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December dilemmas, gay marriage, breast cancer cults, and more

It has been a really interesting week in the world of Jewish women.  Take a look at these important stories!

What "Making Trouble" means to me

If you follow JWA on Twitter or Facebook, it should be pretty obvious that we think Making Trouble, the film about six trailblazing Jewish women entertainers, makes a great Hanukkah present for the whole family.  Normally, the idea of pushing a "product" makes me queasy.  Afterall, I chose to work for a non-profit, not an advertising firm!  So I feel that I owe the JWA audience a real and honest explanation for why I think Making Trouble is something you should own.

Topics: Comedy, Film

Abby Shevitz -- a role model in the global fight against AIDS

December 1 is World AIDS Day, established in 1988 by the World Health Organization to raise awareness and focus attention on the global AIDS epidemic. World AIDS Day reminds us that for many across the globe, the spread of HIV/AIDS is a very real, very present, part of every day life, and millions are suffering.The global AIDS epidemic can be difficult for some Americans to accept or understand.

Debunking assumptions about young women and apathy

Ever since Bart Stupak finagled his anti-choice amendment onto the House’s Health Care Reform bill three weeks ago, my life seems to be all Stupak, all the time. I have attended rallies, visited Capitol Hill to talk to my Senators, helped plan a Lobby Day on December 2 with a broad group of progressive organizations known as the Stop Stupak coalition, supported students as they plan their own on-campus actions, and organized online to get the word out as much as possible.

Thanksgiving Weekend Link Roundup

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend.  I certainly did, which is why I missed so many great posts and articles over the weekend.  Here is a Thanksgiving weekend link roundup, just in case you missed them too.

You can tell their story

Friday is StoryCorps' National Day of Listening. Since you can order your Making Trouble DVDs conveniently online at www.makingtrouble.com, there is no need to go shopping on Black Friday.  Instead, join Storycorps and sit down with a loved one and record their story.  Ellen wrote about the National Day of Listening last year, and explained why the tradition of listening is so important to Jews, especially in the context of Thanksgiving, a holiday important to many Americans with immigration histories.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Things are wrapping up as we prepare for the holiday.  But in the midst of the chaos of the end of the year mailing, Nora found time to share what she is grateful for this year.

Androgyny: progressive or exclusionary?

The New York Times recently identified androgyny as the "it" fashion trend.  It seemed to begin with "skinny jeans" -- skin-tight pants quickly adopted by fashion-forward men and women.  Unisex hoodies, coats, footwear, t-shirts, and hairstyles were soon to follow.  While women dressing in masculine clothing is old hat (the tomboy), the idea of heterosexual men dressing in feminine clothing is new, edgy, and raising eyebrows as well as questions about traditional gender norms.  

Remembering the Uprising of the 20,000

On a cold November morning onehundred years ago today, more than 20,000 immigrant workers--mostly young Jewishwomen--took to the streets of the lower east side of New York, kicking off aneleven-week general strike of the shirtwaist industry knows as the Uprising ofthe 20,000.

International Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today is the 11th annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to mourn those who were killed by hatred, bigotry, and ignorance.  Many of these deaths went unreported in the media, or if they were covered, the victims were reduced to attention-grabbing headlines and dehumanizing terms. You can read the names of the 162 trans people murdered between November 20, 2008 and November 12, 2009 here, and these are only the people we know about.

Healthcare, the Wailing Wall, "Dan the Dude," and more

On healthcare:

  • The Senate's compromise on abortion, and the work left to be done. [Daily Kos] [Feministing] [Feministe]
  • The truth about abortion and morality. [Forward]
  • "Needling Worry": Marjorie Ingall discusses our anxiety over vaccinations and other decisions. [Tablet]
  • Are the new recommendations for mammograms patronizing to women? [Feminist Law Professors]

On employment:

  • The Jewish Alliance for Women in Science: a new organization helping Jewish women find mentors and mentees and navigate careers in science and medicine. [JAWScience]
  • The "he-cession" disproportionately hurts unmarried women. [Center for American Progress]

Woman of the Wall arrested

As they do at the start of every month, Israel’s Women of the Wall went to the Kotel on Wednesday to celebrate Rosh Chodesh.

Is the "imposter syndrome" a woman thing?

