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Sexism

Must sexism and anti-Semitism be "either - or?"

As I embark on my final days of high school, I am working feverishly hard (well, let’s face it – senioritis makes me say I’m going to do so) on my senior project. My project, a collection of interviews with New York Jewish women on the intersection of Judaism and feminism (how appropriate!), is an exploration of how personal identity can be shaped by external forces/movements.

Poland: Early Modern (1500-1795)

With the gender role definition for Jewish women in Poland being subtly and haltingly stretched and broadened as this period progressed, it does seem appropriate to call it the early modern period.

Martha Morton

As a female playwright, Martha Morton faced adversity within the male-dominated New York theater world. Despite repeated rejection, she achieved fame and prosperity. Morton not only got her plays produced, but also directed and cast them herself, completely defying the theater industry’s expectations or vision of women’s involvement.

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook

The basic approach of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook to women corresponds with his hierarchical approach to existence and to humankind (Yaron 1974; Bin Nun 1988): “I cannot make absolute divisions between entities, but only divisions according to rank” (Sarid 1998, 144).

Rahel Hirsch

Physiologist, physician and teacher, Rahel Hirsch was the granddaughter of Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808–1888), the founder and spiritual leader of neo-Orthodoxy and one of the major rabbinical figures of the nineteenth century. Born in Frankfurt am Main on September 15, 1870, one of the eleven children of Dr. Mendel Hirsch, Rahel grew up in a cultured, Jewishly knowledgeable family. Her father, who was the principal of the Jewish community’s Realschule and a leading figure in the strictly Orthodox Jewish community, ensured that she receive good schooling by sending her to a girls’ school in her native city. Since women were not yet admitted to German universities, Rahel went to the teachers’ seminary in Wiesbaden, where she received her teaching certificate in May 1889. For want of any alternative, she taught until 1898, but since she longed to be a physician she went to Zürich, where women had been admitted to medical school since 1840. However, when German universities followed suit, she returned, studying first in Leipzig and later, from November 1900, in Strassburg. Here she passed the state examination in July 1903, wrote her dissertation on the impact of glucose and was immediately licensed as a physician.

Haskalah Literature: Portrayal of Women

To a large extent, the image of women in [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:325]Haskalah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] literature reflects the relationship between the sexes in Ashkenazi Jewish society. Authors, poets and playwrights who wrote in the spirit of the Haskalah movement were affected, in no small measure, by the prevailing attitude toward women in eighteenth and nineteenth-century European culture. But the female characters that they created, whether in Hebrew or Yiddish (the two languages of Haskalah literature), were not simply lifted “as is” from external literary models nor constructed in accordance with some ideological master plan borrowed directly from the European Enlightenment. Most of the extant works from the Haskalah period (it should be recalled that many manuscripts by [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:352]maskilim[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] never saw print) were written by men.

Haskalah Attitudes Toward Women

For the men of intellect who burst upon Ashkenazic Jewish society in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, starting a cultural revolution of [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:325]Haskalah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] (enlightenment), the question of women’s status was the touchstone for the validity and consolidation of their innovative worldview. One of the outstanding proponents of the Haskalah was Judah Leib Gordon (1831–1892), who expressed the ambiguity of [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:352]maskilim[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] toward the “woman question.” Beginning in the 1870s, women Hebrew readers in the Jewish Pale of Settlement in Russia and women students in various cities in Europe considered him one of the few people who showed special sensitivity and empathy with regard to the difficult lives of Jewish women.

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.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Sexism." (Viewed on October 25, 2014) <http://jwa.org/tags/sexism>.

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