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Jewish Women, Amplified

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Which LGBTQ Activist Are You?

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sk Emma

Got a question on life, love, or anarchy? Ask Emma! All submissions are confidential.

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Red Rope Stock Image

Ritual and Obsessions

“This is the part of your brain that holds your obsessive-compulsive disorder,” she said, her tone firm. “We can fray this cord, but we can’t just break it.” ... I imagined a dark red cable, floating somewhere in the space between my ears, demanding my attention every waking moment of the day. In light of Passover approaching, it seemed particularly cruel that I found myself struggling with the concept of freedom.

Mother of All Questions Cover

The Mother of the Mother of All Questions

The Mother of all Questions was published in 2017, and it is comprised mostly of essays written between 2014 and 2016. When Solnit wrote these essays, she didn’t know what would happen at the end of 2016, and how much disillusionment the ensuing eighteen months would bring.

Topics: Non-Fiction
Composite Image of the Book of Miriam by Ellen Frankel

The Five Books of Miriam

At the root of The Five Books of Miriam is our great cultural urge as Jewish people—a desire to question, to be in a constant dialogue with God, with ourselves, and with each other.

Rising Voices Fellows at Winter 2018 Retreat (Intersectionality Talk)

Practicing Allyship

These Rising Voices Fellows are standing up against racism, and for diversity and racial equality. From attending rallies and conferences, to tackling race-related issues in their own communities, these young women are modeling good allyship, and reminding us that we must advocate for others, not just for ourselves.

Votes for Women and March for Our Lives Composite

Stories Don't Stop

March is almost over, and we all know what that means. 

We’re done. Finished. 

We came, we saw, we hashtagged WomensHistoryMonth and now we can retreat to our feminist lairs, cackling and dreaming of government-subsidized maternity leave and free tampons.

Poster for The L Word

Taking an L? Maybe, maybe not.

First aired on Showtime in 2004, The L Word became the first ever TV series that documented the lives of an ensemble of queer women. Modeled after the life of creator, screenwriter, and director, Ilene Chaiken, The L Word includes a groundbreaking set of TV firsts: television’s first deaf lesbian, its first regularly occurring transgender character, and its first interracial lesbian couple. The L Word pushed social boundaries and explored taboo themes such as: bisexuality, gender nonconformity, same-sex parenting, addiction, and rape. Over the almost 14 years since the show was first aired, The L Word has received much praise for its intimate storylines, representative depiction of the lesbian community, smart humor, and affinity for drama. However, because a monolithic gay experience or gay culture does not exist, The L Word didn’t (and perhaps couldn’t) capture the full picture of what it means to be a lesbian.

Topics: Television
Final Plating Photo For Kuku

Vegetarian Kuku for Passover

I offer a nutritious, delicious dinner recipe to stave off the Passover madness. It is easily made parve, so you can have it with your meat or dairy meals. It works great for large or small seder gatherings, and with vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Kuku is an Iranian/Persian egg dish that I would describe as frittata-like.

Topics: Recipes, Passover
Cast of Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name: A Novel Representation of Judaism

There’s something spiritual hidden in the text of André Aciman’s 2007 novel, Call Me By Your Name, and in the experience of reading it for the first time.

Fixer Upper Logo

Does Fixer Upper Need Fixing Up?

HGTV’s Fixer Upper is my guilty pleasure. I could watch the iconic married duo Chip and Joanna “Jo” Gaines renovate houses for hours. They take run-down homes in Waco, Texas, and turn them into something straight off of Pinterest or Etsy. But while the show is certainly entertaining, I take issue with some of the more subliminal messages the show portrays.

Cast of Twilight

A Sparkling Vampire Ruined My Love Life

When I was 11 I fell in love for the first time. He was funny and cute, dorky in the most endearing way, loyal to a fault, a bit of a spaz, very, very fictional, and went by the name of Ron Weasley. Real boys had cooties, so, in fifth grade, most of us preferred the fictional ones. Harry Potter and his best friend Ron Weasley, Troy Bolton from High School Musical (man, was Zac Efron a cutie)... Above all else, we loved Edward Cullen and Jacob Black, the love interests of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight saga. 

Topics: Schools, Film, Fiction
Rachel Brosnahan

The Marvelous Concept of Imperfection

My mother is an avid recommender. She sends me articles and book titles, offers topics to blog about—she even suggested I see Hamilton with my grandma when it first opened on Broadway (before it got super popular). Unfortunately, more often than not I just roll my eyes and ignore these recommendations (as us teenagers often do), and so I have yet to see Hamilton. In the spirit of not making the same mistake twice, I didn’t ignore her when she told me to watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Image of crowd from 2017 Women's March

Humility as an Intersectional Practice

The messiness of the world and the limits of intersectionality as a theory have re-asserted themselves once again in the events surrounding Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory’s embrace of Louis Farrakhan and refusal to publicly condemn his anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ diatribes. I’d like to make a case for an intersectionality rooted in humility. What if, instead of using theory to express what we know, we used it to create space for what we don’t know?

