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Against All Odds, My Grandmother's Story

Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah, is this Sunday. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think about the Holocaust very often.

When I come across some literature, a news clip, a movie, obviously. I pause and take note. An extra moment to notice. To think. My heart skip a beat. My eyes tear up. And I always feel just a titch helpless. And then I move on.

Topics: Holocaust

Social Media for Social Justice

  • The ever-thoughtful Renee Ghert-Zand recognized many of her own complicated feelings about Judaism in Terry Gross’s recent interview with Judith Shulevitz on NPR’s Fresh Air.

Letters to Jackie

If you’ve watched CNN, CBS “Sunday Morning,” or the PBS “NewsHour” in the past month, you have probably seen grainy, black-and-white clips of President Kennedy’s funeral. The historic footage has accompanied reports on Ellen Fitzpatrick’s powerful new book, Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation. A collection of about 250 letters from the archives at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, Letters to Jackie gives people like the man who wrote “I myself am just a nobody from nowhere” their rightful place in American history. 

Rose Pastor Stokes: Jewess with Attitude

On April 5, 1905, J.Graham Phelps Stokes —Yale graduate, businessman, scion of one of New York’s “Four Hundred” families, social worker at the University Settlement on the Lower East Side, dabbler in progressive politics — announced his engagement to Rose Pastor — Russian Jewish immigrant, cigarmaker-turned-journalist, self-identified girl of the Jewish ghetto.

Topics: Labor, Communism

More Passover Memories

The other day I blogged about celebrating Passover on my great aunt’s dairy farm outside of Baltimore.

Topics: Passover

Passover on the Farm

How many kids growing up in Baltimore City in the 1950s celebrated Passover on a dairy farm? How many little girls hunted for the afikomen in a house that had once been home to slaveholders? How many children heard the sounds of cows mooing when they opened the door for Elijah? Not too many, I reckon, but for the first 15 years of my life, our family seders were held on the dairy farm owned by my Great Aunt Sarah Mahr.

Topics: Passover

Our 10 Plagues

Letty Cottin Pogrebin, a rock-star of Jewish feminism, delivered a speech called “The Ten Plagues According to Jewish Women,” at the Downtown Seder on March 25 in Manhattan. An adaptation of this speech has been published on The Sisterhood blog, and it is fabulous. Pogrebin goes through each of the 10 Plagues and demonstrates how each symbolizes a problem facing Jewish women today.

Topics: Passover

Introducing guestblogger Shira Engel

You may have noticed a few new voices on Jewesses with Attitude. Meet Shira Engel, one of our newest guestbloggers!

Hi! I’m Shira Engel and I started guest-posting on Jewesses with Attitude a few weeks ago and I am so thrilled to access all sorts of Jewish women – feminist, young, old, savvy – through this innovative medium.

Extreme Passover Link Roundup 2010

Back to basics:

Bringing women to the table:

Imagining the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire

What is about this fire that draws us so intensely? Why has this one event become such a touchstone for political, artistic, and cultural work?  How do we explain the nearly one hundred years of memorialization, activism, and creativity inspired by the events which transpired on March 25, 1911 at 29 Washington Place, just east of New York’s stately Washington Square?

Topics: Labor, Unions

Floaters or Sinkers?

In the degradation of Passover tradition that happens when parents get older and children move away; at times when there is no one young enough to sing the Four Questions without embarrassment; when the eating of the Hillel Sandwich is skipped because everyone at the table gets acid reflux; when the traditional four cups of sock-rotting Manischewitz dwindles to a single glass of Hagafen Chardonnay that is raised four times and demurely sipped by the host alone, one Passover tradition lives on: Matzoh balls, or knaidlach.  Or, as my neighbor calls them, “those cool things you Jewish people put in soup on Passover.”

Topics: Food, Recipes

This is what young feminist leadership looks like

Young feminists flooded Washington D.C. last weekend for the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference, sponsored by the Feminist Majority Foundation.

Topics: Feminism

The women honored by the passage of healthcare reform

Last night the House of Representatives passed the healthcare reform bill in what is being called a historic victory for progressives and healthcare activists, despite the inclusion of abortion restrictions. Still, the bill will make healthcare accessible to many who could not afford it under the current system and will curb some of the most unethical practices of insurance companies, such as dropping coverage when a child gets sick.

Topics: Medicine

March 22, 2010

March 22, 1893
Senda Berenson, the "Mother of Women's Basketball," organized and officiated at the first women's basketball game.
  Learn more >>

March 22, 2005
Four handbags created for U.S. first ladies by Judith Leiber, luxury handbag doyenne, were featured in a New-York Historical Society exhibit that opened on March 22, 2005.
  Learn more >>

In Linda Richman's Footsteps: 'Ronna and Beverly'

As much as I love the whole Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Ben Stiller, Judd Aptaow schlemiel genre I always shudder a bit when finding out, again and again, that their co-star is a semi-serious perky blond. (For the most recent example, see the new movie “She’s Out of My League”, where the real-life half Jew Jay Baruchel pursues yet another, fair-haired and -eyed interest.) Why can’t the woman ever be funny — and not just spunky? Occasionally, a brunette? And, just once, Jewish?

Topics: Comedy

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

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on May 1, 2016) <http://jwa.org/blog>.

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