Today is the first Tuesday in November, which means that for those of us freezing our toes off up north, it's finally time to turn on the heat! It also means it is Election Day, and since we're not electing a President this year, we have the luxury to relax and reflect on the trailblazing Jewish women in politics who have made history on this historic day.
The blogosphere and my inbox, have been buzzing with response to former Portfolio editor Joanne Lipman’s rather bizarre piece on modern womanhood in The New York Times, “The Mismeasure of Woman,” which has spent several days floating around on the paper’s most e-mailed list. I’m going to have to echo Jezebel’s Anna N. by saying that I was actually with Lipman throughout much of her critique — until the end when she started listing a rather motley group of prescriptions for the Woman Problem.
- When divorce is a reason to celebrate. [Sisterhood]
- "If you're happy and you know it..." Ellen Goodman refutes the results of the so-called "Happiness Survey." [Boston Globe]
- Cory Kahaney (one of the hosts of Making Trouble) hits the borscht belt with her new play. [TheJewishWeek]
- "New Jews" are doin' it for themselves. The post-baby-boom Jews embrace new approaches to Jewish culture and faith, which include praying in the desert, webcasting bible stories, organizing for non-Jewish causes, Jew-tattoos and punk rock. [CNN]
- With the emergence of women scholars in the Orthodox community, women are starting to talk about sex. [Forward]
Yesterday, Oct. 28, 2009, heralded a historic moment for human rights as President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act into law. This act expands the already existing hate crime protection to include crimes based on one's sexual orientation, gender, disability, or gender identity, and also allows federal authorities to support local investigations, as well as step in when local authorities unable or unwilling to investigate. For the first time in our nation's history, GLBT people and people with disabilities have the legal right to safety from hate violence.
Ann Zinn Buffum came to JWA through “midnight web searches” for family history. She was surprised to discover that Madeleine May Kunin, the first woman Governor of Vermont, was the only Vermonter to be featured on jwa.org. “Surely there were other women in our state, small as it is, who had interesting and accomplished lives,” she writes in To Life!, the book that accompanies the gallery exhibit. With her mission in mind, she enlisted Sandra Stillman Gartner, a writer, actor, and active member of the Rutland Jewish Center community, to create DAVAR: The Jewish Women’s History Project.
Pride, Honor and Courage: Jewish Women Remember World War II, the documentary film produced by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford (JHSGH), premiered Thursday at the Mandell Jewish Community Center.
Okay, so October is host to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Love Your Body Day, Fat Talk Free Week, AND GLBT History Month? This is a seriously busy month!
GLBT History Month chooses 31 GLBT icons to highlight, one for each day of the month. This year, three Jewesses are included in the list!
The Jewish Women's Archive is in the running for a Jewish Choice Award from GreatNonProfits, an online directory of non-profits where users can rate and review their favorite (or least favorite) organizations. Think of it as the "Yelp" of non-profits. The Jewish Choice Award will go to the Jewish organization with the most positive reviews in its category.
- Breast Cancer Awareness Month: "Where you can put your pink ribbons," by Tamar Fox. [MyJewishLearning]
- Marjorie Ingall and Debra Nussbaum Cohen discuss breastfeeding, and the Jewish guilt that comes with failure. [Tablet] [The Sisterhood]
- A "healthy" American appetite for Israeli food is growing. [JTA]
- Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags -- HBO's new documentary about the rise and fall of the garment industry and its role in the American Jewish experience. (Don't forget its significance in labor history and women's history!) [Heeb] [Forward]
October is host to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Love Your Body Day (Oct. 21st), and now Fat Talk Free Week. Beginning Oct. 19th, Fat Talk Free Week challenges us to stop "Fat Talk", defined as "all of the statements made in everyday conversation that reinforce the thin ideal and contribute to women's dissatisfaction with their bodies.