Cast of Runaways

You Go, Gert Yorkes

I’m a simple woman. I don’t need too much encouragement to start a new TV show. So when I heard there was a Hulu original series coming out that features a purple-haired, teenage, Jewish feminist with a pet dinosaur, I decided to watch it. And, I’m so glad I did. 

Toothbrushes

Ask Emma: Gift-giving, Sharing Toothbrushes, and Roommate Woes

Is it okay to expect a S.O. to be willing to share their toothbrush?

Falsettos

L’dor Vador in Falsettoland

I walked into a dark Walter Kerr Theater. I didn’t know much about the show, but I knew Andrew Rannells was in it, which, I’m sure we can all agree, is a good enough reason to see any show. The band warmed up and the lights dimmed. Then, three men and a little boy walked on stage dressed as “Biblical Hebrews” singing, “Four Jews in a Room Bitching.” I’ve never felt more at home. 

Everything is Illuminated Book Cover

Everything Is…Complicated

I love reading Jewish literature. Seeing my culture and experience come to life on the pages of a book can be meaningful and validating; it makes my idiosyncratic religious practices feel normal, and real. The representation and recognition of Judaism in popular culture is crucial, but what do you do when the author gets it wrong? 

Sex and the City Poster

Feminism in Sex and the City: Looking Back and Moving Forward

New York City. Quippy dialogue. Journalism. Fashion and shoes galore.

What’s not to love about Sex and the City?

Gerda Lerner at Sarah Lawrence College

10 Quotes from the Jewish Founder of Women's History Month

Here are some choice quotes on marginality, what progress looks like, and why women’s history matters, from the Jewish woman who started it all!

"The Chosen" Book Cover

One Chosen People, Many Chosen Ways

As a young Jewish woman in contemporary society, I tend to use the word "pluralism" a lot, in a fairly abstract way. I sometimes struggle to explain this concept despite it meaning so much to me, but I have found no example better than Chaim Potok's iconic young adult novel, The Chosen. When I first read The Chosen in tenth grade, it brought on a series of mixed emotions. I was beginning the journey toward understanding my religious and secular identities, and simultaneously saw so much and so little of myself in the protagonists, Reuven and Danny.

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as Grace and Frankie

Grace and Frankie: Bashert

Because romantic relationships are so strongly emphasized and prioritized in our culture, we struggle to value platonic partnerships as equally meaningful. In truth, female friendships like the one between Grace and Frankie are often more complex, more reciprocal, more challenging, and more enduring than romances.

Topics: Television
Zootopia Poster

A Feminist Tail Fur All

As the oldest of three children, I often see movies directed towards a younger age demographic with my family. For my sister’s ninth birthday party, we took her and a couple of friends to see Zootopia. I walked away from the movie feeling excited, and proud of Disney for their newest movie.

Topics: Children, Film
Aaron Sorkin

Sorkin’s Game

It feels like just yesterday I was an innocent fifth grader sitting around your kitchen table, discussing trivial fifth grade matters with your daughter, and taking vigorous mental notes on how to become a successful writer and beloved artist such as yourself. I assumed by 2018 I’d still be working on it, and you’d still be telling important stories the compelling way you do. Your work never ceases to leave me full of hope for humanity, and Molly’s Game is no exception. 

Topics: Television, Film
Rising Voices and Havdallah Candle (Winter 2018)

Rising Voices Fellows Respond to Parkland

In response to the Parkland school shooting on February 14, 2018, JWA’s Rising Voices Fellows decided to put their minds together and do what they do best: write. These are the stories of teenage girls from all over the United States, who have grown up after Columbine, after 9/11, and in the age of gun violence and terrorism.

Composite Image for Ester and Ruzya Interview

Reflecting on Ester and Ruzya

Our March Book Club pick is Masha Gessen’s Ester and Ruzya: How my Grandmothers Survived Hitler’s War and Stalin’s Peace, a family history chronicling Gessen’s grandmothers’ experiences in the 1940s and 1950s. When Marina Adelsky, a Russian immigrant and JWA family member (her daughter-in-law is our development director, Dina Adelsky), read this book, she had one word to describe it: familiar.

Silence Breakers Throughout History Composite (Color)

Historical Silence Breakers

Here are just a few of the Jewish women throughout history who spoke out, breaking long-held silences about social issues and women’s disenfranchisement. Their stories remind us that change happens when women use their voices, loudly and together.

Topics: Feminism, History

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women, Amplified." (Viewed on February 19, 2019) <https://jwa.org/blog>.

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