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Jewish Women's Top Ten Memorable Moments in 2016

Actress Rachel Weisz and Deborah Lipstadt, the historian she plays in the 2016 film Denial. Photo © Liam Daniel.

I’ll admit it: 2016 has brought some seriously challenging moments, and I won’t be sad to turn the calendar’s page to a fresh new year. But before we move boldly ahead into 2017, let’s reflect on the standout moments—both highs and lows—for Jewish women this year. In no particular order, here are my top ten memorable moments for Jewish women in 2016:

1.     Rachel Bloom’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend could be its own entry on this list, but I want to call out in particular the JAP Battle song—the first and probably only time the Hebrew camp cheer “sheket bevakasha” has made it onto mainstream TV, and also the first and only time a JAP joke has made me laugh.

2.     Deborah Lipstadt made real the grad school fantasy conversation about who would play us in the Hollywood version of our dissertations, when her book about the libel case brought against her by Holocaust denier David Irving came out on the silver screen. Rachel Weisz portrayed Lipstadt, frizzy red hair, New York accent and all, and subsequently became her new BFF. Historians have never seemed so glamorous.

3.     Having become a prime target of online antisemitism after publishing an article on Melania Trump in GQ magazine, journalist Julia Ioffe called attention to the increasing racist attacks on Jewish reporters.

4.     The Met Breuer exhibited the early work of photographer Diane Arbus as part of its inaugural season, revealing new perspectives on Arbus’s development and featuring many never-before-seen photographs to great acclaim.

5.     Broad City was renewed for a fourth and a fifth season, guaranteeing us more happy years in the hilarious company of the unapologetically Jewy duo of Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer.

6.     You probably don’t know her name, but you would recognize the photograph that immortalized her. Greta Zimmer Friedman died in September, 71 years after a Navy sailor grabbed and kissed her on V-J Day in 1945, and photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captured the moment on film for Life magazine. Friedman, a Holocaust survivor from Austria, did not know George Mendosa, who grabbed her and held her in what she described as a “vice grip.” Though the photograph has long been viewed as romantic, more recent discussions of the iconic image have also sparked important conversation about consent.

7.     After winning the Emmy for best director of a comedy series for her work on Transparent, Jill Soloway ended her speech by calling on us all to “topple the Patriarchy!”

8.     Ruth Gruber, a journalist and human rights advocate, died at age 105, giving us another opportunity to marvel at her long and impressive lifetime of activism.

9.     Natalie Portman spoke beautiful Hebrew in her film adaptation of Amos Oz’s memoir, A Tale of Love and Darkness.

10.     RBG. Just for being her awesome self. May she live to be 120.

And the bonus wild card: Ivanka Trump transcended her previous identity as retail brand to become the most high-profile (some might say powerful) Jewish woman in America. Is she the Queen Esther of the 21st century? We’ll see what 2017 brings …


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How to cite this page

Rosenbaum, Judith. "Jewish Women's Top Ten Memorable Moments in 2016." 28 December 2016. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on March 28, 2023) <https://jwa.org/blog/jewish-women-s-top-ten-memorable-moments-in-2016>.

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