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Jewesses with Attitude

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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 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

Celebrating Ruth Proskauer Smith, an unheralded champion of women's and human rights

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.

The work/family balance, feminist-atheist siddurs, Holocaust hip hop and more -- Link Roundup Jan. 27, 2010

  • This is interesting in light of the discussion taking place at The Sisterhood about feminism and the work/family balance.

Household hints from the "American Jewess"

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?

Topics: Journalism

Submit your environmental activist before Tu B'Shevat!

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.

"Does working make me a bad mother?" -- Legitimate question, or pseudo dilemma?

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.

Topics: Mothers

Trusting women: A look back

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.

Blogging, Tweeting, and Facebooking for Choice: An interview with Gloria Feldt

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.

Add an environmental activist to our list!

Beginning with the commandment for Adam and Eve to protect the Garden of Eden, Jewish tradition teaches that sustaining the health of the earth and all of its living things is a moral imperative.

Where was gender in the Brown/Coakley race?

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.

Babysitter or JSitter: what's at stake when we discriminate

I recently received a press release announcing the launch of, 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.

Topics: Children

The "Not My Tax Dollars" campaign and the complexity of Tikkun Olam

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?

What the Women of the Wall Want

Anat Hoffman is director of the Israel Religious Action Center of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism and chair of Women of the Wall.  This was originally published as an op-ed in The Forward.

A Prayer For The New Year

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.

Topics: Prayer

Take action today with Not Under the Bus

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) <>.


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