her book, Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us, in my women's studies classes, and it was always a favorite -- powerful, funny, and transformative.

Mazel Tov, Alysa Stanton!

Apropos of Judith's recent post on Sotomayor and other "firsts," here's a celebratory shout-out to Alysa Stanton who became the world's first African-American female rabbi when she was ordained yesterday, June 6th, at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati. What does Stanton make of her status as a first? "If I were the 50,000th, I'd still be doing what I do, trying to live my life with kavanah and kedusha ... Me being first was just the luck of the draw," she explained.

Topics: Rabbis

New GLBT Prayer Book

Just in time for Pride Month, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah (CBST), the world's largest GLBT synagogue led by Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum (featured in JWA's exhibit Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution), has published a new siddur.

Musings on Rebecca Rubin, Our Jewish American Girl

After years in the making, she's finally arrived: The Jewish American Girl Doll. We've been hearing a lot about her over the past week and, on Sunday, she hit the store shelves.

Topics: Fiction

Sotomayor and motherhood

My earlier post on Sotomayor sparked some interesting conversation among my friends on Facebook that I thought worth bringing back to the blog. Most of it -- unsurprisingly, considering my demographic (thirtysomething mothers of young kids) -- was about motherhood.

Topics: Mothers

May Podcast: A Conversion Story for Shavuot

Tomorrow starts the festival of Shavuot, a time of spiritual liberation that commemorates the ancient Israelites receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. The holiday is also linked to the story of Ruth, a Moabite woman, and her relationship with her Israelite mother-in-law, Naomi. As recounted in the Book of Ruth, traditionally read on Shavuot, after Naomi and her daughters-in-law Ruth and Orpah all become widows, Naomi urges the two younger women to leave her and find new husbands.

Topics: Shavuot

Sotomayor and other "firsts"

Yesterday morning, as I heard the news that Obama would imminently announce Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee for the Supreme Court, my eyes welled with tears. I thought about the Latino and Latina kids who will grow up knowing that they, too, can serve on the highest bench, and also thought about the older people in the Latino community who undoubtedly feel pride and a sense of communal achievement.

Florence Kahn Portrait Unveiled at the Capitol

As a student at Wellesley College, I'd gotten used to seeing portraits of powerful women displayed on the walls of the library and in academic buildings.

Which Jewess with Attitude are YOU?

Ok, friends, the time has come for you to discover... Which Jewess with Attitude are you? (Aside from yourself, of course). Take our new Facebook quiz and find out! (I promise it will be more entertaining and definitely more edifying than "Which alcoholic beverage are you" or "Which Grey's Anatomy character are you?")

Discover your inner Jewess with Attitude and pass the quiz on to your friends!

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