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Jewish Women, Amplified

  • Painting Courage
  • Unscrewing Ourselves
  • Cafeteria Judaism
  • Organizing Jewishly
  • Portrait of Elisa Klapheck by Marlis Glaser

    Painting Courage and Painting History

    Marlis Glaser, a German artist, grew up in rural Germany, not knowing any Jews or her father’s previous involvement with the Nazi party. Glaser was introduced to a German Jewish woman who had survived the Holocaust. Now, Glaser has shaped her art around Judaism, and recently converted. Her colorful work includes hundreds of portraits of Holocaust survivors, their families, and other Jewish figures throughout history.

  • 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.

  • 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.

     

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"The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food," by Gil Marks, September 2010

Eating Jewish: 'The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food'

As an academic of Jewish food, I’m always on the lookout for new publications on the topic. It is a burgeoning area in which new research is being done all the time and a multitude of books and cookbooks are consistently being published. Despite wanting to buy all these books (especially the cookbooks), it is simply impossible, both financially and due to the fact that I can’t spend every waking hour reading about Jewish food (despite the fact that it would appear that’s what I do to the people close to me).

Topics: Food, Recipes

Super Mamika

French photographer Sacha Goldberger found his 91 year-old grandmother Frederika feeling depressed. To cheer her up, he convinced her to appear in a photoshoot as a superhero. The result is outrageous, brilliant, and bold. 

And the winner is ... no one?

The 2010 winner of the $25,000 Wendy Wasserstein Prize for playwriting is apparently nobody.

Topics: Art, Theater, Plays
Racial Oppression Meme

Owning Our Jewish Privilege

A new meme blog is taking off.  "Privilege Denying Dude" represents the type of person who denies that they have privilege, usually the privilege that comes with being white, male, heterosexual, cisgendered (not transgendered), and American. It identifies the sorts of phrases and ideas that are used to deny this kind of privilege, like the idea that homeless people are lazy.

Heather Booth and Fannie Lou Hamer, 1964

"Living the Legacy" sets the record straight

I was sitting in a meeting about a pilot project on gender in Jewish education a few years ago when a male colleague interrupted to proudly announce the release of his new book, a compilation of essays that he edited about Jewish education in North America. Naturally, I flipped through the hot-off-the-presses volume and searched for women writers. To my surprise, there was not even one. I asked the man why there were no women among the fifteen or so authors.

Living the Legacy: a student perspective

As the word spreads about Living the Legacy, JWA's new social justice curriculum about Jews and the Civil Rights Movement, it's exciting and gratifying to read testimonials from educators and other interested parties. It's a rare honor, however, to receive a review from a student. Dina Lamdany is a senior at a Jewish day school in Washington D.C. She blogs about Jewish feminism at fromtherib? and is a regular contributor to Jewesses with Attitude.

Remembering Jewish Women's Stories on Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day and each year we at the Jewish Women's Archive look back on the long history of Jewish women trailblazers in the military. Last year I wrote a blog post about this legacy, highlighting the launch of our "Jewish American Women and WWII" collection on Flickr Commons.

Leah Berkenwald at the International Lion of Judah Conference, New Orleans, 2010

Highlights from NOLA: the General Assembly and International Lion of Judah Conference

I never knew it was possible to feel so energized and so exhausted at the same time. I just returned home from the General Assembly (#nolaga) and the International Lion of Judah Conference (#ilojc) in New Orleans, LA.

Eating Jewish: Pumpkin Pancakes

The words for this post seemed to escape me every time I sat down to write it, over the last few days. I got as far as a few sentences but seemed incapable of writing anymore. I can’t really say what stopped me from putting the words down on paper (or more accurately in a word document), but they simply weren’t flowing. I enjoyed making and eating these pumpkin pancakes but couldn’t find a way to express this. Yet after reading a friend’s thoughts concerning the act of cooking, I was reminded (something I’m grateful for) of some of the reasons I love spending so much time in the kitchen.

Topics: Food, Recipes

Jewesses: Stories from around the web

  • Alina Treiger is the first Jewish woman to be ordained in Germany since WWII.

The Sisterhood reviews "Living the Legacy"

Renee Ghert-Zand, a regular contributor to The Sisterhood, raves about Living the Legacy.

When we think of Jews who played a role in the Civil Rights Movement, names like Andrew Goodman, Mickey Schwerner and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel immediately come to mind. Few of us would name Judith Frieze Wright, Heather Tobis Booth or Beatrice “Buddy” Mayer. A free, new online curriculum called “Living the Legacy,” written by Judith Rosenbaum and published by Jewish Women’s Archive is attempting to change that — by shedding light on Jews and the Civil Rights Movement through a distinctly feminist lens.