Have you ever acted confident when deep down you felt unqualified or incompetent -- in short, like an imposter?  Have you ever felt that someday you would be discovered as a fraud?  A blogger for Psychology Today linked this “imposter syndrome” to women, asking “why do so many successful women feel they are frauds?”  It’s an interesting question to be sure, but I can’t help wondering if the “imposter syndrome” is really specific to women, and if there might be a danger in framing it as a women’s issue.

"It's No Joke"

The Center for Reproductive Rights is taking an exciting approach to fighting the Stupak Amendment and the potential loss of abortion coverage it would ultimately bring about.  Cory Kahaney (one of the hosts of Making Trouble) stars in their new ad, "It's No Joke," which will air on MSNBC this week.  Kahaney drives home her point with a quick standup routine about health care that makes it perfectly clear that the threat to abortion access is no joke.  

JOFA tackles "tznius"

The current issue of the JOFA Journal offers a smorgasbord of thoughtful articles about clothing in Orthodoxy, aka “tznius“.

President Carol Kaufman Newman writes about how different today’s Orthodoxy is compared to when she was growing up and freely wore cheerleader outfits. “I would be less than honest if I did not confess that all this covering up gives me pause.”

Taking action against Stupak

A few days ago, I wrote about how the House of Representatives threw women under the bus in order to pass the healthcare reform bill.  All week the blogosphere has been buzzing with anger and disbelief at the fact that our elected leaders would pass such an unprecidented repeal of abortion coverage, which both prohibits the public option from offering coverage, and provides financial incentives for private insurance companies to drop the coverage they currently offer. 

The Forward's 50

Today the Forward posted their list of the 50 Jews who have had the most dramatic impact on the Jewish community over the past year.  These types of lists are somewhat gimmicky, because they are essentially a "supreme New Media trick of writing feature stories that are news events themselves," as Matthue Roth writes at My Jewish Learning.

Taking stock on Veteran's Day

During World War II, more than a half-million Jews served in the American military.  The story of the Jewish American military experience begins there, but World War II also marks the beginning of a second story -- the story of Jewish women in the American military. In honor of Veteran's Day, I have been thinking about this story, its beginnings, and how far we have come since then.

Topics: Military

Uplifting stories to beat the "news blues"

The recent attack on women's health in the Stupak Amendment has got me so angry and frustrated that it's hard to see straight. But, thanks to stories like these and a second cup of coffee, I'm feeling better.  Good things are happening, and I want to share them with you.

  • This story about Rabbi Robin Nafshi, president of Seer Farms, a "people-centered animal sanctuary," left me with a wonderful warm and fuzzy feeling. Seer Farms "takes care of pets for owners who are temporarily unable to keep them, whether due to foreclosure, illness, domestic violence, overseas deployment, eviction or other circumstances," offering compassion to pets and pet owners alike in times of need. [Forward]
  • Girls Write Now, a New York organization led by Maya Nussbaum that matches girls with professional writing mentors, won the 2009 Coming Up Taller Award from the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. On Nov. 4, First Lady Michelle Obama presented the award to Nussbaum and one of her mentees. [Feministing]

The elephant in the room

I was not surprised by the recent headline in the Forward stating “Jewish women lag behind men in promotion and pay.” Nu? What else is new?  The article reports that women make up about 75% of Jewish organizations, but only hold 14.3% of the top positions, and they only earn 61 cents for every dollar earned by a man. It is unfortunate but reasonable to expect a gendered pay gap to exist in the Jewish, non-profit community since one exists consistently throughout the nation.  However, I was shocked to learn that women working in Jewish non-profits experience a pay gap wider than the national average! According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women in full-time positions earn an average of 77 cents to every dollar earned by a man, nationwide -- 16 cents more than the average for women in Jewish organizations.

Sold out in the name of healthcare reform

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Healthcare Reform bill only after Democrats caved on abortion, allowing the Stupak Amendment to be added in order to move the bill along.  The Stupak Amendment prohibits any public option to offer abortion coverage, and also prevents private insurers from covering abortion by limiting federal affordability credits to plans that do not cover abortion.  For those of us who desire a truly comprehensive healthcare reform act that values women's healthcare needs, this "victory" was hard to swallow.

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.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on September 3, 2015) <http://jwa.org/blog>.

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