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Jewish Women, Amplified

  • Writing Bravely
  • Recognizing Female Friendship
  • Israeli Cinema, Feminist Style
  • Touch Your Heart
  • Students at the Library circa 1910s

    To Women Writing Bravely

    By coming to know our foremothers, we are actually coming to know ourselves and by taking up the weight of the pen and writing our own story, we are freeing all women, then and now. For women’s stories are the keys to our collective liberation. To all the women writing bravely today, I dedicate this piece.

  • The H-Spot Book Cover

    More than “Galentine's Day”: Recognizing Female Friendships

    Recently, a few of my clergywomen friends dropped by a congregational Shabbat dinner, and we spent the latter half of the evening catching up while people finished their meal. Some members of my community didn’t know how to process the presence of these women at my table, and a few expressed resentment that my attention was divided.

  • Warriors, Witches, Whores by Rachel Harris (cropped)

    Israeli Cinema, Feminist Style

    Harris’s questions are worth the consideration of every committed cinephile and feminist. She asks whether a director’s gender necessarily determines the politics of a film, whether women’s stories are necessarily feminist ones, which women’s stories are represented on-screen, and how some depictions of sexual violence intended to critique rape culture are actually complicit with it.

  • Julie Seltzer

    And It Will Touch Your Heart

    At the museum in that first week, between introductions and protocol and photo shoots, I finally took out my Tikkun, the book used to copy the Torah from, word for word, line for line, eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. I opened up to page two. Here were the first words of my Torah. My Torah – as if these words were mine.

    והוא ימשל בך . And he will rule over you.

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Students at the Library circa 1910s

To Women Writing Bravely

By coming to know our foremothers, we are actually coming to know ourselves and by taking up the weight of the pen and writing our own story, we are freeing all women, then and now. For women’s stories are the keys to our collective liberation. To all the women writing bravely today, I dedicate this piece.

Topics: Poetry
The H-Spot Book Cover

More than “Galentine's Day”: Recognizing Female Friendships

Recently, a few of my clergywomen friends dropped by a congregational Shabbat dinner, and we spent the latter half of the evening catching up while people finished their meal. Some members of my community didn’t know how to process the presence of these women at my table, and a few expressed resentment that my attention was divided.

Warriors, Witches, Whores by Rachel Harris (cropped)

Israeli Cinema, Feminist Style

Harris’s questions are worth the consideration of every committed cinephile and feminist. She asks whether a director’s gender necessarily determines the politics of a film, whether women’s stories are necessarily feminist ones, which women’s stories are represented on-screen, and how some depictions of sexual violence intended to critique rape culture are actually complicit with it.

Topics: Film
Julie Seltzer

And It Will Touch Your Heart

At the museum in that first week, between introductions and protocol and photo shoots, I finally took out my Tikkun, the book used to copy the Torah from, word for word, line for line, eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. I opened up to page two. Here were the first words of my Torah. My Torah – as if these words were mine.

והוא ימשל בך . And he will rule over you.

Jaclyn Friedman

Video Interview with Jaclyn Friedman

Jaclyn Friedman has been researching and radicalizing the way our culture understands sex, pleasure, and women's empowerment since she was an anti-rape activist in college. Now, Friedman is one of the most powerful voices in the conversation on how we can live authentic sexual lives while existing in our country's screwed up sexual culture.

Ruth Franklin Einstein

From the Archives: Saturday Luncheon Club

With the wonders of social media, I have a place to ponder the fate of Jimmy Hoffa and share anecdotes that I find in the archives. In 1921, a group of women with curious minds found a different method to uncover and share stories: The Saturday Luncheon Club (SLC).

Composite Image of Women's Marches (1913 and 2017)

Marching with Sadie

Sadie Loewith would have marched this weekend, joining a million other women around the world as they took to the streets to demand a more equal society. I know this because Sadie did march in 1920, joining the multitudes of other women in the streets of Washington D.C. who were fighting for the ratification of the 19th amendment.

Portrait of Elisa Klapheck by Marlis Glaser

Painting Courage and Painting History

Marlis Glaser, a German artist, grew up in rural Germany, not knowing any Jews or her father’s previous involvement with the Nazi party. Glaser was introduced to a German Jewish woman who had survived the Holocaust. Now, Glaser has shaped her art around Judaism, and recently converted. Her colorful work includes hundreds of portraits of Holocaust survivors, their families, and other Jewish figures throughout history.

