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Jewesses with Attitude

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Anita Diamant With the Jewish Wedding Now

An Interview with Anita Diamant

As wedding season kicks into high gear for rabbis everywhere, I’d be lost without The New Jewish Wedding, which has just been revised for the third time.

Buffy Season Six

Buffy Saw the Meninists Coming

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of my favorite shows when I was a teenager. Seven seasons of watching a teenage girl and her nerdy best (and Jewish!) friend alternately fight, and fall in love with, supernatural creatures was catnip for my seventeen-year-old self.

Senator Jeff Klein

Dear Jeff Klein

With the recent election of a president who has a deleterious agenda, I have grown to depend on my representation more and more. Votes against reckless healthcare plans and sweeping immigration legislation are not merely important, but vital. Now more than ever, our district deserves outspoken representatives who vote their conscience, and accurately represent the needs of their constituents. 

Cover of Sarah Silverman's A Speck of Dust

A Speck of Silverman

Sarah Silverman almost died last summer. It’s true! She went to the doctor for a sore throat that turned out to be a life-threatening case of epiglottitis, and she almost died. Thankfully, she survived, and went on to kill…in her newest comedy special that is! (I’ll be here all week folks). In Speck of Dust, Silverman delivers the type of no-holds-barred, crude, hilarious, smart comedy that we’ve all come to expect from her.

Senator Robert Menendez

Bob (the Senator), can he fix it?

Last June, David Friedman, the current U.S. ambassador to Israel, wrote an article for Arutz Sheva, a Zionist newspaper. His article discussed “how dangerous the Jewish left is to the State of Israel” and called liberal Jews “far worse than kapos–Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.” On March 23rd of this year, Mr. Menendez, you were one of only two Democrats who voted for David Friedman as the U.S. ambassador to Israel. 

Henrietta Szold and her Parents, Lake Placid, 1897

Shout out to Feminist Fathers!

I like to think that some men are born feminists, some become feminists, and some have feminism thrust upon them when they become the fathers of daughters. While in an ideal world, men would support women regardless of women's relationship to them, alas, sometimes it takes having a daughter before men realize just how unbalanced, and unequal, the world can be when sexism enters the mix. Some fathers (the best fathers in my opinion) decide to change the world in order to correct this inequality.

Topics: Children
Congressman Jamie Raskin

Gerrymandering Isn't an Issue for Maryland Alone

As a committed Democrat, it might seem counterproductive for me to oppose something that makes this disproportionately Democratic congressional representation possible. However, I see gerrymandering in Maryland as part of a much larger national problem, and I urge you to use your platform as a federal representative to address it. 

Ruth Messinger with her Young Children

Ruth Messinger: Inspiring Generations of Activism

Most of us, if not all of us, want to do the right thing in this life. But the hard truth that many activists and citizens must learn is that doing the right thing looks different to different people. Even people on the same side of the political spectrum who oppose the same politician can have very different ideas about the right kinds of actions to take; the groups to include in those actions; and the lens through which they should view their activism. 

That’s why we need pros to show us the ropes—pros like longtime humanitarian and activist Ruth Messinger. 

Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney

Please, Sir, May We Have Some More?

I have attended city public schools all my life, and know firsthand the various difficulties Philadelphia students have faced over the years, especially those as a result of extensive budget cuts. Even though I’m very fortunate to go to a high-performing and well-funded school, I’m aware that that’s not the case for every school in the city. 

Students Studying in College Library

Balancing Academic Freedom and the Right to Bear Arms

Gun control is an undeniably controversial topic, and while an individual may be entitled to their constitutional right to bear arms, allowing unrestricted carry of weapons does nothing to prevent mass school violence.  

Congressman Lee Zeldin

Through a Jewish Lens: An Argument for Safe, Legal Abortion

My name is Madisen Siegel. I am an 18-year- old, soon-to-be-registered voter in the first district of New York. As one of your constituents, and a young adult who just moved to New York–fresh from the malls and suburbia of northern New Jersey–I am concerned about your stance on healthcare, and I am asking you to re-think your position, especially when it comes to abortion. 

Gal Gadot cropped

Can Wonder Woman Come Fix Our World Now, Please?

At the onset of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, protagonist Diana Prince has spent her millennia-long life on Themyscira, an idyllic Mediterranean colony of Amazonian women where she grows up learning badass warrior skills from wise matriarchs. The plot kicks off when an American pilot crash-lands off the island’s coast. He tells Diana, played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, about a cataclysmic war raging back in the world of men, instigated by the bad guys. Who are the bad guys? she asks. He explains succinctly: the Germans.

Topics: Feminism, Film
Statue of Liberty

The Safe Communities Act: Empathetic Immigration Reform

I’m writing to urge your support of the Safe Communities Act, a bill that would ensure that Massachusetts resources are not used to support discriminatory and needlessly harsh deportation policies against immigrants in our state. 

Bella Abzug at Rally to Impeach Nixon

Justice You Shall Pursue

Jews have a particular responsibility to ensure proper use of presidential power.

