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Deena Gerber and Roselle Ungar: Where are they now?

Deena Gerber and Roselle Ungar, two leaders of the New Orleans Jewish community who played instrumental roles in the relief and rebuild efforts during and after Hurricane Katrina, helped to coordinate rescues, distribute aid money, and help displaced members of the community find each other.  Four years later, where are they now?

A Charitable Role Reversal for the Jews of Katrina

Media coverage of Hurricane Katrina focused on the poorest communities of New Orleans and initiated a national discussion about poverty, power, and racism. The JWA's Katrina’s Jewish Voices project is interesting in that it focuses on the experience of a different, relatively affluent, community. It would be misleading to ignore the fact that the Jewish community of greater New Orleans was relatively privileged in terms of status, education, wealth, and other financial resources like insurance. In a recent article in the Jerusalem Report, Jayne Guberman, project director of Katrina's Jewish Voices, said, “Privileged individuals and families, too, had to cope with loss, displacement and at least temporary homelessness. These interviews show that even privileged lives are fragile, and they point to the impact of the loss of our most essential connections.”

The Jewish community's finest moment

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, and the organized American Jewish community rallied.  The National Disaster Committee of the United Jewish Communities quickly raised and distributed $28 million in aid for Jewish and non-Jewish communities, about $16 million of which went to the local Jewish institutions serving the greater New Orleans area. 

Commemorating Women's Equality Day and Sen. Kennedy

Though we're going to be posting about Katrina for the rest of the week, I couldn't let today go by without acknowledging that it is Women's Equality Day!

Katrina's Jewish Voices - four years later

Saturday August 29, 2009, marks the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and it is time to take stock.  The Jerusalem Report’s August issue does just that, featuring Arieh O’Sullivan’s article “Rebuilding Jewish Life in the Big Easy,” and Eetta Prince-Gibson’s article “Katrina’s Jewish Story,” in which she discusses Katrina’s Jewish Voices, a project of the Jewish Women's Archive in collaboration with the Center for History and New Media. To view the Jerusalem Report articles, click here.

 

'Mazel Tov, Mis Amigos', Orthodox cops, and confusing the goyim - Link Roundup Aug 25, 2009

Everyday I encounter a number of interesting websites, articles, and blog posts that are definitely worth mentioning. I hope you find these as interesting as I do!

  • Six women, ages 79-100, became Bat Mitzvah in Charlotte, NC. Mazel Tov! [WCNC]
  • In preparation for the High Holidays, Women's Lens gives you 'The Bluffer's Guide to Going to Shul.' [Women's Lens]
  • "Mazel Tov, Mis Amigos" performed at the Out of Doors festival [The Forward]
  • Russian language website for Jewish women launched [JTA]
  • Memories of Molly Picon [The Forward]

Where are the 'kick-ass' Jewish women?

Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds has got the Jewish blogosphere buzzing about revenge fantasies and what it means to see Jews 'kicking ass and takin' names' on the big screen. 

Jewish women and the fight against sex trafficking

The New York Times Magazine is tackling sex trafficking and other despicable abuses against women in their "Saving the World's Women" issue.  Lately I have observed a steadily rising cultural awareness of sex trafficking, and thank goodness.  Sex trafficking is an uncomfortable issue, and historically, many have chosen to ignore it rather than face the unpleasantness of dealing with it. But it seems that things are changing, and thanks to the efforts of high-profile people like Hillary Clinton, Americans are gearing up to tackle this global issue. I think the Jewish community needs to join this campaign. Think sex trafficking isn't a Jewish issue? Think again. 

Eve's Bible, Jews at the Fringe, and the politics of frizzy hair! Link Roundup - Aug 19, 2009

Everyday I encounter a number of interesting websites, articles, and blog posts that are definitely worth mentioning. I hope you find these as interesting as I do!

Women in the military and the right to get hurt

World War II brought changes for women on many fronts, including the enlistment of women in the Armed Forces. The establishment of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in May of 1942 was a transformational moment in women's history. Twelve of the original graduating class were Jewish. In the years since then, the number and the importance of women in the military have steadily increased, resulting in a series of "firsts" and accomplishments. The coming of the all-volunteer army in 1973 had a huge impact, and according to the New York Times, women have passed a new milestone in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as they prove themselves not only capable, but indispensible, in combat.

Remembering Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Isabelle Charlotte Weinstein Goldenson

Last week, hundreds of people attended the wake of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who was instrumental in founding the Special Olympics.  Shriver, who passed away August 11, 2009, leaves behind a legacy of activism for the rights and dignity of the mentally disabled. 

