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Jewesses with Attitude

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Interview with Danya Ruttenberg

Last week I interviewed one of my new favorite Jewesses with attitude - Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg. I recently (finally!) finished her new book, Surprised by God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion.

World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day and, having spent this past summer in Uganda where I volunteered with an indigenous HIV/AIDS advocacy organization, AIDS awareness has particular resonance for me this year.

Listen to Ruth Messinger!

As our country's most politically charged month draws to a close, we're wrapping up November with a podcast of a (former) political leader who never ceases to inspire: the incomparable Ruth Messinger. A former New York City politician and now president of American Jewish World Service, Messinger, featured in JWA's online exhibit Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution, has much to say about social justice and the challenges of being a woman in politics.

Topics: Feminism

More on Jews, Jewesses, and Thanksgiving

Apropos of Ellen's comment about "what makes Thanksgiving so meaningful for some American Jews" in her prior post, I thought I'd share an excerpt from an article published in The American Jewess in November 1896.

“Do Jews celebrate Thanksgiving?”

"Do Jews celebrate Thanksgiving?" a friend's Catholic grandmother asked her the other day. "Of course, they do," she replied, rolling her eyes. Indeed, in many American Jewish families, Thanksgiving is observed with nearly as much sacredness as (in some cases, even more than) the High Holidays.

Topics: World War II

Emma Lazarus's Audacity of Hope

While many Americans are still relishing in a renewed surge of hope (myself among them), I thought I'd give a shout-out to Emma Lazarus. Her memory became forever associated with her powerful vision of America as a symbol of hope and possibility for the down-trodden. Today marks the 121st anniversary of Emma's untimely death, at the age of 38.

Topics: Poetry

Radical Dancing Annas!

Seventy-one years ago today, Broadway got a little bit feistier when 27-year-old choreographer and dancer Anna Sokolow made her debut with several politically and socially charged compositions.

Anna Schön, a 23-year-old graduate of Barnard College, is a present-day radical dancer of another kind. 

Film Review: Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn

If I ever had any doubt about whether "the ordinary" mattered, Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn drove such doubt away. Based on a true story, and adapted from the play by Ellen Cassedy, Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn is a life portrait of Jessie Singer Sylvester, a retired elderly Jewish woman living on a pension in 1976 who is confronting the changes in her life and in her beloved Brooklyn neighborhood.

Topics: Film, Writing

Remembering Jewish Women in the Service

Today, in honor of Veteran's Day, Jewesses with Attitude is starting a new series highlighting materials we have collected in our Jewish American Women & World War II online collecting project.This is the first in a multi-post series looking at the lives of Jewish women during the era of rations, Rosie the Riveter and the Roosevelts.

Jewish mother blogging

A quick shout out to JWA heroine Joyce Antler -- scholar extraordinaire, chair of our Academic Advisory Council, founding board member, and last but certainly not least, mother to our resident comedian, Lauren. Joyce recently wrote a blog series at Jewcy, in which she elegantly spans the worlds of politics, pop culture, feminism, and humor. Check it out, and share your own Jewish mother funny stories with us in her honor.

Topics: Non-Fiction

Election day kavanah (intention)

I promise I'm not turning this blog into all Bella Abzug, all the time, but I think this election day deserves a kick-ass quote to set the tone. Bella described her occupation as "figuring out how to beat the machine and knock the crap out of the political power structure." She wasn't one to mince words. I love that about her.

It's Any Jewish Woman's Race

In addition to tracking the obvious race in tomorrow’s election, here at the Jewish Women’s Archive, we’ll also be keeping our eyes on two congressional races in which Jewish women are vying for seats in the House of Representatives.

 

Women Strike for Peace, and more

Given the contemporary scene, I've been thinking about war and peace, about protest and politics, about what motivates people to get involved and what makes them feel they can make a difference.

Election Activism with RI’s Margie Klein

We're really coming down the home stretch of the 2008 election campaign ... I can't believe that election day is less than one week away!  As many of us gear up to get to the polls (or send in our absentee ballots), Margie Klein -- activist, community organizer, and co-leader of the Righteous Indignation project -- is mobilizing young Jews across the U.S. to ensure that voter turnout is a record high.

