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Jewish Women, Amplified

  • Unscrewing Ourselves
  • Cafeteria Judaism
  • Organizing Jewishly
  • Returning to Rachel Adler
  • 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.

    I really need this book because, dear reader, I sometimes find myself screwed, sexually.

  • San Francisco Pride

    Cafeteria Judaism and Feminine Queer Identity

    Religion isn’t always easy. I often like to pretend it is—buzzwords like “interfaith” and “pluralism” pervade my discussions about faith. But every now and again, I’m reminded that the history of my faith is not easy. Judaism was, in fact, built on questions. How do I find support as a woman from a faith founded on patriarchal texts? How do I reconcile ancient laws with a modern identity of queerness?

  • 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.

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Sabich-Style Summer Salad

I am not that into hot weather but love taking the summer as a time to hike without having to worry about ice, leave the house without having to strategically layer, and wear Tevas.

Summer is a great time to eat a lot of light, cooler meals. Here is a recipe that incorporates roasted vegetables and a tahini-based dressing.

Topics: Recipes
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Combatting Sexual Harassment and Assault in Schools

Esther Warkov, a Jewish enthnomusicologist, describes herself as a latecomer to activism. She is now the Executive Director and Co-Founder ofStop Sexual Assault in Schools, an organization that focuses on sexual harassment and assault in K-12 schools.

Trans Soldier Erez Shachar (media object)

Trans Bodies are Human Bodies

Trump et al seem to believe that there exists a template for a default American. A normal American, if you will. Surprise, surprise: that American is a white, able cis man.

Topics: Law, Military
Body Protest

(Reproductive) Justice, You Shall Pursue

Reproductive health includes the right to have children and to access all amenities necessary to care for those children. It means a right to bodily autonomy no matter one’s sexuality, gender, class, or ethnicity.

Hermione Granger (thumbnail)

Let's Celebrate our Hermiones

There’s so much about Harry Potter that sticks with me and my generation, but I want to talk about the character whose portrayal and trajectory feel all too pertinent in America in 2017: Hermione Granger.

Topics: Fiction
Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor

A Female Doctor: It's About Time

Over the past decade, some fans (as well as former stars of the show) have commented about the fact that while the infinitely curious and adventurous Doctor can regenerate into any body imaginable, somehow the actors that get chosen for the role have been uniformly white and male. Until now.
Ghosting Anxiety Image

Is Your Crush Ghosting You or Do They Just Observe Shabbat?

It’s Saturday evening, and it feels like your crush hasn’t talked to you in days. You’ve texted them five times with no response. Are you being ghosted? Or are they just resting for the Sabbath? We’ve created this helpful checklist to help you find out.

Topics: Comedy, Writing
White Thin Bridesmaids Stock Photo

Size Matters

“We only carry sizes 1, 3 and 5. You could try Sears.”

We’ve all heard the saying, “it’s funny because it’s true,” and that certainly applies to this iconic quote from the movie Mean Girls. Even though the average woman in the US is a size 16, many clothing stores and companies have decided that if you’re not thin, you don’t deserve fashion

Henrietta Szold and Julia Aronson Travel to Palestine aboard the Guiseppe Verdi, 1920

Make America Great Again

I love the past. I have not one but three typewriters. I had a penchant for corsets in high school and now will dress as a flapper any chance I get. I can’t stop reading about the Romanovs, or about 1920s Berlin when life was a cabaret, or about those secretly tawdry Victorians.

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Am I Glad My Mother Didn’t Abort Me?

I have one rule when it comes to writing opinion pieces: Never read the comments...It was harder to ignore the handwritten letter that arrived at my office.

Marianne Lieberman (Thumbnail)

Being Female, Feminist, and Very Political at 90

Marianne Lieberman is a Holocaust survivor and artist credited with incorporating the first NARAL affiliate in Raleigh in 1977 after undergoing her own illegal abortion in 1949.

YA author Kendra Fortmeyer

Smashing the Patriarchy with YA Literature

If you’ve ever been a teenage girl, chances are you know what it’s like to hate your body. This isn’t an accident: when you’re born female in America, you immediately embark on a lifelong lesson on how to police your own body and the bodies of others.

Topics: Fiction
Parade of Suffragists, July 4, 1910

How to Be a Disruptive Patriot

Let’s be honest: the Fourth of July is a fun holiday, what with the hamburgers, the watermelons, the fireworks, and the summer camps, but I’m guessing that many of us are not super enthused about celebrating the land of the free and the home of the brave this year, given the current garbage fire of American politics and the dark truths that said garbage fire has revealed about the priorities and mores of our nation.

JWA UK Logo

The Other JWA

JWA made a startling discovery recently: we have a doppelgänger. Okay, that’s not quite accurate. Perhaps it would be better to say that our URL, jwa.org, has a near-doppelgänger: jwa.org.uk. Who was this mysterious British JWA, we wondered? We soon found out that the British JWA stands for Jewish Women’s Aid. It’s an organization that supports Jewish women affected by domestic violence.