The scary subtext of "rethinking egalitarianism"

Last week in the Forward, Jay Michaelson writes about the need to rethink egalitarianism.  Egalitarian synagogues, he says, tend to be egalitarian in only one way: everyone is equally bored.  (“Egalitarian” in American Jewish life has historically referred to prayer services where men and women can both participate fully and take on leadership roles.)  He talks about friends who attend Orthodox prayer services because they find more meaning in the service, and about how attempts at inclusiveness and egalitarianism often translate into long responsive readings in English where nobody really believes a word.

'The Bookseller’s Sonnets': Andi L. Rosenthal's debut novel

March 2005 was the absolute worst month of Andi L. Rosenthal’s life. She broke off her engagement to her fiancé. Ten days later her father died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage. Then she lost her job.

Rosenthal was understandably lost. “It was [writing] the book that brought me back to life,” she said. “I couldn’t live in my life, so I made one up.” The book to which she referred is The Bookseller’s Sonnets, her debut novel, and the life she invented was that of Jill Levin, the book’s protagonist.

Topics: Fiction

Living the Legacy: a new take on Jews and the Civil Rights Movement

As soon as I begin talking about the history of Jewish involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, a few names immediately come up in conversation: Abraham Joshua Heschel. Micky Schwerner.

Topics: Civil Rights

Tomorrow: Jewesses for the win?

The country is abuzz with anticipation. Tomorrow, on November 2, 2010, citizens will head to the polls and cast their ballots in the midterm elections. Will the Republicans take the House? Will the Democrats keep the Senate? Tomorrow night or in the wee hours of Wednesday, America will know the results (barring any drawn-out polling mishaps or mandated recounts).

Jewish women: Leaders but not heroes

A sharp piece by Shannon Sarna and Ruthie Warshenbrot takes the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) to task for the announcement that all five Jewish Community Heroes finalists are men. They wrote:

More than half of the 2010 Slingshot organizations are headed by women.

More than half of the 2009 Avi Chai Fellows (“the Jewish genius grant”) award winners are women. More than half of the current Joshua Venture Fellows are women.

Eating Jewish: Babka

With all the delicious desserts that are part of the Ashkenazi culinary repertoire it’s hard to choose a favorite, but I think that after trying many of them I can safely say that babka is my favorite. My love for babka only developed relatively recently but it’s a strong one. I owe my introduction to this delightful dessert to my wonderful friend and fellow blogger Alma Heckman. We lived together in Boston over the summer of 2008 when we both cooked and ate considerable amounts of Jewish food.

Topics: Food, Recipes

The words of Iranian Jewish American Women

After a long hiatus filled with applications for scholarships and preparation for standardized tests, I have recently returned to my primary duty as a graduate student: graduating – that is, fulfilling the requirements necessary to graduate. In this case, that means writing my MA thesis, which is an examination of memoirs and personal essays by Iranian Jewish women who are living in the United States. It’s an interesting project, if occasionally overwhelming, and it reminds me every day that my own experience of Jewish life is not consistent with the lives of Jews everywhere.

Gloria Feldt's "No Excuses" says: "Know your history!"

This month, Gloria Feldt's No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power hit book stores. A best-selling author, speaker and commentator on women, feminism, politics and leadership, Gloria Feldt is the former President of Planned Parenthood and currently on the Board of the Jewish Women's Archive.

Topics: Feminism, Writing

Elizabeth Scharpf's DIY Aid project: keeping African girls in school with affordable pads

There was a really interesting article in The New York Times last week by Nicholas D. Kristof about individuals who are, in effect, creating foreign aid on their own. He writes about various people who, feeling passionately about helping the world, got up, changed their lives, and simply, did it. He tells a few stories, highlighting the fact that many of the members of the “Do-It-Yourself Foreign Aid Revolution” are women.

Renaming, Reclaiming

Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism, an current exhibition at The Jewish Museum in New York, explores the influence of feminism on Jewish painting from the 1960s to the present.

Why I Believe Anita Hill — Now More Than Ever

Like Hinda Mandell, I experienced the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings at a formative moment of my childhood.

Jewish girls of "Glee" gone wild?

Earlier this week, Glee's Diana Agron and Lea Michele were on the cover of GQ with co-star Cory Monteith in what can only be described as a hypersexualized spread.  Diana Agron plays popular cheerleader Quinn Fabray.  Lea Michele plays the know-it-all Jewish girl Rachel Berry. Both actresses are Jewish. (We have blogged about Jewishness on Glee here and here.)

Q&A with Bonnie Rosenbaum on Keshet's Pledge to Save Lives

Today is "Wear Purple Day" or "Spirit Day." It is a global day of remembrance for Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase and Billy Lucas, the six GLBT youth who recently took their own lives because of homophobic bullying.

The reading list - Link Roundup

  • 13 of 20 National Book Award finalists are women!

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8 hr
So wonderful to read the long-lost story of this icon. https://t.co/7Ugq72ZI0h https://t.co/5FymemO0QV
9 hr
Hmm...is it just us, or is there something missing from this list of Jewish Oscar nominees? https://t.co/kBDvVWxrdc