In reading the coverage of Shriver's passing, I couldn't help but notice the parallels between her story and the story of Isabelle Charlotte Weinstein Goldenson, a disability rights activist and co-founder of United Cerebral Palsy, who passed away in 2005. 

 

Just Another Manic Monday Link Roundup - Aug 17, 2009

Everyday I encounter a number of interesting websites, articles, and blog posts that are definitely worth mentioning. I hope you find these as interesting as I do!

  • Audio interview with Joy Ladin, a poet and a professor of English at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women, about her decision to transition genders, her relationship to God, and the reaction from her Orthodox students. [Tablet]
  • Sharsheret, an organization offering free support services to young Jewish women living with (or at high risk for) breast cancer, will be expanding to provide for women with ovarian cancer and those predisposed to the disease. [The Sisterhood]
  • Too Many Non-Profits?  Bob Goldfarb explains why the multitude is a good thing. [eJP]
  • The New York Times featured Loretta Weinberg, the "feisty Jewish grandmother" running for Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey we mentioned earlier. [The New York Times]

Hillary Clinton takes a stand - Link Roundup Aug 14, 2009

Everyday I encounter a number of interesting websites, articles, and blog posts that are definitely worth mentioning. I hope you find these as interesting as I do!

  • Don't kiss the mezuzah!  You could be spreading swine flu! [JTA
  • Orthodox women choosing natural childbirth [The Sisterhood]
  • 'Family Guy' creator Seth MacFarlane outs Stewie (the baby) as gay, and announces that this season Lois (the mother) will discover she is actually Jewish. [NYDailyNews] Will this be received better than the controversial "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" episode Fox refused to air in 2000?

Getting loud about Nancy Brinker

Jews are generally not a quiet people -- at least not in America in this day and age. We like to speak up, to speak out, to express our opinionated selves fairly loudly. So when the White House announced this year's recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, it's not surprising that there was a vocal "Jewish response."

A Question Answered

Last week I wrote about the death of a mysterisous 92 year-old homeless Holocaust surivor who left $100,000 to Hebrew University.  I was incredibly troubled by the story, about how little was known about this woman, and about her story being lost forever. Today, we learned her story. 

'The American Jewess' on Twitter!

The American Jewess, published between 1895 and 1899, was a magazine for the contemporary Jewish American woman.  (It also gave us the idea for 'Jewesses With Attitude.')  The magazine covered a range of topics, including Zionism, health and fashion, marriage, travel, and the propriety of women riding bicycles. 

From breastfeeding dolls to 'matzah boobs' - Link Roundup Aug 11, 2009

A roundup of links you really wont want to miss.  (Baby Glutton?  Seriously?)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 16 years as Supreme Court Justice!

Sixteen years ago today, Ruth Bader Ginsburg took her seat as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. 

Joan Rivers - the spitfire of her own roast!

Last night comedians including Carl Reiner, Gilbert Gottfried, Greg Giraldo, Jeffrey Ross, and Mario Cantone roasted Joan Rivers on Comedy Central. As she predicted in the clip below, it was a circus of pot-shots about her age, her plastic surgery, and her vagina.

Hate crimes, Promise Keepers, and more - Link Roundup Aug 7, 2009

I've got a whole slew of links for you folks today.  Enjoy!

An upsetting question mark

Today the Jerusalem Post reported that a homeless Holocaust survivor living in Manhattan passed away at the age of 92.  She left $100,000 to Hebrew University, and $100,000 to the man who gave her a room in exchange for parking his car all over the city.  She did not have any connections to Hebrew University, and according to the report, nothing else is known about her. Will we ever learn her name?

Justices Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and what it means to be "the only" woman

Sonia Sotomayor has just been confirmed as the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice! Wow. Just, wow.

Tu B'Av Love Link Roundup - August 5, 2009

In honor of Tu B'Av, here is a love and sexuality themed link roundup!

Embracing Tu B'Av - a joyful new holiday with some important lessons

Last night marked the beginning of Tu B’Av, a cool Jewish holiday that I just found out about!  The more I read and discover about Tu B’Av and its possible feminist undertones, the more excited I get.  It seems the Jewish community has, in recent years, began a movement to turn the 15th of Av into a modern Jewish holiday – the Jewish Valentine’s Day. Creating a holiday that celebrates love and sexuality from a progressive, feminist, and Jewish prospective?  Now that is a movement I can get behind!

Remembering Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney

Forty-five years ago today, the bodies of civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, Michael (Mickey) Schwerner, and James Chaney were discovered, buried in an earthen dam in Mississippi. They had disappeared six weeks earlier in Neshoba County, Mississippi, while participating in Freedom Summer, a project of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

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