Today would have been the 102 birthday of Frida Kahlo, the painter famous for her striking self-portraits and her marriage to Diego Rivera (not to mention her impressive eyebrows). Though she came to be known for her representations of Mexican life and was, in fact, referred to as La Mexicana -- the quintessential Mexican woman -- her work often explored issues of identity and its hybridity, informed by her own experience as the daughter of a German Jewish immigrant father and a Mexican Catholic mother.
The wee hours of June 28, 1969, began with a routine enough event: a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village gay bar owned by the mafia (as nearly all gay bars were at the time, since bars that catered to homosexuals were usually denied a liquor license, and only mob-owned bars could afford to pay off the police so that they could operate without a license). The cops entered with their usual intentions: to check id cards and arrest those found to be cross-dressing.
In honor of Pride month (and a relatively calm and safe Pride Parade in Jerusalem today - yay!), I'm posting our latest podcast: LGBT activist Shulamit Izen describing her experience coming out at a Jewish high school and creating the first ever Gay-Straight Alliance at a Jewish School. I had the privilege of being Shula's teacher at the New Jewish High School during the events she describes, and I learned a lot from her about pride and integrity.
On June 16, 2009, the National Jewish Democratic Council, a political advocacy group based in Washington, DC, is awarding its first "Belle Moskowitz" award to Ann F. Lewis, Hillary Clinton's Communications Director during her recent presidential campaign. As one of Moskowitz's seven grandchildren, but more particularly as a historian who wrote her biography, I was thrilled to find this out.
Great news! Yesterday, Martha Minow, the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard, was appointed dean of Harvard Law School. A long-time friend, supporter, and founding board member of the Jewish Women's Archive, and member of the Law School faculty since 1981, Minow is a distinguished legal scholar with interests ranging from international human rights to equality and inequality; from religion and pluralism to managing mass tort litigation; from family law and education law to the privatization of military, schooling, and other governmental activities. She is also a widely admired teacher who chaired the Law School's curricular reform efforts of recent years and was recognized with the School's Sacks-Freund Award for Teaching Excellence in 2005.
Lately, I've had a lot of trouble praying. There have been times in my life when I was committed to regular prayer, when I loved to put on my tefillin in the morning and feel the marks they had left on my arm as I went about my activities afterwards. I've had moving experiences of communal prayer, feeling buoyed by the voices rising around me, and of individual prayer, when the sight of something in the world has caught my breath and provoked a spontaneous blessing.
A few months ago, at the Keshet Cabaret, I had the honor of meeting Kate Bornstein, writer, performance artist, and major Jewess with Attitude. I used to teach her book, Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us, in my women's studies classes, and it was always a favorite -- powerful, funny, and transformative.
Apropos of Judith's recent post on Sotomayor and other "firsts," here's a celebratory shout-out to Alysa Stanton who became the world's first African-American female rabbi when she was ordained yesterday, June 6th, at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati. What does Stanton make of her status as a first? "If I were the 50,000th, I'd still be doing what I do, trying to live my life with kavanah and kedusha ... Me being first was just the luck of the draw," she explained.
After years in the making, she's finally arrived: The Jewish American Girl Doll. We've been hearing a lot about her over the past week and, on Sunday, she hit the store shelves.
My earlier post on Sotomayor sparked some interesting conversation among my friends on Facebook that I thought worth bringing back to the blog. Most of it -- unsurprisingly, considering my demographic (thirtysomething mothers of young kids) -- was about motherhood.
Tomorrow starts the festival of Shavuot, a time of spiritual liberation that commemorates the ancient Israelites receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. The holiday is also linked to the story of Ruth, a Moabite woman, and her relationship with her Israelite mother-in-law, Naomi. As recounted in the Book of Ruth, traditionally read on Shavuot, after Naomi and her daughters-in-law Ruth and Orpah all become widows, Naomi urges the two younger women to leave her and find new husbands.
Yesterday morning, as I heard the news that Obama would imminently announce Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee for the Supreme Court, my eyes welled with tears. I thought about the Latino and Latina kids who will grow up knowing that they, too, can serve on the highest bench, and also thought about the older people in the Latino community who undoubtedly feel pride and a sense of communal achievement.
Ok, friends, the time has come for you to discover... Which Jewess with Attitude are you? (Aside from yourself, of course). Take our new Facebook quiz and find out! (I promise it will be more entertaining and definitely more edifying than "Which alcoholic beverage are you" or "Which Grey's Anatomy character are you?")
Discover your inner Jewess with Attitude and pass the quiz on to your friends!
Reading about the Washington Jewish Music Festival (which, incidentally, sounds fabulous), I learned about Miri Ben-Ari, aka the Hip Hop Violinist. Classically trained on the violin, at age 18 she decided to explore a different way to use her music. She moved to New York City, added some bling to her instrument, and began collaborating with artists including Kanye West (with whom she earned a Grammy), Alicia Keys, Wyclef Jean, Jay-Z, and others.
Frankly, I'm too burnt out by a day spent with my children to offer much in the way of my own reflections on Mother's Day. So instead I will share the words of Henrietta Szold to fellow Zionist activist Jessie Sampter on August 23, 1917.
Often, what people celebrate on Mother's Day is the unpaid and under-valued labor of women as nurturers. Here at the Jewish Women's Archive, we celebrate this labor every day of the year along with the myriad ways mothers, and women at large, have touched our lives and transformed our world.
This is one of the strangest articles I've read in a long time. Apparently, the New York Times thinks it's breaking news that gender studies (a field that has existed for about 30 years now) is actually relevant to society at large! Turns out it matters, and not just to those crazy feminists!
As April comes to a close and as we kick off Jewish American Heritage Month in May, we're featuring an oral history clip of Rita Arditti as our podcast of the month. With her lilting Spanish-accented English, Arditti's voice is striking, as her journey is unique - perhaps one that many of us don't immediately associate with Jewish American heritage.
Writing a blog post about a feminist theorist as sharp and influential as Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick is an intimidating prospect, which is why it's taken me more than a week to get to this post in memory of Sedgwick, who died on April 12.
Yesterday,the Jewish Women's Archive sent out a Passover e-greeting with the subject line: "Who says there are only four questions?" One of several responses to ourgreeting was from Nina Amir who affirmed that, indeed, there are far more than four questions to explore on Passover.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on May 25, 2015) <http://jwa.org/blog>.