- Jewish Women International releases its "10 Women to Watch in 5770" list. Mazel Tov! [JWI]
On the Arts:
- The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco will host “As It Is Written: Project 304,805,” a public performance in which 34-year-old scribe Julie Seltzer will spend a year calligraphing a Torah scroll in one of the museum’s galleries. [Tablet]
- New York, I Love You opens this Friday, starring Natalie Portman as an ultra-Orthodox woman. Tablet looks over the history of Hasidic characters in film. [Tablet]
- Regina Spektor condemns Holocaust deniers in her song, "Ink Stains." [MyJewishLearning]
This weekend I went to the Central Square Theater to see Cravings: Songs of Hunger and Satisfaction, a cabaret set in a Jewish kitchen that explores themes of hunger, success, acceptance, nourishment, fame, and sex. Cravings, starring cabaret artist Belle Linda Halpern, accompanied by Ron Roy, and directed by Sabrina Hamilton, was originally created to close the Ko Festival's 2008 series, themed on food.
As I entered the theater I was surprised to find myself in a Jewish kitchen. The only thing out of place was the piano. Belle Linda Halpern made charoset, and kibbitzed with us in between songs. She even called on Ron to help peel apples. As a Jewish woman, I found everything in this show relatable. (Except, where did they find such a quiet food processor!?) But what struck me most of all was the connection Halpern draws between the Jewish craving for food and the craving for success and achievement.
"Boobs, boobies, titties, and ta-tas." These are not the words of a giggling 6 year-old, but the words of the nationwide Breast Cancer awareness campaign. They are illustrated by the t-shirt to the right, and a variety of other oh-so-tasteful designs. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and this year, campaigns have ditched the emotional appeals to save the lives of the women in your life in favor of misogynistic slogans like, "Save the titties!" and "Save Second Base!"
As the 2009 Nobel prizes are being handed out, many are fussing over Obama's Peace Prize -- does he deserve it, will this affect his approach with Iran, etc. Important questions, certainly, but don't let them distract you from the real story this year: 2009 is a record year for women Nobel Prize-winners!
Only 40 women have ever won the prestigious Nobel Prize, 5 of whom were awarded the prize this year, one of whom is Israeli Jewess Ada Yonath, winner of the Chemistry Prize.
I logged onto the computer last weekend to see that Anne Frank was a trending topic on Twitter. That was largely thanks to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, which released (as the Bintel Blog reported) a new video, showing the only known footage of Anne, leaning out of a window and watching a married couple. It immediately became a hit on YouTube. Seeing such a timelessly tragic figure from another time on such definitively contemporary context — Web 2.0 — had an odd feeling to it. And then of course, Anne got caught in the middle of a bizarre dust-up between David Mamet and the Disney Studio. (Mamet’s re-imagining of the diary onscreen involved a contemporary girl going to Israel to learn about the trauma of suicide bombings) and she is the subject of a new book by Francine Prose.
Earlier this week, Family Guy aired an episode called "Family Goy" in which Lois (the mother) discovers her Jewish roots. As a self-proclaimed pop culture critic I feel like I should say something about this but honestly, what's to say? It's getting a lot of attention, as you might expect when a show known for offensive humor takes on the Jews. But the reality is that this is nothing new. If anything, it confirms the fact that Jewiness has gone mainstream.
On November 6th, the Museum of Jewish Heritage will open the Keeping History Center, providing an interactive experience for New York visitors that allows them to record and add their own stories to the historical record. This project is near and dear to us at the Jewish Women's Archive, since we have worked since our start 13 years ago to record the untold and unheard stories of American Jewish women -- stories like the one shared in this podcast.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Jewish Women International is posting daily stories of domestic abuse on their blog. These stories are shocking, crushing, and sad. They are also inspiring and thoughtful, with lessons about courage and love.
The following post is cross-posted from the JWI blog. It is taken from "Beating Hearts: Stories of Domestic Violence" an exhibit of photographic constructions with accompanying text by Kate Sartor Hilburn and Terrie Queen Autrey. This particular story is important because it reminds us that domestic abuse reaches far beyond violence. Abuse is about control, and often involves restriction, isolation, or even imprisonment.
I am fascinated, as well as outraged, by the Roman Polanski rape story. As all high profile media stories do, this case has evolved and mutated to touch on a number of really interesting and really important topics, primarily about rape culture and the culture of fame.
Last week celebrated filmmaker Roman Polanski was arrested at a film festival in Switzerland for the 1977 rape of a 13 year-old girl. Polanski admitted to drugging the girl and having intercourse with her, which is rape by any stretch of the imagination, not to mention pedophilia. Take a look at Feministing's roundup for more background information.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on September 26, 2016) <http://jwa.org/blog>.