Every spring, my family reads from our Haggadah about four children: one who is wise, one who is wicked, one who is apathetic, and one who is silent, because s/he does not know enough to ask.

I’ve been thinking about the four children and their questions recently as the word “unprecedented” is applied to the Trump presidency. I think that’s happening because we, collectively, do not know enough to ask.

Topics: Passover, Law
Rising Voices Fellow Sarah Biskowitz with Grandmother Helene

A Girl Grows Up in Brooklyn

“It was the magic age of growing up in Brooklyn,” my grandmother Helene told me as she recounted her idyllic 1940s and 1950s childhood. “A lot of people came out of Brooklyn, and it was a great place to grow up…Bernie Sanders was in my class...Ruth Bader Ginsburg graduated a year ahead of my brother…” 

"Stone Butch Blues," by Leslie Feinberg

Queer History and Stone Butch Blues

Two years ago to the month, I read Stone Butch Blues for the first time. Leslie Feinberg had made previous appearances in my life, distant traces of hir legacy filtering through references in other books and news of hir death months prior, but it wasn’t until May/June 2015 that I finally sank into Feinberg’s oeuvre and felt the force of hir most famous book.

"Nostalgia" from Anita Steckel's Giant Woman series

These Jewish Women Think You Should Masturbate

May is both Jewish American Heritage Month and National Masturbation Month, which is a great convergence, because Jewish women have played an integral role in advocating for and destigmatizing female masturbation throughout American history. May earned this lesser-known title in 1995 as a way to protest the firing of the first black Surgeon General, Jocelyn Elders. When asked about masturbation at the United Nation World Aids Day in 1994, Dr.

Topics: Feminism
Rising Voices Fellow Hannah Himmelgreen's Aunt Sophie

Lessons from Aunt Sophie

I often find myself thinking about how lucky I am to have spent my childhood surrounded by strong women; my mother, my aunts, and my grandmothers have all taught me that shattering the glass ceiling takes not only the force of a sledgehammer, but also the courage to face what lies beyond. As I, a once incredibly timid child, have grown into a strong Jewish woman, I’ve realized that this idea applies just as much in my religious life as it does in my secular one. 

Pixabay Stock Image: Education

Timeless Sex Education

Wilma Asrael is an 84-year-old Baltimore native. Though it’s now in vogue, she’s has been talking about effective sex education since the sixties. She worked as a sex educator for over twenty-five years, after training as an occupational therapist and receiving her master’s in Education. 

Topics: Teachers
Rising Voices Fellow Isabel Kirsch and her Grandmother

L'Dor Vador: Lessons from my Grandmother

My grandmother, Marguerite, was born in Paris in 1937 to Polish parents, Fania and Adam. Shortly after her birth, the family moved to Jarnac, a tiny village in southwestern France. The family was Jewish, though they were not observant. Regardless, after the fall of the Third Republic in 1940, it became dangerous for them to even speak of their religion. 

The Book of Life Podcast Logo

Feminism, Podcasted: an Interview with The Book of Life's Heidi Rabinowitz

Podcasts are all the rage these days, but Heidi Rabinowitz’s The Book of Life podcast is no flash in the pan: on the contrary, this show about Jewish authors, books, and arts has been going strong for twelve years. Chances are if you’re a podcast fan or a Jewish book fan or both, you’ve heard this show somewhere, maybe even on JWA: a Book of Life episode recently appeared here as tie-in content to our May Book Club pick, Marjorie Ingall’s parenting g

Topics: Writing
The Wedding Plan (2017) Movie Poster

Rama Burshtein’s “The Wedding Plan”

I did not know what to expect from a romantic comedy about a woman intent on getting married in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, but The Wedding Plan by Rama Burshtein is one of the most feminist films I’ve ever seen.

Topics: Comedy, Film
Mechitza

Being a Rabbi, a Parent, and a Jew

As Erev Shabbat approaches, my little family is all getting ready for shul and even the toddler is excited. He’s running around the apartment singing “Shabbat shalom, hey!” and keeps saying how much he wants to go to shul. The moment we walk into the doors of our synagogue he starts running around the lobby. We wrangle him to remind him we are going into shul, not only into the building. He refuses to calm down.

Rising Voices Fellow Madisen Siegel with her Best Friend Lucy

She Has Pink Hair and Just Doesn't Care

Lucy is easy to find. It’s easy to spot her bobbing pink hair in the crowd, though it might have a blue or purple undertone now. Even before she started dying her hair last year, Lucy made herself known. Whether it’s by singing at the top of her lungs – with perfect pitch, by the way – or boldly introducing herself to strangers left and right, Lucy is not like everyone else.

Who Needs Feminism?

Where Have All the Good Men Gone?

Men! Hello there, men! You nice guys, you soft bois, you f**k boys; you manarchists, you tech bros, you entrepreneurs; you politicians, you beta males, you alpha males. Are you listening? I have a question for you:

Where are you?

Topics: Feminism

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