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Jewish Women, Amplified

  • A Tale of Two Maisels
  • Diving into the Wreck
  • To Rio de Janeiro
  • Free to Be You and Me
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

    A Tale of Two Maisels

    When it comes to the new Amazon original series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, we are an office divided. The newest series from Gilmore Girls showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino has a whole lot to love, especially if you love history, Jewish women, and feminism (which we do!). At the same time, this first season pays little homage to the many funny Jewish women that were making waves in comedy before Midge grabbed the mic.

  • Gloria Steinem and Linda Stein, Suited Up (cropped)

    Diving into the Wreck with Linda Stein

    Imagine my surprise when I encountered the equivalent of an androgynous rubber suit embodied in the sculpture of artist/activist Linda Stein. Unlike Rich’s suit, which is confined to the page, Stein’s art is tangible. In fact, some of these sculptures are wearable.

  • Idra Novey

    From Rural Pennsylvania to Rio de Janeiro

    Women didn’t show up for Saturday morning services in tailored white wool jackets or carrying an angular black handbag with a metal clasp large enough to double as a weapon. The occasion was my older sister’s bat mitzvah. Eleven years old at the time and trapped in a hand-me-down dress with built-in shoulder pads, I was transfixed.

  • "Free To Be You And Me" Album Cover by Marlo Thomas

    45 Years of Free to Be You and Me

    When he was three, my son, Jacob, asked for Baby All Gone for Hanukkah. And I couldn't have been prouder.

    Blame it on “Free to Be You & Me.” Like many of my generation, that album belonged to the soundtrack of my formative years. Teaching about gender equality in an informal and natural way, the songs and vignettes were snappy, clever, and extremely memorable.

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The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

A Tale of Two Maisels

When it comes to the new Amazon original series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, we are an office divided. The newest series from Gilmore Girls showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino has a whole lot to love, especially if you love history, Jewish women, and feminism (which we do!). At the same time, this first season pays little homage to the many funny Jewish women that were making waves in comedy before Midge grabbed the mic.

Gloria Steinem and Linda Stein, Suited Up (cropped)

Diving into the Wreck with Linda Stein

Imagine my surprise when I encountered the equivalent of an androgynous rubber suit embodied in the sculpture of artist/activist Linda Stein. Unlike Rich’s suit, which is confined to the page, Stein’s art is tangible. In fact, some of these sculptures are wearable.

Idra Novey

From Rural Pennsylvania to Rio de Janeiro

Women didn’t show up for Saturday morning services in tailored white wool jackets or carrying an angular black handbag with a metal clasp large enough to double as a weapon. The occasion was my older sister’s bat mitzvah. Eleven years old at the time and trapped in a hand-me-down dress with built-in shoulder pads, I was transfixed.

Topics: Fiction
"Free To Be You And Me" Album Cover by Marlo Thomas

45 Years of Free to Be You and Me

When he was three, my son, Jacob, asked for Baby All Gone for Hanukkah. And I couldn't have been prouder.

Blame it on “Free to Be You & Me.” Like many of my generation, that album belonged to the soundtrack of my formative years. Teaching about gender equality in an informal and natural way, the songs and vignettes were snappy, clever, and extremely memorable.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 3 Promo

Thankful for Crazy

This isn't some prestige drama about anti-heroes doing “Bad Man Things;” it's a rom-com send-up about a "quirky" woman. The fact that Bloom and Mckenna are willing to go there and delve into that "quirky" woman's very real mental health problems makes an important statement about how pervasive mental health problems are for so many people.

Rabbi Berkowitz at a Bat Mitzvah

Rabbinic Work and the Second Shift

Recently, I fielded two calls in one week about the under-representation of women rabbis: one was from an academic journal, the other was from a non-profit organization assembling a delegation of rabbis for a service-learning trip. Both of them needed more women to participate in their programs.

I said no.

Delegates at the First National Conference for Women (1977), by Diana Mara Henry

Photographic Memory: On Being the Official Photographer of the First National Women's Conference

When, in 1977, Abzug and Senator Patsy Mink called for a national women’s conference, I foresaw that being hired to photograph the First National Women’s Conference as official photographer might be the most historic assignment of my lifetime.

Glitter Pad

My Menstruation, Myself

We at JWA decided to have an informal group chat about menstruation, our bodies, and sex. There was chocolate, honesty, and lots of laughter. Although we represent different ages and family backgrounds, we found plenty in common around this very normal (and under-discussed) topic.

Topics: Feminism
Ilana Glazer Cropped

Broad City Helps Us Come Back

Broad City’s “Witches” is everything I need right now, and I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it’s what a lot of us need right now. In this Season 4 episode of Broad City, Ilana visits a sex therapist, Betty, because she can’t cum. I should say this now: get used to the word “cum,” because it’s going to be used a lot in this piece.

Topics: Television
Composite Image of Marge Piercy with He, She and It

An Interview with Marge Piercy

We spoke with Marge Piercy’about her book He, She, and It, dystopia in 2017,what she thinks about artificial intelligence (AI), and how young activists can fight the good fight.

