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Rethinking Purity on Tu B'Av

With the exception of Tisha B'Av, the day of fasting and mourning in commemoration of the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem, not much happens on the Jewish calendar between Shavuot in May/June and Rosh HaShanah in September/October. Or so we thought...

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Rocks!

Fifteen years ago this week, Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the second woman - and the first Jewish woman - to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Considering that of the court's 110 justices, 7 have been Jewish and only 2 women, Ginsburg's appointment was no small feat.

Topics: Law

Jewish and Muslim Marriage Contracts get a Facelift

The ketubah, the Jewish marriage contract, is one of the oldest continuously used documents within Judaism.  That said, over the course of the past thirty years or so, many ketubahs have undergone a makeover so that rather than simply act as a business document that lists the items in the bride's trousseau and the amount of zuzim (silver pieces) that the groom has to set aside for her well-being, many contemporary ketubahs reflect the equal partnership that the marrying couple are entering in to.

Topics: Marriage

Book Revew: Normal

Usually, we have used this space to review new books (see recent reviews of The Book of Dahlia, Away, and The Zookeeper's Wife), but I can not let the opportunity pass to write a bit about Amy Bloom's non-fiction book, Normal, which was first published in 2002. I had initially put Normal on the Jewesses with Attitude Summer Reading List as a whim - an aside, even, just something to accompany my reading of Away if I decided that I liked Amy Bloom. I liked Away a lot, and now, having read Normal, I like Ms. Bloom so much more.

Topics: Non-Fiction

Not Just Fun and Games -- Women, Jews, and the Olympics

The first Olympics I remember well were the 1988 Summer Games, held in Seoul. We were sitting shiva for my grandfather on Long Island. I remember my sister and I lying on our grandparents' bed (my grandmother always had pink satin sheets) and being completely mesmerized by the tiny female gymnasts as they tumbled across the floor. To my knowledge, none of those women were Jewish (Kerri Strug made her debut in 1992, and the Israeli gymnasts who competed in 1988 likely did not make it to American television), but American Jewish women have made a strong impact on the Olympic Games over the past 100-plus years.

Since we’re talking about comic books…

Those of you whose lives don't involve a weekly update on what new comics have come out this Wednesday might not be familiar with Y The Last Man, a 60-issue comic book (10 volume graphic novel), whose much anticipated final issue just came out last month.  The premise of Y The Last Man is that a mystery plague instantaneously wipes out every man and male mammal on planet Earth except for Yorick Brown, a 22 year old magician/slacker, and his capuchin monkey, Ampersand.  

Topics: Art, Fiction

Blu Greenberg and Orthodox Feminism

Crossposted on JVoices

Two years ago this week, the indomitable Blu Greenberg, who is best known for her feminist work within Orthodox Judaism, was honored with Hadassah's highest honor

Book Review: The Zookeeper's Wife

I made the mistake of picking up The Zookeeper's Wife and reading it as though it were a novel.  Maybe I was just in that headspace because the first two books on the Jewesses with Attitude Summer Reading List were fiction.  The Zookeeper's Wife, however, is a genre-bending piece of prose that defies the conventions of history, memoir, and naturalist writing, all of which it employs.

Mad Men and One Sane Jewess

Pretty much since moving to Boston last summer, my friends have been making weekly pleas that we watch Mad Men on AMC. It took until last week, because in spite of critical acclaim and the insistence of friends whose opinions I trust, who wants to watch a television show about an advertising agency? (Of course, by that logic, who wants to watch a show about a paper sales office, NBC corporate headquarters, or a misanthropic doctor?). But I was wrong, wrong, wrong to delay! Why? Because aside from a smart script, good acting, etc.

Topics: Television

Mars, Venus, and the Jews

I just came across a fascinating series in Slate, challenging the science of sex differences. (It happens to be written and edited by two brilliant Jewesses - Amanda Schaffer and Emily Bazelon - whom I am privileged to know.) Schaffer and Bazelon take on what they call the new "sex difference evangelists" and offer powerful, data-driven rebuttals to their arguments on sex differences in the brain.

A Day at Camp

Last week, I got an e-mail from a Jewish Women's Archive member, which was, in part, an ode to Sara Blum, the founding director of Camp Navarac in the Adirondack Mountains. And, since it's July and since I spent last weekend with my band of camp friends, I'd be remiss if I didn't write a little bit about summer camp.

