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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
- 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]
“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.”
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.
Two years ago we cheered on swimmer Dara Torres, fencer Sada Jacobson, marathoner Deena Kastor, and pole Vaulter Jillian Schwartz at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. This year, only one Jewish American woman is competing in the Vancouver Olympic games, and in one of the more interesting events. Laura Spector made her Olympic debut in Vancouver, competing in the women's biathlon, a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.
Today the Forward published a list of 10 up-and-coming Jewish political hopefuls "to watch" in 2010. Surprise, surprise, only two were women.
The first was Beth Krom, running for U.S. Congress to represent California’s 48th District. The second was Deb Markowitz, the Secretary of State of Vermont, currently running for Governor.
It's not always easy to raise children Jewish in America. Our holidays are no match for the big C, bacon is America's favorite food, and to top it off, your ex might baptize your children when you're not looking. That's what happened to Rebecca Reyes, a Jewish woman going through a divorce.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on May 31, 2016) <http://jwa.org/blog>.