Topics: Fiction
Cropped Rokhl Holzer

Feminists For Halloween

These days, “witch” is no longer just the epithet you hurl at, say, an older female candidate for president; the fed-up feminist sector of our popular culture is proudly claiming it for its own.

Unrest and Rivka Composite Image

A Woman Who Dared, with ME

It was late afternoon, and I could barely get my body out of bed. It wasn't that I lacked the desire to get up or that my limbs couldn't function. I just didn't have the cellular energy to power up my muscles. I couldn't do anything except lie flat. Even that was exhausting. This state of sheer debilitation was not new to me. And it hadn't been going on for days or weeks. It had been a decade.

Rabbi Elana Zaiman and Forever Letter Composite

Writing Forever Letters with Rabbi Elana Zaiman

Elana Zaiman was the first woman rabbi in a family chain of rabbis spanning six generations. Growing up in a traditional Conservative synagogue where women were not allowed to read from the Torah, Rabbi Zaiman’s decision to become a rabbi and forward a new iteration of her family’s legacy made her a pioneer in her family history.

Topics: Rabbis
Abby Shevitz, 2004

Women of Character

It is a truth that should be universally acknowledged: women are amazing, strong, brave, and resilient. I do not know a single woman who has not had to relive moments of sexual harassment and assault this week, whether they shared their story on social media with #MeToo or spoke privately with friends.

Mitali Holding a Femininjas Sign (cropped)

To Men Questioning #MeToo

I want you to see how freaking brave these folks are for coming forward, and I want you to realize that we're doing it *for your sake*, to help *you* see the magnitude of this problem. We are already plenty aware.

Woman Reading Torah

A Dance on the Bimah

I sensed some apprehension in the sanctuary as we settled into our seats for Rosh Hashanah services. The congregation was experiencing a first: a woman was leading the clergy for the first time in congregational history. Joining her on the bimah was our second rabbi, also a woman. I knew there were some in the congregation who wondered what it would be like to begin this new year without male leadership at the top.

Final Stuffed Pepper Photo

Sukkot Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed foods are traditional for Sukkot, and represent a time of plenty. This immediately made me want to tackle a stuffed pepper situation. Stuffed peppers are great because it allows you to basically put together all your favorite vegetables in unusually fancy packaging.

Topics: Recipes, Sukkot
Sukkot Harvest

A Bicultural Jew Gives Thanks on Sukkot

So, my journey from New York to Texas has resulted in my viewing myself as a bicultural Jew: I have had the luxury and privilege of taking Jewishness for granted and I also know the depths of Jewish illiteracy and intolerance that plague parts of the country and some institutions of higher education.

Betsy Devos, Offical Portrait

Betsy Devos and the Stacked Deck

Maybe the Obama-era policies needed improvement. But DeVos’ new policy is built on the lie that men’s and women’s lived experiences and testimony are seen as equal in the eyes of society.

Tova and The Book of Separation

Tova Mirvis’ Journey from Orthodoxy to Memoir

Tova Mirvis is the author of the recently released The Book of Separation, a memoir chronicling her growing doubts about her Orthodox faith and her ultimate decision to leave after forty years in the community.

Rosh Hashanah Marge Piercy

The Birthday of the World

As we say goodbye to 5777 and come together at the start of 5778, Marge Piercy’s poem “The Birthday of the World” has been resonating through the halls of JWA. Like Piercy, we’re asking ourselves: How have we worked to make change this past year? What have we dared? What will we do in the coming year to further justice, to speak out and take a stand?

Plated Spaghetti Squash

Rosh Hashanah Spaghetti Squash

It’s been a tough year, and 5777 perhaps didn’t bring with it all the promise and renewal we thought it would. I hope that, in this new year, we all have opportunities for positive change and growth. May we also have the strength and opportunity to create change in the world at large.

Dimona Twist Movie Poster

A Review of Dimona Twist

Upon arriving at the theater, I realize quickly that I am the youngest person in attendance by decades.This night of the film festival is titled “An Evening of Empowering Sephardi Women,” and I’m here to see Dimona Twist, an Israeli film created by documentarian Michal Aviad. Dimona Twist recounts the history of North African and Eastern European immigrants to Dimona, a development town in Southern Israel, told through individual stories of seven women.

Topics: Israel, Film
Susan Goodman Headshot

Acting Our Age with Susan Goodman

While her life’s work is a testament to her commitment to helping people grow older with dignity, respect, and independence, Susan Goodman’s latest project is remarkable in both its scope and specificity. Currently, in order to be interviewed on Susan’s blog Acting Our Age, you must be a woman 85 or older.

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Maya Jodidio Pipetting DNA into a Gel

To Girls Taking Their First STEM Classes

If you’re a female-identifying teen and you attend high school, chances are good that you take, or will take, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) class. Physics, biology, and chemistry are the usual suspects. We’re writing to share some collective wisdom with you from our own high-school experience.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women, Amplified." (Viewed on December 12, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog>.

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11 hr
Have you ever made your own menorah? We would love to see pictures! Tweet them at us if you have them! https://t.co/Q68GWotmWP
12 hr
Yiddish books? Check! Feminist comics? Check! In other words, we love everything about this. https://t.co/HuXEyllugu