I am what I eat -- Part II

A couple of weeks ago, I posted on the horrifying (and ongoing) story of the Agriprocessors kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa. Since then, the Uri L'Tzedek boycott against the Rubashkins was lifted due to a feeling that the federal compliance officer assigned to the plant was getting the labor practices into the shape they needed to be.

Topics: Food, Agriculture

Amelia the Bard

It goes without saying that Jewish women have so many accomplishments to be proud of.  A quick search through the Jewish Women's Archive's Discover pages reveals women both lauded and nearly forgotten who have made strides in business, medicine, philosophy and the arts. Telling their stories is our mission.  And this story is a big one.

Topics: Plays, Poetry

275 Years of Anxiety about Assimilation

Never in my relatively short life do I remember a time where there wasn't a sense of urgency, even panic, in the American Jewish community around intermarriage and Jewish continuity. 

Book Review: Away by Amy Bloom

When I wrote the short blurb on Away for the Jewesses with Attitude Summer Reading List, I don't think I really knew what I was getting into.

Topics: Fiction

A Time for Travel

Summer? Summer is the time that you eat sticky popsicles, ride your bike to the beach, and watch fireworks, right? Oh wait, I think summer is the time that you have to plan six months in advance to find a single weekend that you can go away with your friends because everyone is off traveling. Yes, even this year, with gas prices sky-high. And we are not without good company. Jewish women have made it their business to see the world for hundreds of years.

Topics: Journalism

Book Review: The Book of Dahlia

A week into the Jewesses With Attitude Summer Reading List, and I’ve finished The Book of Dahlia and am about halfway through Away. So far, good picks, if I do say so myself.

Topics: Fiction

I am what I eat.

From a first-grilled Shabbat meal of the summer on Friday night (and my first beef hamburger in maybe a year), to picking up our remarkably green CSA farm veggies (what will we do with so many radishes?), to baking a lemon-blueberry pound cake for my friend's birthday yesterday, for me this weekend was all about food. Which inevitably, in my house, means long, drawn-out discussions about food, kashrut, and ethics. Seriously. Every week we talk about it.

Annie Londonderry's Wild Ride

Since leaving my 5th  floor walkup apartment building and graduating to a home with enough space for a bicycle, I have been a woman obsessed. Riding my bike is faster, cleaner, and way more fun than riding the subway or the bus. Apparently, I am not the first Jewish woman in Boston to feel this way.

Topics: Athletes

The Jewesses with Attitude Summer Reading List

So, I’m not spending my summer in the Hamptons, on Cape Cod, the Jersey Shore, or any other iconic beach. But like my fellow Jewesses with Attitude bloggers, I am a self-proclaimed “word nerd” and so, in spite of sitting on public buses rather than public beaches, I will be using the long hours of summer to bulk up on my reading (which, not surprisingly, is heavy on the Jewish Women writers).
Topics: Fiction, Poetry

Remembering Ethel Rosenberg

Today marks 55 years since Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed, convicted of "conspiracy to commit treason." The passage of 55 years - and the release of previously-classified documents - haven't yet succeeded in putting this case to rest.

Topics: Communism

Babies, Babies, Babies

Maybe like me, some of you tried to escape last summer’s heat in the movie theater, where you were privileged to see (about 20,000 times) the music video “I Wanna Have Your babies” by Natasha Bedingfield. You know, the one with the really smart chorus that goes “babies, babies, babies, babies, etc.” I had all but forgotten about that song until recently, when the theme of so much Jewish buzz in the press and on the internet seems to share the offspring theme.

The American Jewess: An American Jewess in Paris

As a new crop of college graduates ponder their uncertain futures and decide whether to go directly to work (if they can find work in this uncertain economy) or bum around for a while in search of inspiration, I thought it would be fun to find out what passed for "backpacking through Europe" in the turn-of-the-20th-century world of The American Jewess.

Topics: Journalism

Funny Fanny's Ziegfield Debut

Ah, Fanny Brice. The name alone evokes the image of a Jewish woman on-stage in glamorous costume, making fun of herself. Well, that and, of course, Barbra Streisand singing “People.” This week marks the 98th anniversary of Ms. Brice’s iconic debut in Ziegfield’s Follies as “Sadie Salome,” her breakthrough role.

Topics: Comedy, Film

A Shout-Out to Dr. Gerda Lerner

“Women’s history is women’s right – an essential, indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision.” So Dr.

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