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Our Noses, Ourselves

Anyone who was charmed by Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing and Ferris Bueller's Day Off could not help but mourn the loss of Jennifer's face after her nose job, (and other facial re-constructions).  What Grey thought to be "enhancements" only resulted in dried up acting gigs and disenchanted fans. 

Topics: Film

"25 Questions for a Jewish Mother"

On Saturday night, I saw Judy Gold's one-woman show 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother.

The title of her show was inspired by her quest, in partnership with playwright Kate Moira Ryan, to interview more than 50 Jewish mothers around the country, of different ages and Jewish backgrounds.

Topics: Mothers, Comedy

From Flanken to Fortune Cookies: Jews and Chinese Food on Christmas

On my seven hour drive back to Boston on Christmas Day, I was listening to a piece on "Talk of the Nation" about the long-standing tradition of Jews eating Chinese food on Christmas. 

Topics: Food Writing

More on the boys

There has been a recent flurry of attention to the issue of boys’ (and men’s) flagging participation in Jewish life, particularly in the synagogue -- some going so far as to call this a crisis.

"Hava Nagila"... for a Teeny Bopper Christmas?

Who knew that "Hava Nagila" could be "sexy" ... or "racy"...?  Lauren Rose (formerly Lauren Goldberg), a Jewess from the UK, has given this familiar (and perhaps tiresome) traditional Hebrew folk song a somewhat dirty, teeny-bopper twist. 

JWI's "Women to Watch" ~ Who's There, Who's Not

Last week, Jewish Women International hosted their 2007 "Women to Watch" awards, described as "a celebration of extraordinary Jewish women and their impact on art, culture, and community; business, politics, and media; family, science, and spirituality." 

Your Babka's Babka

Our favorite Jewish cookbook extraordinaire, Joan Nathan, has invited an old friend to the Hanukkah table. In an article in today's NY Times, she shares with us the colorful -- and flavorful -- memories of babka in its original and contemporary varieties.

Topics: Food, Hanukkah

From Tekhines to Tap Dance

Ever seen women with headscarves doing Vaudeville? Last week's Forward featured an article about Atara, an association of Torah observant artists whose new mission is to bring Orthodox female artists and performers together to nurture their creative expression -- be it through theatre, music, art, spoken word, etc. -- within a halachic framework. 

Free To Be You And Me

Free to be...

Today I'm celebrating the 35th birthday of one of my favorite childhood albums, "Free to Be You and Me." I've always loved this collection of songs and stories that envision a non-sexist world. As a young adult, I was proud to learn that Jewish feminist Letty Cottin Pogrebin was the editorial consultant for the album, book, and tv special (and the author of "Stories for Free Children" which I also loved). Lately I've had the happy opportunity to appreciate "Free to Be You and Me" a second time around, now as a mom. It's fun to hear the voices of Marlo Thomas, Diana Ross, Harry Belafonte, Alan Alda, and Mel Brooks - it's like visiting with old friends.

"Jewish homegirl style"

In yesterday's Style section of the New York Times, there was a very short article with a mention of Sarah Silverman's "sedulously cultivated Jewish homegirl style."  Now, I don't usually read the Style section, nor do I have a vested interest in Sarah Silverman, but this chic-sounding phrase - without a qualifying description -- had me a bit perplexed.  So I needed to inquire: what exactly is a Jewish homegirl style?  And how does one "sedulously cultivate" it? 

Making Trouble in Boston

Yesterday I finally got to see Making Trouble, the film produced by the Jewish Women's Archive, on the big screen. After sold-out shows at film festivals around the country (plus Jerusalem!), Making Trouble made its Boston premiere as part of the Boston Jewish Film Festival. Though I've seen the film several times, and in various versions, it was exciting to see it in a theater, with a big audience.

Topics: Comedy, Film

What's in a Name?

An article in last week’s New York Times Magazine about unisex or “gender-fluid” names caught my interest. I’ve always liked names (and playing with their spellings), and I happen to have one of those gender-fluid names myself.

Topics: Children

Strangeness and Home, Rock and Water

On Tuesday evening, I attended a reading (co-sponsored by the Jewish Women’s Archive) by scholar/writer/activist Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz from her new book The Colors of Jews: Racial Politics and Radical Diasporism. There’s a lot in this book—too much to discuss in one blog entry. In sum, it examines historical and contemporary views on Jews and whiteness and the complexities of African/Jewish relations.

Feminism in the blogosphere

Last week, Newsweek ran an article titled From Barricades to Blogs, asking about the state of feminism in the 21st century. The article treads familiar (to my mind, tired) ground, questioning whether young women are taking up the torch of feminism, or whether they (we) are letting the flame die.

