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Groundbreaking tampon ads still can’t use the word “vagina”

A new advertising campaign by U for Kotex has done what no menstrual product company has done before—create an ad that is not only straightforward about menstruation, but also pokes fun at its own history of vague and sanitized ads. Both reasons make this ad campaign groundbreaking, but for some reason, you still can’t say “vagina” on TV.

Topics: Television

Is Leo DiCaprio "bad for the Jews?"

Why have an American actor and Israeli model become hot topics for the Jewish press? Lehava, a Jewish organization created to prevent assimilation, recently sent a letter to Bar Refaeli, a prominent Israeli supermodel, not to marry DiCaprio because it would be bad for Judaism. Some excerpts from the letter:

Topics: Marriage

Expanding Bat Mitzvah

On this day in 1922, Judith Kaplan--daughter of Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan, the founder of Reconstructionist Judaism--was called to the Torah in what is known as the first bat mitzvah ceremony in America.

Celebrating the “Old-New”

When a people have been around as long as the Jews, they have to be pretty good at renewing and re-imagining traditions in ways that feel authentic and also relevant. How else can rituals, practices, and beliefs survive the changes of time and place? It's a fine balance that is nicely captured in the term "old-new"--used, for example, in Theodore Herzl's Zionist novel about the "Old-New Land."

Topics: Feminism

Who's your Rabba?

Raised as a Reform Jew by an ardent feminist, it was drilled into me that I could grow up to be anything I wanted. An astronaut, a doctor, the President — whatever (though I’m sure an underemployed freelance writer slacker mom wasn’t what my highly accomplished mother had in mind.)

Topics: Rabbis

Not your grandmother's Hadassah

In honor of Women’s History Month, Twin Cities Jewfolk is posting a series of guest posts by members of their local chapters of Hadassah and the National Council of Jewish Women. This week’s post is by Joanna Lowinger, Communications Coordinator for Hadassah’s Upper Midwest Region.

March 15, 2010

Are all of you aware of This Week in History, JWA's incredible calendar of events in Jewish women's history? We try to make it as accessible as possible.

Glee and the myth of the 'nice Jewish girl'

The show that is characterizing the American high school experience is no longer Beverly Hills 90210. It is not One Tree Hill, The OC, Dawson’s Creek, or any other television series that is comprised of a homogeneous group of blonde, white, and religiously hush-hush teenagers whose differences are minimized for the sake of a cohesive social hierarchy.

Topics: Television

"Good job women" and other Women's History Month sentiments

  • Don't miss Renee Ghert-Zand's piece about JWA's On the Map project [Truth, Praise & Help]
  • As a part of "Plan A," the campaign for comprehensive sex education, NCJW released a new factsheet on comprehensive sex ed's critical role in preventing and eliminating teen dating violence

Play a role in mapping Jewish women's history

There exists no guide to physical landmarks in Jewish women's history--until now.

Yesterday was an exciting day at the Jewish Women's Archive because yesterday we literally put Jewish women "on the map."  A user-generated map hosted on jwa.org, On the Map showcases significant places in Jewish women’s history, including sites both marked and unmarked, familiar and obscure. You can put your own stamp on history by clicking on a location and adding a photo and description of the new landmark. 

Topics: History

Shared birthday, connected lives

I remember precisely where I was in the Glenn G. Bartle library—what part of the stacks, which corner, what bench—when I realized that Lillian Wald and I shared the same birthday, on March 10th.   I was a junior at State University of New York at Binghamton, enrolled in a U.S. women’s history course that was gradually changing the direction of my life.

Tefillin Barbie's new career

"You know Barbie's getting a new job," says my friend Mimi to me. "People can vote for her new career."

Babe Ruth

Ruth Mosko Handler made two fortunes from plastic boobs.

First as the women who single handedly brought Barbie into our world. (Makes me think of Sophacles saying, “Nothing vast enters the lives of mortals without a curse.”)

And secondly, as a breast cancer survivor who created a prosthetic breast company. Thank you Ruth! What a powerhouse.

