But I don’t want to be silent. After all, it’s not silent women who get stuff done, it’s an explosion of nasty women. So, in thinking about how to move forward and stand my ground, I look to the past. I look to a woman who got stuff done. I look to Anita Pollitzer.
What got my attention wasn’t the writing, though it does connect us. I wasn’t drawn in by the poetry or the Judaism or any of the other traits I share with this woman. No, what caught my eye was the measles. Grace Aguilar: British/Jewish novelist, poet extraordinaire, religious writer, social historian, and liturgist; and I wanted to write about her because of the measles.
For many years, while Christmas celebrators were dressing in their finest ugly holiday apparel, those of us who wanted to celebrate Hanukkah were left out in the cold, sans kitschy knitwear. What was a festive Jew to do while the Christians flaunted their light-up Rudolf sweatshirts and tinsel appliques? How could she attend a party without a dancing rabbi knit into her shirt? Could she light the menorah with no dreidels emblazoned on her sleeves?
Luckily, those days are behind us.
In the late forties and early fifties, a time when many refused to listen to female voices, Polier made her voice heard. She was published in various legal journals and other opinion pieces, and never filtered her views so that others could digest them more easily. She didn’t mince words or walk on eggshells to sound more feminine. Her writing was unadulterated social criticism.
In times of struggle, uncertainty, and fear, we are called to act. In the recent words of Charles Blow in the New York Times, “America needs you … now. Speak up.”
But, for those of us who do not identify as activists—those of us who are speaking up for the first time within the political system, those of us who are realizing that we need to move off of social media into more active engagement—it is easy to become discouraged and overwhelmed.
The Bed Moved, a new short story collection by Rebecca Schiff, features 23 stories with young female narrators. One of these women finds porn on her dead dad’s computer; another––a community college professor–– struggles with difficult, unmotivated students; still another wrestles with the question of whether to break up with a partner during a birthday trip to Boston.
Few women have been both scientists and social justice activists in their lifetimes. Both of these roles are time-consuming and challenging, yet somehow Tikvah Alper succeeded as a distinguished radiobiologist and as a fierce opponent to the apartheid in South Africa. She faced much opposition as a woman, but still managed to have a significant impact in both of these spheres.
“I want a commander in chief who will...ensure that the threat from...terrorists does not wash up on American soil….If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world,” said my governor, Republican Scott Walker, in February 2015.
The night before the election, I was too anxious to sleep, and in an effort to distract myself, I binge-watched the new Amazon series, Good Girls Revolt. Though the events it fictionalizes—when women brought a sex discrimination suit against Newsweek magazine—took place 47 years ago, it felt timely. As we stood on the cusp (I thought) of shattering the presidential glass ceiling, I reveled in watching young women in the waning days of the 1960s come into a sense of their own potential and their right to equal opportunity.
Many American Jews are surprised to discover that donuts—specifically, jelly donuts—are a traditional Hanukkah food. Eating donuts at Hanukkah dates back several centuries in Europe, and is associated with the holiday for the same reason latkes are—foods fried in oil are symbolic of the Hanukkah miracle of a small amount of oil lasting for eight days.
It certainly has been a crazy month, huh? Like many people, I was shocked and disheartened by the election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States. I know, I know. You’re sick of hearing about it and about the depressing and infuriating stories that accompany the president-elect. However, I want to talk about a Jewish lady who I’ve been thinking a lot about this past month, and in whom I’ve found comfort.
Since November 8th I’ve been thinking a lot about politics. Personally it was devastating to see Hillary Clinton lose the Presidential election. It took me a while to digest the news because nearly all the polls had predicted otherwise, and most people assumed it was a sealed deal.
The people who make stories a central focus of their life come in all genders, colors, creeds, and professions. JWA was lucky enough to speak with Paula J. Caplan, who first championed women’s stories as a clinical and research psychologist,and has now turned her attention, as a playwright, to the struggles that returning veterans face. Her newest play, Shades, is at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York until December 17th.
If anyone has an indelible sparkle, it’s women’s rights activist and French politician Simone Veil. Although she’s not a household name in the United States, she’s regarded with unwavering praise and awe in France, her home country.
Clinical descriptions of eating disorders date back centuries, yet it took until the 1970s for the pioneering research of doctor, psychologist, and writer Hilde Bruch to bring the issue to public attention.
When my father died in 2006, I spent six months in a place that felt unbalanced, out of sync, and unsettled. I needed to sit with the feelings I was having and be present with the opportunity that grief had offered me. It's baffling to me that today an entire decade has passed since my father's death. The journey and life lessons that have come from this loss, and other losses since, have forever changed me.
Ask any middle schooler and they will tell you that lunch and recess are treasured time. A few years ago, when I found out my school was taking away half of this precious time, I was furious. My lunch period transformed from 45 minutes of eating and relaxing, into fifteen minutes of rushed eating (which, by the way, is an unhealthily short period of time to eat and digest) and 15 minutes of study hall. I decided to act.
One of this year’s JWA Book Club picks is Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s inspiring new collection of writings, My Own Words. In one chapter, her late husband Marty shares a story about the D.C. Circuit clerks who, in honor of her fiftieth birthday, collected “when-I-think-of-Ruth-Bader-Ginsburg” letters that they compiled into a book of warm recollections.
Friends, let me take you back to a dark time in our nation’s history. The time is late July 2016. After four days of insanity at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the country is settling down to watch the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you are able to enjoy the holiday, but if Thanksgiving is a stressful holiday for you, I hope you are at least able to enjoy some good food. In pursuit of that goal––I present Sweet and Savory Challah Pull-Apart Rolls!
These are so good! They’re great to share with your family, whether you want a sweet or a savory bread roll; and they’re fun, delicious, and a perfectly decadent companion to your Thanksgiving feast, or really any large meal event.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on March 29, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog>.