“Affiliated” and “Engaged”

I just returned from the Jewish Outreach Institute’s annual conference called Opening the Tent: Visions and Practices for a More Inclusive Jewish Community. It was an interesting conference that explored practices for welcoming interfaith families, non-Jewish partners of Jews, Jews-by-Choice, and, generally speaking, all whom are “unaffiliated”—including Jews perceived to be “on the margins” (i.e. Jews of Color and GLBT-identified Jews)—into the established community.

Gertrude Elion: In a Class of Her Own

The 2007 Nobel Prize laureates in Physics were announced this week—Albert Fert from France and Peter Gruenberg from Germany, both credited for the first successful applications of “nanotechnology” to radically reduce the size while radically increasing the storage of computer hard-drives. With their impressive credentials, Fert and Gruenberg seem to fit the mold for this award in a profession in which male + Ph.D is a likely pairing. But following the announcement, I was pleasantly reminded of chemist Gertrude Elion, a 1988 Nobel Prize recipient, who most certainly did not fit this mold, and who didn’t think much of it: “Women in chemistry and physics? There’s nothing strange about that.”

Memories, Meals, and “Aromas of Aleppo”

With the exception of Yom Kippur, the past few weeks, for many of us in the Jewish community, have been bountifully full of food. I’ve been happily partaking in pumpkin bread/pumpkin muffin production (baking three loaves, and two tins of twelve muffins over the course of two days) and enjoying my friends’ seasonal culinary creations on a chilly evening in their sukkah.

“Treyfing” Sukkot?

Sukkot is my favorite Jewish holiday. I like a good harvest bounty; I like that I can share meals with friends not in my kitchen; I like that I can eat while meditating on stars peeking through a canopy of colorful paper chains, laquered gourds, and chili pepper lights (which always adorned my family’s sukkah). In preparation for Sukkot (just a few hours away!), I've been thinking about other, more provocative, sukkah decor that might be inside the sukkot in which I eat.

Topics: Activism, Sukkot

A Genesis of Genius: Joan Snyder

It’s a thrill for me to see artist Joan Snyder listed among this year’s recipients of MacArthur fellowships, the “genius grants” that honor and advance the work of exceptionally creative thinkers and doers. Joan Snyder greets me each morning as I begin work. A copy of her print, “Our Foremothers,” occupies the wall opposite my desk. A collage of names of all the women in the Bible as well as women in her own family, the print is a visual metaphor for our work at the Jewish Women’s Archive.

Topics: Feminism, Art, Bible

From self-help to no help

I’ve never met Lorraine Rothman, a women’s health activist and inventor of the Del’Em menstrual extraction kit. But I came to know her work through my dissertation research, and so I was deeply saddened to hear that she is dying.

Topics: Medicine

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

With the flowering of autumn Jewish holidays consuming our attention, it’s unlikely that many of us have tuned into September as  National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. I wasn’t aware of it either until I listened to NPR yesterday for the first time in several days. Ovarian cancer—often called the “silent killer”—seems to garner less attention than breast cancer whose awareness month is assigned to October, awash with pink ribbons, walks, fundraisers, and other benefits.

Topics: Medicine

Midrash for a new year

As we prepare to herald the new year and celebrate the creation of the world, I thought I’d call your attention to JWA’s new edition of our educational resource, Go & Learn. This edition focuses on the midrashic figure of Lilith -- the first woman, imagined by the rabbis as a demon -- and Judith Plaskow’s early feminist reclaiming of her as a woman who demanded equality.

Katrina at 2

Two years ago today, Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, causing a massive dislocation of residents of all races and socio-economic levels. It also devastated a Jewish community that had been nearly 250 years in the making.

Sisterhood, Interrupted: a review

Full disclosure: I kind of wish I had written this book. Over the years, as I’ve read basically every history or memoir of the women’s movement, I’ve often thought that I’d like to write a popular account, one that would capture the passion and power of the second wave for the next generation, and also convey the relationship of the third wave to its predecessors.

Grace Paley, z”l

Grace Paley died on Wednesday. She was 84 and had been sick, so it should not have come as a surprise, but when I heard the news I felt a very sharp sense of loss. So I decided I would spend the night with her, reading through my well-worn copy of her Collected Stories, her poems in Begin Again: Collected Poems, and her essays in Just as I ThoughtAnd reading her words made it even harder to believe she’s gone – her stories just radiate life, in all its banality, warmth, irrationality, sadness, and love.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on August 21, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog>.

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20 hr
Today in 1921, novelist Jacqueline Susann was born. http://t.co/KqF2yMm8d6
1 day
@erikadreifus yay!! Thanks, that's so awesome
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RT @erikadreifus: @jwaonline, you'll be happy to see this piece by one of your former Rising Voices fellows! http://t.co/87U4TxqYZJ