Happy International Women's Day

One hundred years ago, the German socialist Clara Zetkin originated International Women's Day to coordinate women's demands around the world. Zetkin, who proposed this new holiday at the 1910 second International Conference of Working Women, was inspired by the power and organization of women labor activists -- many of whom were Jewish -- who had provoked sweeping changes in the garment industry in the 1909 Uprising of the 20,000. In March 1911, the first International Women's Day brought out more than 1 million women and men to demonstrate for women's rights to work, vote, and serve in public office.

A big fish in a small, Canadian town

This piece was written as a part of JWA's discussion of the significance of physical places and spaces in Jewish women's history. Share your stories with us as we get ready to put Jewish women "On the Map."

AdDRESSING Women's Lives on display

Recently, Ethan Grossman, a student at the Weber Jewish Community High School, wrote a moving piece for Jewesses with Attitude about participating in the adDRESSING Women's Lives project. Now, the Covenant Foundation has highlighted the project in honor of Women's History Month!

Esther: Nice Jewish Girl, Married to a Goy?

This past weekend was Purim, and amidst the celebrating and partying one thing stood out in my mind that most people tend to ignore: the fact that the feminine hero of the story, Esther, is interma

Topics: Marriage, Purim

"Some of These Days"

Ninety-nine years ago today, Sophie Tucker, the "last of the red hot mamas," recorded "Some of These Days," which would become one of her signature songs. Sophie Tucker, the iconic Jewish American vaudeville and cinema star, is one of the women featured in Making Trouble, JWA's film about funny Jewish women. 

Putting Jewish Women On the Map

Today marks the beginning of Women's History Month. The official theme of Women's History Month 2010 is "Writing Women Back into History," which I find somewhat amusing since that is the official theme of every day at the Jewish Women's Archive. Not to be contrary, but we at JWA have been working on a different theme for this month: "Putting Jewish Women on the Map."

Topics: History

Purim, International Agunah Day, and more - Link Roundup

On Purim:

  • Sisters in Arms: Playing the defiant Vashti in a Hebrew school Purim play awakened my inner feminist [Tablet]
  • Purim is bittersweet--Minnesota Mamaleh [TC Jewfolk]
  • Many takes on hamantaschen [MyJewishLearning]
  • Unmasked: Has Purim replaced Passover as the best holiday vehicle for expressing individual Jewish identity? [Tablet]
  • A strange holiday [Truth, Praise & Help]
  • Esther and Vashti: Women to remember [Blogher]
  • Purim FAQ [Tablet]
  • Purim in Bulgaria--With Kaddish [Forward]
  • What's up with Purim plays and carnivals? [MyJewishLearning]

Queen Esther’s Agunah Story

You can learn an incredible amount about different people from language.

Topics: Marriage, Purim

Gendering at Birth: the Bris and the Baby Naming

I consider myself fortunate to take Gender Studies as my English literature class during my final semester of high school.

Topics: Ritual

Jews and the Civil Rights Movement: What we’re really talking about

In 1964, Elaine DeLott Baker left her white working-class Jewish family in Massachusetts and her scholarship at Radcliffe to go to Mississippi, where she spent a year working with SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee).

Topics: Civil Rights

What Queen Esther can teach us about intermarriage

“She was trying as hard as she could not to be beautiful. But she had a brightness on her, made stronger by the fact that she wanted to hide it; thinking if it was seen, somehow, it would make him choose her, and of course it did.” 

Topics: Marriage, Purim

Vashti is not a failure; Esther is not a bad feminist

Abby Wisse Schachter, associate editor at the New York Post, recently published an article in Commentary Magazine that suggests that feminist thinking has changed the meaning of Purim, and that that is a bad thing. I have not read the piece because the article is only available to subscribers, and therefore I cannot evaluate the merit of Schachter’s individual arguments. Still, I reject the idea that a feminist interpretation of the Purim story “lionizes the wrong woman, promotes a false political message of nonviolence and tolerance, and worst of all embraces failure instead of promoting perhaps the greatest of Jewish heroines,” as Schachter argues in her abstract.

Topics: Feminism, Purim

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on February 14, 2016) <http://jwa.org/blog>.

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