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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.

You Might As Well Call It Feminism, Joanne Lipman

The blogosphere and my inbox, have been buzzing with response to former Portfolio editor Joanne Lipman’s rather bizarre piece on modern womanhood in The New York Times, “The Mismeasure of Woman,” which has spent several days floating around on the paper’s most e-mailed list. I’m going to have to echo Jezebel’s Anna N. by saying that I was actually with Lipman throughout much of her critique — until the end when she started listing a rather motley group of prescriptions for the Woman Problem.

Topics: Feminism

The good, the bad, the bizarre - Link Roundup, Oct. 30, 2009

The Good:

  • When divorce is a reason to celebrate. [Sisterhood]
  • "If you're happy and you know it..." Ellen Goodman refutes the results of the so-called "Happiness Survey." [Boston Globe]
  • Cory Kahaney (one of the hosts of Making Trouble) hits the borscht belt with her new play. [TheJewishWeek]
  • "New Jews" are doin' it for themselves.  The post-baby-boom Jews embrace new approaches to Jewish culture and faith, which include praying in the desert, webcasting bible stories, organizing for non-Jewish causes, Jew-tattoos and punk rock. [CNN]
  • With the emergence of women scholars in the Orthodox community, women are starting to talk about sex. [Forward]

A victory in the fight to make hate crimes history!

Yesterday, Oct. 28, 2009, heralded a historic moment for human rights as President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act into law. This act expands the already existing hate crime protection to include crimes based on one's sexual orientation, gender, disability, or gender identity, and also allows federal authorities to support local investigations, as well as step in when local authorities unable or unwilling to investigate. For the first time in our nation's history, GLBT people and people with disabilities have the legal right to safety from hate violence. 

Topics: Law

To Life! Celebrating Vermont's Jewish women

Ann Zinn Buffum came to JWA through “midnight web searches” for family history.  She was surprised to discover that Madeleine May Kunin, the first woman Governor of Vermont, was the only Vermonter to be featured on jwa.org.  “Surely there were other women in our state, small as it is, who had interesting and accomplished lives,” she writes in To Life!, the book that accompanies the gallery exhibit. With her mission in mind, she enlisted Sandra Stillman Gartner, a writer, actor, and active member of the Rutland Jewish Center community, to create DAVAR: The Jewish Women’s History Project.

What is Jewish hair?

The buzz about Good Hair, Chris Rock's new documentary about Black hair, has got me thinking about "Jewish hair": what it is, what it means, and where I -- a straight-haired woman -- fit into this curious piece of Jewish identity. 

Doing the "work" of identity

"Who am I, anyway?" That's a question most of us ask at various points throughout our lives -- usually most noisily as adolescents but with piercing power as we grow older, too.

Topics: Film

The "Pride, Honor & Courage" of Hartford Jewish women during WWII

Pride, Honor and Courage: Jewish Women Remember World War II, the documentary film produced by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford (JHSGH), premiered Thursday at the Mandell Jewish Community Center.

On (not) breastfeeding and maternal Jewish guilt

I like this new article by former Forward “East Village Mamele” Marjorie Ingall over at Tablet magazine, in an issue this week focusing on the body.

I had struggles myself with nursing each of my three children, and naturally the first time was the most difficult to deal with.

Topics: Mothers

Mazel Tov Joan Nestle, Suze Orman, and Hilary Rosen!

Okay, so October is host to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Love Your Body Day, Fat Talk Free Week, AND GLBT History Month?  This is a seriously busy month!

GLBT History Month chooses 31 GLBT icons to highlight, one for each day of the month.  This year, three Jewesses are included in the list! 

Ask not what JWA can do for you...

The Jewish Women's Archive is in the running for a Jewish Choice Award from GreatNonProfits, an online directory of non-profits where users can rate and review their favorite (or least favorite) organizations. Think of it as the "Yelp" of non-profits. The Jewish Choice Award will go to the Jewish organization with the most positive reviews in its category.

Guilt, Health, and the Jewish body - Link Roundup Oct. 20, 2009

  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month: "Where you can put your pink ribbons," by Tamar Fox. [MyJewishLearning
  • Marjorie Ingall and Debra Nussbaum Cohen discuss breastfeeding, and the Jewish guilt that comes with failure. [Tablet] [The Sisterhood]
  • A "healthy" American appetite for Israeli food is growing. [JTA]
  • Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags -- HBO's new documentary about the rise and fall of the garment industry and its role in the American Jewish experience. (Don't forget its significance in labor history and women's history!) [Heeb] [Forward

Fat Talk

October is host to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Love Your Body Day (Oct. 21st), and now Fat Talk Free Week. Beginning Oct. 19th, Fat Talk Free Week challenges us to stop "Fat Talk", defined as "all of the statements made in everyday conversation that reinforce the thin ideal and contribute to women's dissatisfaction with their bodies.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on July 7, 2015) <http://jwa.org/blog>.

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