Glow, a Netflix Original Series (2017-)

Wrestling with Women's Relationships in GLOW

The women who stumble into the wrestling show, filled with as much hope, desperation, and monotony as Ruth, do not simply to take over men’s parts, but redefine their own.

HIAS Image

On Being A Social Justice Rabbi

In her interview on the “Choice Between Activism and Learning,” Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld tells the story of being asked, during her rabbinical school interview, how it felt to be giving up an activist’s life to pursue a several-year course of learning.

Topics: Rabbis
Adina Verson and Katrina Lenk in Indecent

Indecent is Here to Stay! (Sort Of)

For the first time, ever, I decided to watch the Tony Awards earlier this month. This is unusual for me; even Rachel Bloom hadn’t convinced me to be interested. I know next to nothing about theater, but having studied Yiddish and been fascinated by how we tell the stories of Jewish immigration to the United States, I had tickets next month to see Indecent, a drama about a Yiddish play that featured Broadway’s first on-stage lesbian kiss in 1923. I was excited to see how this play would fare at the awards show.

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An Interview with Anita Diamant

As wedding season kicks into high gear for rabbis everywhere, I’d be lost without The New Jewish Wedding, which has just been revised for the third time.

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Buffy Saw the Meninists Coming

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of my favorite shows when I was a teenager. Seven seasons of watching a teenage girl and her nerdy best (and Jewish!) friend alternately fight, and fall in love with, supernatural creatures was catnip for my seventeen-year-old self.

Cover of Sarah Silverman's A Speck of Dust

A Speck of Silverman

Sarah Silverman almost died last summer. It’s true! She went to the doctor for a sore throat that turned out to be a life-threatening case of epiglottitis, and she almost died. Thankfully, she survived, and went on to kill…in her newest comedy special that is! (I’ll be here all week folks). In Speck of Dust, Silverman delivers the type of no-holds-barred, crude, hilarious, smart comedy that we’ve all come to expect from her.

Henrietta Szold and her Parents, Lake Placid, 1897

Shout out to Feminist Fathers!

I like to think that some men are born feminists, some become feminists, and some have feminism thrust upon them when they become the fathers of daughters. While in an ideal world, men would support women regardless of women's relationship to them, alas, sometimes it takes having a daughter before men realize just how unbalanced, and unequal, the world can be when sexism enters the mix. Some fathers (the best fathers in my opinion) decide to change the world in order to correct this inequality.

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Ruth Messinger with her Young Children

Ruth Messinger: Inspiring Generations of Activism

Most of us, if not all of us, want to do the right thing in this life. But the hard truth that many activists and citizens must learn is that doing the right thing looks different to different people. Even people on the same side of the political spectrum who oppose the same politician can have very different ideas about the right kinds of actions to take; the groups to include in those actions; and the lens through which they should view their activism. 

That’s why we need pros to show us the ropes—pros like longtime humanitarian and activist Ruth Messinger. 

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Can Wonder Woman Come Fix Our World Now, Please?

At the onset of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, protagonist Diana Prince has spent her millennia-long life on Themyscira, an idyllic Mediterranean colony of Amazonian women where she grows up learning badass warrior skills from wise matriarchs. The plot kicks off when an American pilot crash-lands off the island’s coast. He tells Diana, played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, about a cataclysmic war raging back in the world of men, instigated by the bad guys. Who are the bad guys? she asks. He explains succinctly: the Germans.

Topics: Feminism, Film
Bella Abzug at Rally to Impeach Nixon

Justice You Shall Pursue

Jews have a particular responsibility to ensure proper use of presidential power.

Every spring, my family reads from our Haggadah about four children: one who is wise, one who is wicked, one who is apathetic, and one who is silent, because s/he does not know enough to ask.

I’ve been thinking about the four children and their questions recently as the word “unprecedented” is applied to the Trump presidency. I think that’s happening because we, collectively, do not know enough to ask.

Topics: Passover, Law
"Stone Butch Blues," by Leslie Feinberg

Queer History and Stone Butch Blues

Two years ago to the month, I read Stone Butch Blues for the first time. Leslie Feinberg had made previous appearances in my life, distant traces of hir legacy filtering through references in other books and news of hir death months prior, but it wasn’t until May/June 2015 that I finally sank into Feinberg’s oeuvre and felt the force of hir most famous book.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women, Amplified." (Viewed on January 19, 2018) <https://jwa.org/blog>.

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9 hr
Are you joining the Women’s March in NYC this Saturday, Jan 20? The NCJW, the & B'nai Jeshurun have… https://t.co/8QQ3KAG1Nq
10 hr
Read the story of a woman who's using cold, hard facts--aka genealogy--to challenge views on immigration. https://t.co/CvEWXXThV2