Topics: Painting
Unscrewed Close-up title image

Unscrewing Ourselves

Friedman’s book dives into the national narrative of female sexual submissiveness that’s perpetuated by our patriarchal culture. This narrative comes in the form of abstinence-only sex education, widespread toxic masculinity, and a collective reluctance to support women’s sexuality on a social and political level.

Carolina Jews for Justice at HKonJ, February 12, 2017

Organizing Jewishly in North Carolina

When I started college, I didn’t expect to get involved with Jewish organizing. I was Jewish because other people saw me as such—despite my mixed-religious parentage and upbringing, I was always the odd kid out. Never quite Jewish enough to become a bat mitzvah, but enough to be the subject of slurs, wielded by children who had never met Jewish people before.

 

The Sisterhood 50: America's Influential Women Rabbis

Finding My Way Back to Rachel Adler

In fact, for most of my life, I rejected the notion that I was a feminist. I was a self-decribed equalist. I did not want to be associated with anything resembling the bra-burning, Lilith-reading farbrente feminists I had learned about in school.

Topics: Rabbis
Sheryl Sandberg with Option B

Finding Strength From Our Foremothers

Like many Americans, I owe an enormous debt to my ancestors who traveled here in search of a better life. Their courage created my family’s future. And in particular, I feel a special bond to the long line of women, stretching back generations, whose boldness and sacrifices made my life possible. 

 Lesléa Newman Author Photo

The Lovely Lesléa Newman

Are there any boundaries that Lesléa Newman hasn’t broken? In 1989, she made headlines and history with the controversial Heather Has Two Mommies, a book that brought the LGBTQ experience to the children’s section of the bookstore. This month, her latest poetry collection, Lovely, hits bookstores. I talked with Newman about these radical themes, as well as about the accessibility of poetry, fairytales, and, of course, Jewish hair.

Topics: Poetry
Ask Me Another Rubiks Cube

That Time I Apologized for Winning

As it turns out, I’m pretty good at word games, and I like to win. Once I figured the pattern of the game, I was able to answer the questions quickly and correctly. I didn’t even have a problem with the buzzer, as I’d feared. Somehow, I also had the mental bandwidth to realize that my behavior made it apparent that I was completely uncomfortable with winning.

Topics: Feminism
Medical Care at the Fresh Air Camp

From the Archives: Who Will Tell Your Story?

The lyrics caught my attention. It was a quiet day in the archive and a volunteer asked if she could play the Hamilton soundtrack. As a history buff, I’ve been fascinated by the musical since it hit Broadway. But on this day, it was one song in particular that spoke to me: “Who lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.”

Topics: History
Michelle Wolf (2016)

Nice Ladies

I’m not a nice lady. I express my (many) opinions loudly, I’ve perfected the sarcastic comment as an art form, and I’m the proud owner of both a copper IUD and a sweatshirt that reads “I’ve got 99 problems and white heteronormative patriarchy is basically all of them.”

April Baskin at a Black Lives Matter Hanukkah Action

To Ascend Does Not Mean to Not Speak

This Hanukkah, I decided to create a holiday blessing of my own––one that draws from Jewish law and Hasidic folk history, while also incorporating contemporary Judaism's call to affirm the lives of women who have been hidden from history. I hope you will recite these words of blessing, and as you do so, recall valiant Jewish women, whose stories deserve to be heard and seen.

Topics: Hanukkah
Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate and Jam (plated).

Hanukkah Sour Cream Coffee Cake

In honor of a vital, but less well-known, woman taking charge, I’ll be teaching you how to make a dairy dessert. Specifically, a warm and delicious coffee cake to share with your friends and family.

Topics: Recipes, Hanukkah
"Judith Slaying Holofernes" by Artemisia Gentileschi, circa 1614-20 (cropped).

A Feminist Hanukkah

Hanukkah is eight days long—a perfect amount of time to express your feminist values! I’ve compiled a list of Jewish, feminist-themed activities for Hanukkah—one for each day of the holiday. To be clear: these activities should be part of your life for the rest of the year, too! But sometimes it’s easy to fall behind, so without further ado, here is your recommended feminist Jewish agenda for this holiday.

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.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women, Amplified." (Viewed on February 17, 2018) <https://jwa.org/blog>.

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1 day
"I hope that we can one day get to a point where everyone realizes that women do not have to be modest to be respec… https://t.co/2T2rjuCsUd
1 day
Dr. Carolivia Herron is an African American Jewish author, teacher, and publisher living in Washington DC and teach… https://t.co/cHvKWuABkI