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Denise Eger Reading Torah

Discovering a Feminine Rabbinic Look

In her video reflecting on how women rabbis have changed the rabbinate for men, Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson highlights the tension that many rabbis have felt between their personal role (partner, parent, friend, someone with hobbies, etc.) with their professional role (visiting the sick, leading services, attending board meetings, etc.).
Topics: Rabbis
Pro-Life Marchers

Why Pro-Life Women Have No Place in the Feminist Movement

Several weeks ago, the New York Times published an op-ed by one Lauren Enriquez, public relations manager at the Human Coalition, an organization whose website refers to legalized abortion as “the worst holocaust in human history” (which: really?). In her article, Enriquez took umbrage with the Women's March organizers' refusal to ally with pro-life feminist groups.

Cast of Orange is the New Black

The Truth Behind Orange Is the New Black

Even though the series successfully portrays many failures of prisons, the show occasionally misrepresents the hardships people face. OITNB may have its viewers talking about feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, and so much more, but the series needs some work when it comes to elevating the voices of less privileged women and portraying the abuse they face.

Topics: Television
Fania Mindell and Joyce Antler, Composite Photo

The Translators and Spies of the Reproductive Rights Movement

This Women’s History Month, the Jewish Women’s Archive is celebrating the thousands of Jewish women who have participated in activism and resistance in the United States. We all know the names of the most famous women who shaped these movements, from Gloria Steinem to Emma Goldman: the women with the megaphones, with the loud voices and stirring speeches, the women whose names made it into the history books. But one person alone can never make a movement.

Pussy Hat New Yorker Cover

Grabbing Back the Pussy: An Interview with Jayna Zweiman on the Pussy Hat Movement

In less than six months, pink pussy hats have taken over America. If you’ve never seen one, you’ve probably been living under a rock since the election (not that I could blame you). These hats—knitted or crocheted from pink yarn, with two iconic points—are a staple of today’s marches and protests, worn by hundreds of thousands of women to protest a president whose blatant misogyny would be laughable if it weren’t so terrifying.

But where did these hats come from? It turns out that they’re the creation of three Los Angeles women: Jayna Zweiman, Krista Suh, and Kat Coyle. The Jewish Women’s Archive talked to Zweiman to get the story.

Topics: Feminism
Disney's Zootopia

Zootopia: An Empowering, Feminist Tail

Zootopia actively addresses the struggles associated with being a woman in a modern, though patriarchal, society. Let’s just say, this isn’t your grandmother’s Disney movie (but maybe she would like it). 

Topics: Feminism, Film
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Jewish-American Witches

Despite my positive feelings about them, I was disappointed that Tina and Queenie didn’t acknowledge their Jewishness, that the movie left this part of their identity ambiguous. Sometimes it’s fun as a Jewish viewer to get winks that fictional characters may be members of the tribe. The hints of Judaism in Fantastic Beasts, like Tina’s middle name being Esther and a glimpse of a challah, made me smile. But since having two Jewish women starring in such a global, mainstream fantasy film would be monumental, I wished that Tina and Queenie had claimed their heritage proudly like I do.

Topics: Film, Judaism, Fiction
Melbourne in the 1920s

Find Me More Like Miss Fisher

This show isn’t something you can find on most American TV, or on TV, period. I normally have to unplug my feminist brain when I settle down to consume media. Otherwise there’s just too much to get angry over: the one-dimensional female characters, the unrealistic beauty standards, the male gaze of it all. But when Netflix gently pushed me towards Miss Fisher last year, I found that I didn’t have to be upset all the time. 

Invitation to Fancy Dress Ball, Purim Association of New York City, 1881

On Purim and Women Teachers of Text

The holiday of Purim, whose observance centers around the public chanting of the Book of Esther, is a yearly opportunity to reflect on women in the Jewish textual tradition, and women’s relationship to this tradition. A woman, after all, has top billing as one of the story’s two heroes, a true rarity within the Bible. With courage and humility, Esther skillfully maneuvers the nuances of her socio-political context to save her people. The story is riveting and her role is prominent.

Topics: Purim
Fearless Girl Statue on Wall Street

Let's Not Forget the Real Fearless Girls

At best, the statue is a bland, banal monument to the kind of white feminism that deifies the needs of upper and middle-class women who harbor corporate ambitions. At worst, it's an advertisement, the kind of commodified feminism that gives the whole movement a bad name and erases its working-class origins.

Topics: Feminism
Labor Demonstration, 1915

A Day Without A Woman Isn't Just For the Privileged

There was a particularly puzzling perspective floating around the Internet leading up to today’s A Day Without a Woman. It showed up as a question on our social media sites; in a widely shared article in the LA Times; and in another widely shared article in Quartz.

Clara Lemlich in a Shirtwaist, circa 1910

Writing a Revolutionary

Authors are often asked about the inspiration behind their books. Usually, that question is a tricky one to answer. But in the case of my historical novel for young adults, Audacity, it’s easy. The life of labor activist Clara Lemlich was all the inspiration I needed.

