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Jewesses with Attitude

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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.

Women Strike for Equality -- Then and Now

Thirty-eight years ago today, thousands of women nation-wide responded to Jewish feminist Betty Friedan's call for a Women's Strike for Equality. In addition to a huge march down New York's 5th Avenue, women around the country demonstrated in support of three main goals: free abortion on demand, free 24-hour community-controlled child care centers, and equal opportunity in jobs and education.

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

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on December 18, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog>.

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