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Jewish Women, Amplified

  • Sour Cream Coffee Cake
  • Feminist Hanukkah
  • A Tale of Two Maisels
  • Diving into the Wreck
  • 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.

  • "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.

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Ephron’s book: funny truth or big-time set-back?

Nora Ephron’s new book I Feel Bad about My Neck is causing quite the stir. Here we are at a time when Oprah is claiming that 50 is the new 40, women’s magazines are focusing on the beauty of self-confidence over taut skin, and women past menopause are openly discussing their sexuality. Then, wham!, Ephron comes and claims this is bull****.

Topics: Non-Fiction

Labor Day

It’s Labor Day Weekend, which for some reason in this country is a time to barbeque, shop, and maybe spend one last weekend at the beach. Labor Day has come to mean the end of summer, rather than a day to consider and celebrate the role of workers in building and sustaining this country.

Topics: Labor, Unions, Law

A Filmmaker, a Rabbi, and Iraq

by JL

This week, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences honored the first Iranian Jew with an Emmy. She also happens to a woman—Lila Yomtoob. The Forward profiles Lila today, noting that her award is for working as a sound editor on the HBO documentary "Baghdad ER." The film follows the daily lives of doctors, nurses, soldiers, medics, and chaplains working in the U.S. Army's Baghdad medical facility in Iraq's Green Zone.

Katrina's Jewish Voices

by RP

As I’m sure you all know, today is the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year.

Topics: Memoirs

Happy Women's Equality Day!

Today is the 86th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which granted American women the right to vote. It took women activists 72 years to win the federal right to vote, and it was a hard battle, filled with many setbacks and contentious disagreements about ideology and strategy.

Plan B

by JL

On this weekend twenty six years ago, women paraded down New York's Fifth Avenue to mark the tenth anniversary of Women's Strike for Equality and the sixtieth anniversary of the women's right to vote.

Guilty of Jewish Guilt

I’ve never been to Israel. There, I said it. When I was a bratty teen who turned my back on all things religious, it was a point of pride. A badge that said I was too cool for exploring my encumbering heritage. Now it’s a source of embarrassment.

How could I have worked in the Jewish community for three years and not have set foot in the Holy Land? How could I be a 37-year-old woman proud of my Jewish identity and not have experienced the place Jews call home?

An urban activist

When Jane Jacobs died earlier this year, we heard a lot about her urban activism to save neighborhoods from the destruction of a proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway. (We at JWA, by the way, learned as we researched a memorial piece on Jacobs that, contrary to popular belief, she was not Jewish). Friday’s Forward has a great article about a woman named Lillian Edelstein, whose own urban activism preceded Jacobs’.

Still a ways to go

Tanya is one of my closest friends. We’ve known each other since we were 15, and it’s fair to say that we know each other better than our husbands probably ever will (okay, not in all ways). We have an arsenal of inside jokes, and a language that’s our own.

When Tanya told me last week that she does not consider herself a feminist, I was extremely surprised. Tanya is smart, liberal, independent, and gets totally ticked off when anyone is treated unfairly, especially her woman friends.

Topics: Feminism

Sex Wars

It’s the story of an immigrant struggling to survive economically in the big city, a woman running for president, a crusade against pornography and birth control, a decades-long debate on how to achieve political equality for women.

G.I. Adi

by JL

I am a 23 year old Jewish female, born and raised in the U.S. Until this point in my life, I thought I had a fair amount of responsibility—I went off to college hundreds of miles away from home and moved into an equally far away home of my own after graduating to begin a career. Yet, in contrast to my fellow female Israeli counterparts in their 20s, the responsibility on my shoulders pales in comparison.

Topics: Israel, Military

Gowns for My Daughter

My daughter Risa is turning two next week. When my mother, a Jewish feminist who went to law school at age 40, asked me to accompany her to a toy store to pick a gift, I agreed. She asked me what Risa enjoyed most these days, and I admitted “dress-up.”

Making change, inside or out?

All week I’ve been fascinated by the reports of Catholic women being ordained as priests – 12 women were ordained on a boat outside of Pittsburgh on Monday (these “irregular” ordinations take place on rivers, which are beyond archdiocese jurisdiction), and last week another secretly ordained woman priest “came out” about her ordination and resigned from her position in the Archdiocese of Boston.