Topics: Labor, Poetry
The Disney Princesses

The Disney Princess Phenomenon

From an early age, I learned that diversity in mainstream media was seriously lacking. I grew up in an era when mainstream media was mostly dominated by white, heterosexual people. One example of this is the Disney princesses

Pauline Newman and Josephine Goldmark

The Organizers and Researchers of the Labor Movement

This Women’s History Month, the Jewish Women’s Archive is celebrating the thousands of Jewish women who have participated in activism and resistance in the United States. We all know the names of the most famous women who shaped these movements, from Gloria Steinem to Emma Goldman: the women with the megaphones, with the loud voices and stirring speeches, the women whose names made it into the history books. But one person alone can never make a movement.

Topics: Labor
Bella Abzug and Others in a Purim Play, New York City, 1934

Purim Poem: Mishloach Manot

On my neighbor’s doorstep
I left a brown paper bag.
In it, I put two hamentaschen,
a clementine,
some chocolate pretzels,
and a small box of raisins.
To increase peace, love, and
friendship in the world,
obviously.
And then I walked away
feeling lighter,
unburdened,
the weight of endless obligation
lifted
for a moment.

Topics: Purim
"Lady Macbeth Seizing the Daggers"

Women Of Influence: What Macbeth Taught Us About Women In Power

That Scottish Shakespearian tragedy, so shrouded in mystery that it is unlucky even to say its name, gave society new ideas about women that have stayed with us since 1606, when the play debuted in London.  

Topics: Plays, Poetry
Grey's Anatomy Cast

Doctor, Doctor! How Shonda Rhimes Changed My Perception of Medicine

When someone says “doctor,” the first person that pops into my head is Meredith Grey. Yes, she may be a fictional doctor, but she’s the first doctor who inspired me to look into medicine as a possible career choice.   

As We Are: A Jewish Feminist Theatre Project poster

As We Are: A Jewish Feminist Theatre Project

As We Are: A Jewish Feminist Theatre Project critically examines the aspects of Judaism that are tied to patriarchy, limiting representation of women and femme people. Femme is a personal identity descriptor used by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, or gender nonconforming/genderqueer. Femmes reclaim aspects of femininity that they wish to embrace and/or subvert, without compromising the parts of themselves that are strong, brave, loud, and even radical.

Topics: Acting
Rebecca Traister with All the Single Ladies

Video Interview with Rebecca Traister

Single women have been around forever. Unable to find suitable partners, unwilling to marry unsuitable ones, or simply uninterested in the idea of partnering, these women were often considered social cast-offs and economic drains on society. Passed over and unobserved, they have been stereotyped as passive participants who lived on the sidelines of history. New York Times' bestselling author, Rebecca Traister's latest book works to change this flawed narrative.

Topics: Non-Fiction
Sonia Pressman Fuentes and Phyllis Chesler

The Lawyers and Researchers of Second-Wave Feminism

This Women’s History Month, the Jewish Women’s Archive is celebrating the thousands of Jewish women who have participated in activism and resistance in the United States. We all know the names of the most famous women who shaped these movements, from Gloria Steinem to Emma Goldman: the women with the megaphones, with the loud voices and stirring speeches, the women whose names made it into the history books. But one person alone can never make a movement.

Topics: Feminism
Kylie Jenner

King Kylie’s Kloset

There’s nothing wrong with making a lot of money. Honestly, I admire Jenner and her family for building up their empire from scratch, and becoming a modern-day royal family. And, as Kylie is only about two years older than me, I can only dream of what it would be like to be so successful at such a young age. However, I think what shows a lot about a person’s character is how they use their money. 

Kim Kardashian West

We Should All Be Feminists

Although I knew I was a feminist long before I had the words to describe it, I try not to judge women who don't feel the same way. However, I take issue with Kardashian West's declaration because we seem to share similar views on women's rights, yet she shies away from the “feminist” label. 

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Challah Roles, Plated photo

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Challah Rolls

Recently, instead of lying on the floor feeling impending doom, I’ve been trying to do positive things, one of which is baking challah. Here’s a recipe that has cheered me up, and I hope will cheer you, too––or at least give you something to do while you watch the horrible/amazing new CW drama Riverdale and wonder when Betty and Veronica will get together.

Topics: Recipes
Pat Toomey

Senator Toomey, Don’t Be So Gun-shy

Moderate Republican Senator Pat Toomey is one of those silent guys, especially on gun control. Officially, Toomey is “a champion of the Second Amendment” but still believes we “should take common sense steps to protect the American people from gun violence.” That all sounds good to me—I’m not trying to take away anyone’s constitutional rights either, but gun violence is bad and we should work on stopping it. 

Nursing Area Sign

Public Indecency, or Necessity?

Every once in a while the topic of public breastfeeding sparks a heated debate in the media. Whether it’s a nursing mother being asked to leave a public place, or a nurse-in being staged, controversy ensues as many express their varying opinions on the topic. I’m a seventeen-year-old girl who is not a mother (nor would I like to be anytime soon), but the controversy surrounding public breastfeeding completely baffles me.  

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on April 28, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog>.

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Twitter

3 hr
Thank you for writing such a passionate and important book!
3 hr
And we just mentioned the book in a post on the history of abortion access: https://t.co/YatTU2gqN7