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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.

How do we value women's work?

Jewish Women Watching, the “anonymous, rabble-rousing, feminist collective,” performed an action this weekend in honor of Shavuot (a holiday once celebrated by bringing the first fruits of the spring harvest to the temple in Jerusalem).

A community for queer Orthodox women

As a new “blog roller,” I have been amazed to see what fascinating ideas and communities exist on the dynamic web. Yesterday, I came across Tirtzah: A Community of Frum Queer Women, a multi-author blog associated with an eponymous, in-person community based out of New York City. It’s a new blog – there are only a few posts up yet, but what is there so far, feels fresh and exciting.

An Army of Ex-Lovers

I have a love/hate relationship with memoirs. I start them with a healthy appetite for the juicy details of the author's life, but about halfway through, I develop a sudden distaste and a mounting sense of outrage: who does this person think s/he IS? Such arrogance, to assume that I would care about all these details!

The American Jewess: Jewish Weddings in 1898

It's June. Wedding season is officially upon us, and with it, a return to our feature on The American Jewess after a brief hiatus.

A Living Wage

A living wage? Before last week, I thought that was an issue facing underemployed workers breaking their backs for $9 an hour and trying to pay for housing, food, and child care. And yet, last week, the Conservative Movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards passed a Living Wage Teshuva (a legal “response” to a question of Jewish law) obligating Conservative organizations like schools, synagogues and summer camps to provide their employees with a living wage, defined by Rabbi Jill Jacobs via

Book Review: Cooking Jewish

So the thing about getting married is that your precious bookshelf space, which you had reserved for brilliant novels written by brilliant writers, gets quickly engulfed by an ocean of cookbooks, which your mothers, aunts, and family friends are sure you'll just love.

Jewesses abound

When we were planning this blog in the winter of 2006, we had long conversations about possible names, ultimately choosing to reclaim the word "Jewess" from its exotic and sometimes negative connotations and give it a new life in the blogosphere. Well, it turns out we were at the forefront of a cultural phenomenon! A recent article by Daniel Krieger explores the history of this term and its recent reclamation by young Jewesses. Check it out.

Topics: Non-Fiction

Making History in the Cantorate and the Rabbinate

Apropos of recent conversations on Jewesses With Attitude about diversity and multi-ethnic identities, nine years ago today, Angela Warnick Buchdahl was invested as the first Asian-American cantor.

Topics: Cantors, Rabbis

The American Jewess: Zionism before the State of Israel

By Rebecca Honig Friedman, cross-posted on Jewess. This would have been an appropriate post for last week when we celebrated Yom Ha'azmaut and commemorated Yom Hazikaron but ...

Where are her ovaries now? Chat with Rivka Solomon

Jewesses With Attitude recently reconnected with Rivka Solomon, the founder and visionary of That Takes Ovaries (TTO) and recipient of the Jewish Women's Archive's Women Who Dared award. TTO takes many forms -- it's a book, an open mike movement, a play, and an organizing tool for women's and girls' empowerment. Most TTO events benefit women's and girls' causes -- women's shelters, Planned Parenthood, groups working to end human rights abuses around the globe, Amnesty International, and more.

A shuk of stories

Today is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, and I'd like to mark it not (only) by eating falafel but with something less tangible but ultimately more nourishing: considering stories. Sixty years is only half way to 120 - the mythical age Jews wish upon one another - but this "half life" contains within it so many dreams and visions, loves and losses, hopes and fears, connections and fractures, struggles that remain unresolved.

We Contain Multitudes: Ashkenazi Spaces and Multiethnic Identity

 Cross-posted to Racialicious

I recently attended a Yiddish culture conference where participants were required to wear nametags printed with their full names. Thus displayed, my conspicuously Puerto Rican name provoked endless fascination and scrutiny. One day I was asked to identify my ethnicity five times -- before the end of breakfast.

Topics: Yiddish

Emma's Revolution!

It's unlikely that Emma Goldman predicted her legacy would inspire the name of an activist folk music duo, but perhaps she did. Over the weekend, I had the delight of seeing Emma's Revolution, a "musical uprising of truth and hope from award-winning, activist songwriters" perform with feminist folk music pioneer Holly Near.

The American Jewess: The Social Mores of 19th Century Jewesses (and Martians)

A regular column in The American Jewess, "The Woman Who Talks" (a more politically correct way to say The Yenta?) was a place "for the ventilation of all subjects pertaining to woman: social, domestic, religious, literary, political, philanthropic, and so on-ad infinituz," according to its first installment.

Topics: Journalism

Happy Jewish American Heritage Month!

What connects the Statue of Liberty with Emma Lazarus? Susan Sontag with Gilda Radner? Patriotism with labor protests? Musical theatre and domestic ritual with potato kugel and halvah? You guessed it: JEWISH AMERICAN HERITAGE!

Topics: History, Judaism

The American Jewess: Religious Observance in 1896

Some of the articles we're finding in our look at The American Jewess archives seem surprisingly contemporary (19th century language aside), yet a closer look reveals the more subtle points of contrast between how we approach particular issues now vs. then.

'WomenGirlsLadies' ... Fishnets, Food, Feminism

Are younger generations of women "afraid" of feminism? Has the media slashed and distorted women's choices about balancing work and family? Must women vote for female candidates?

Happy Earth Day! … with a Jewish, liberationist twist

Art, liberation, ritual, the environment. For Jewish eco-feminist artist, Helene Aylon, these are the unifying elements of her life's work. In celebration of Earth Day, I've been re-exploring some of her ground-breaking work and realizing that we need more of it!

Topics: Feminism, Art

Midwives, Oranges, and Matzah Frisbee?!

With Passover fast approaching, now is a perfect time to think about the many roles of courageous women in historical and contemporary quests for freedom.

As a start, check out the Jewish Women's Archive's resource on Jewish midwives which highlights Shifra and Puah, two women who play a critical part in the Exodus story through their acts of resistance in sparing the lives of Hebrew male babies born in Egypt.

The American Jewess: Passover in 19th Century London

Besides this piece being interesting as a documentary description of late 19th century life in London, it's fascinating for the writer's clear invocation of class issues, though that seems more a natural by-product of her own upper-class biases than a deliberate attempt to raise an explicit discussion about socioeconomic divisions between Jews.

New Book: Leveling the Playing Field

"Imagine how much stronger Jewish organizations would be if women truly shared leadership with men," says Shifra Bronznick, co-founder of the national non-profit, Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community (AWP). Wouldn't it be nice if we no longer needed to imagine this?

The American Jewess: The Modern 19th Century Jewess (and The Ape)

Cross-posted on Jewess. The beginning seems like a good place to begin our exploration of The American Jewess archives. The first issue of TAJ, from April 1895, proves to be varied in its area of coverage, likely reflecting the varied interests and education of its intended readers. And that 19th century language sure is something!

Topics: Journalism

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on July 30, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog>.

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