Peace in the Middle East and Unicorn Rides

As Israel resumes air strikes against Lebanon, after a brief pause of bombing, most of us are left wondering if peace in the Middle East is as possible as catching a unicorn ride to Narnia. And yet, as Israeli novelist A.B. Yehoshua recently put it, “I can be a pessimist for myself, but I have to be optimistic for [my grandchildren]. I have to keep the spirit.”

Who makes the Jewish future?

We may be known for our long and rich past, but I think it’s fair to say that the Jewish community is obsessed with its future – think about the role of a term like “Jewish continuity” in American Jewish life. And we also like to talk. So it’s not a big surprise that so many conferences and programs – especially now, in the early years of a new millennium – have taken the Jewish future as their subject.

Topics: Feminism, Judaism

Getting Groped . . .and Busted

When I saw the footage of President Bush coming up behind German Chancellor Merkel and squeezing her shoulders, I have to say I was pretty horrified. Was it the most offensive thing I’ve seen Bush do? Not by a long shot. But the notion that he thought this was acceptable behavior was still disturbing. For many of us women, it also brought back a memory of having our space invaded by some jerky guy, being too surprised to do anything, and then regretting we hadn’t.

Seeking peace

For the past two weeks, I’ve been reading the news reports about the escalating violence in Israel and Lebanon with dread and despair. I am struck by how unavoidable the violence seems to be, and yet how unconstructive it is, destroying lives, homes, businesses, and hope, while sowing further seeds of hate.

Topics: Activism, Israel

Where Are the Cool A-List Jews?

That’s what writer David Marchese is looking for, according to the article he wrote last week for Salon.com. He laments the fact that long gone are the hip male Jews of the 60s and 70s like Dustin Hoffman, Bob Dylan, Gene Simmons, Starsky and James Caan (to name just a few). These were Jewish men who came across as tough and multi-layered and complicated in a way that made us love them.

Making Space for Anti-Feminists . . .

What do you think about NEW, Network of Enlightened Women? If you haven’t heard of it, they’re a group of conservative female college students, founded in 1994 by UVA student Karen Agness. They are “dedicated to fostering the education and leadership skills of conservative university women.” What does that mean? It means they think the Vagina Monologues “glorifies” rape; feel that women’s studies “unfairly paints men as evil” and “ignores differences between the sexes,” and have a major problem with modern feminism.

Poetry blogging

I’ve fallen behind on blogging this week because I’ve been immersed in planning for JWA’s first National Summer Institute for Jewish educators, which begins on Sunday.

Topics: Poetry

Sarah Silverman: Straddling Funny and Offensive

When Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic, basically a filmed version of Sarah’s comedy act, came out in theaters last year, I didn’t see it. I knew nothing about her brand of comedy, and was hardly willing to commit to being trapped in a theater for two hours. But a bunch of friends recommended it, so I decided to check it out when it came to video.

Topics: Comedy, Film

Happy Birthday, NOW!

Forty years ago today, the National Organization for Women (NOW), was founded in Betty Friedan’s hotel room in Washington, DC. Friedan and the 26 other founders were frustrated by the unwillingness of the National Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women to take any meaningful action against the well-documented widespread discrimination against women.

Summer Reading

Lately I’ve been re-reading the stories of Grace Paley, and no matter how many times I’ve read them, they’re hard to put down. She’s one of my favorite writers, a woman who weaves stories from what she views around her and captures how the most mundane, brief moments (a walk with a friend, moms watching kids in the park) contain everything we need to know about people and the world.

The Little Engine that Could

Every day, I look at the poster of labor activist Rose Schneiderman in my office, and I draw inspiration from the stories of Jewish women who shook up the American labor movement in the early 20th century. So it was with both sadness and interest that I read the obituary of labor lobbyist Evelyn Dubrow last night.

Topics: Labor, Unions

Really HOT

By now you all know I’ve got a lot of issues with what our world looks like these days. Near the top of my list is popular media’s degrading representation of women and girls, who are objectified and usually valued only for their appearance and sexiness (as defined by men). So all hail the REAL hot 100 – a list compiled by a bevy of kick-ass young feminists to counter Maxim Magazine’s annual “Hot 100” list and to redefine what makes women hot.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women, Amplified." (Viewed on December 14, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog>.

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