Feminism and schlemiels

Judith Warner's New York Times op-ed piece caught my eye with its opening quote from Bella Abzug, one of my heroes: "Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein get appointed as an assistant professor. It is for a woman schlemiel to get as quickly promoted as a male schlemiel." Warner's piece was, as you might guess, about Sarah Palin. (I won't say more about her for fear of threatening our 501(c)3 status.)

Topics: Feminism

Breast Cancer Awareness: Overseas, At Home, and in Jewish Communities

I recently returned from Uganda where I spent three months volunteering with a health rights organization. Next door to the NGO at which volunteered is the UgandaWomen's Cancer Support Organization (UWOCASO) run by a small, courageousgroup of breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer survivors.

Topics: Medicine

Emma G. on SNL!

Did anyone else catch the mention of Emma Goldman in last week's SNL Thursday Weekend Update? If you missed it, you can see it here (around 15:30-16:03). I love that Emma made it to prime time!

Which "Jewesses with Attitude" would you support for President?

With the final presidential debate behind us, and the election fast approaching, many of us have begun to imagine how the world will change come November 5th. If you’re feeling too bombarded with Obama/McCain/Palin-saturated news feeds, we invite you to consider a different possibility: a Jewish woman as your president and vice-president.

In the Family

Last night I watched Joanna Rudnick's intimate and informative documentary, "In the Family," about the BRCA genetic mutations that cause a predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer. Using her own story as the framework for the film - she learned that she is a BRCA mutation carrier at age 27 - Rudnick speaks with cancer survivors, doctors, genetic counselors, other "previvors" like herself, and family members about what it's like to know that your body is, as she puts it, a "time bomb."

Topics: Film, Medicine

Rosh Hashanah and Hurricane Katrina: Reflections from Bluma Rivkin of New Orleans

To mark the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the coming High Holidays, we have chosen a story told by New Orleans resident Bluma Rivkin. One of 90 oral histories collected by the Jewish Women's Archive for the Katrina's Jewish Voices project, the interview was conducted by historian Rosalind Hinton on October 12, 2006. This will be the first of a series of monthly podcasts, so check back regularly!

Love Your Body Day and the Jewish Holidays

Back to school means a few things to this Jewess: buying new white shirts (they never last more than a season) and preparing for the High Holidays. This fall, there may be a few other things on our collective plates, it being an election season and all, but I want to propose that we spend the next few weeks preparing not only for Rosh HaShana (September 29 - October 1) and Yom Kippur (October 9), but also for Love Your Body Day, an annual event (now in its 10th year) sponsored by NOW, which falls on October 15 (also Sukkot, this year).

Pink, Green, Blue: What Color is YOUR Torah?

By Melissa B. Simon

As a young woman growing up in the Jewish community, I often sought out a woman's voice in the biblical text. I wanted to hear more from our matriarchs and yearned to know the real story behind Dina, Miriam, and Tamar. Too often I felt like I was confronted by Jewish publications that seemed dominated by the male perspective and left me hungry for something different.

Beauty and Power

You may have noticed a former beauty queen in the news lately, but I'm not going to write about her. Instead, I'd like to focus on Bess Myerson, the first and only Jewish Miss American, who won her title on September 8, 1945, just four months after V-E Day. Ms. Myerson's victory was seen as a symbol of America's post-war rejection of Europe's anti-Semitic horrors.

Jewish Women Advocates

Crossposted on JVoices

A few years ago, I read Devil in the White City, Erik Larson's non-fiction account of the history of the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, complete with architecture, politics, and a murder mystery.  Good stuff.  But I didn't realize that the Chicago World's Fair was also the site, 115 years ago this week, of the first Jewish Women's Congress, which was part of the Fair's World Parliament of Religions.

Happy Women's Equality Day!

It's been 88 years since the 19th amendment gave American women the right to vote -- a right I hope we'll all take very seriously this year. I'd like to add to Lily's reflections on this anniversary the story of one Jewish woman who worked for the suffrage campaign in her homestate, Montana, in the 1910s.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on November 28, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog>.

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