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Women's Equality Day and the legacy of Jewish women fighting for suffrage

Today is the 90th anniversary of the 19th Ammendment giving women the right to vote, and has become known as "Women's Equality Day." Jewish women undoubtedly played pivotal roles in the suffrage movement. Take a look at their stories of activism on jwa.org:

Fress. Kvetch. Shtup.

Your life is a mess. You’re tired of the routine, you’re constantly craving more of what you’ve already attained, and you find true satisfaction in nothing and in no one. Well here’s the quick fix:

  1. Plan an expensive get-away.

  2. No, actually, scratch that—plan three expensive get-aways.

  3. But it’s not just the location that’s getting to you. You’re also sick of your significant other. So dump the schlub, give no real reason for your decision to break-up, and then…

Topics: Film

Women reading Torah: Empowerment in Photos

Earlier this week, a post on The Sisterhood blog (with whom JWA regularly cross-posts) publicized a call from Women of the Wall for photographs of women with Torahs as part of a solidarity movement with WOW, who have been subject to harassment and arrest over the past several months in their attempts to hold egalitarian Rosh Chodesh services at Robinson’s Arch in Jerusalem.

Teffilin Barbie and Burqa Barbie: What does it mean to dress dolls?

Barbie was created in 1959 by Jewish business woman Ruth Handler. She was an Amazonian creation: a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, big-busted American beauty. She loved to drive pink convertibles; her wardrobe and shape-shifting abilities were astonishing. By the 80s, she was highly multicultural and had an endless variety of career paths open to her, from model to mad professor. Nothing is off-limits to ever trail-blazing Barbie, not even tefillin or a burqa.

Nutrition and Social Welfare: What Would Frances Stern Do?

On August 23, 1914, pioneering nutritionist Frances Stern published an editorial that identified the connection between nutrition, socio-economics, and social welfare. 

Topics: Food

Eating Jewish: Caramels from Baden -- A way to remember

Talking about food, about the recipes that we’ve tried and recipes that we want to try is often a topic of conversation when I’m with my family and friends. It allows us to share recipes for dishes that we’ve enjoyed and those that we think others would also enjoy. It gives us the opportunity to learn about new dishes or about new ways to make ones that we’ve previously tried. We get to share the stories that go along with the dishes, while at the same time allowing us to connect to our cultural and religious identities.

8 -- Down: Historian Joyce

A friend of JWA tipped us off to an exciting clue in the August 13th Jerusalem Post crossword puzzle.

8 -- Down: Historian Joyce ('You Never Call, You Never Write' History of the Jewish Mother)

Six letters.

Got it?

If you guessed A-N-T-L-E-R, you're correct!

"Who Do You Think You Are?" -- When Genealogy Meets Reality TV

After hearing various archivists, historians, and librarians rave or moan about the genealogy TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?” I finally got a chance to see it for myself. This show is run by the genealogy database Ancestory.com and takes various celebrities on journeys to discover their roots in an odd blend of reality TV confessionalism and historical inquiry. This is the show that recently helped “Sex and the City’s” Sarah Jessica Parker discover a distant ancestor involved in the Salem Witch Trials.

Topics: Television

Eating Jewish: Bagels

My neighborhood in Montreal, called Mile End, is known for hipsters, Chasidic Jews and bagels. Although each of these topics could potentially make for an interesting blog post, it is, of course, the bagel that I would like to discuss. I absolutely love bagels and have been eating them for as long as I can remember. Living in walking distance of two of the most famous bagel shops in the city means that they’re on the menu very often.

Topics: Food, Recipes

Snazzy, new features "On the Map!"

Have you visited Jewish Women On the Map recently?

Since its launch this March, JWA's map of Jewish women's history has steadily grown to include landmarks in 30 states, six Canadian provinces, and seven countries. The site maps the stories of a number of American Jewish women, recognized and unheralded, famous and unknown. They have been added by historians, Jewish and women's organizations, and friends and family.

Adding Irena Klepfisz to the Canon

In women’s studies classes, we spend a lot of time talking about power: who has it, who doesn’t, and how it moves. Power matters in literature, too, since those in power are the ones who shape the canons – the defined sets of literary works that represent a particular field. 

Mohelot and Brit Milah: Does it matter if a woman wields the knife?

Can a woman perform a bris? Jewish scholars, even the most Orthodox, answer with a tentative “why not?” for there is no halachic (Jewish law) prohibition against mohelot – female mohels. While Jewish law states that it’s preferable for a Jewish male to perform the brit milah (circumcision) if one is present, it is not mandatory. The symbolism of a woman circumcising a man is inherently provocative, touching on questions of spirituality, nurturing mothers, and emasculation. Many men, when polled on the subject, reflexively cross their legs.

Topics: Ritual

As Old as Lilith and Eve: “The Mediator between the Head and Hands is the Heart!”

Last Sunday, after a totaled car and a summarily canceled day-trip to Ipswich, MA, my friend and I decided to make the best of things and not let a little thing like a car accident ruin our day. What better activity than seeing a German Expressionist film about robots, class struggle, and compassion? Alas, while there are many great things one can say about the film, I was angered by the predictably dualistic depiction of women, a theme as old as Lilith and Eve.

Topics: Feminism, Film

Eating Jewish: Poppy-Seed Cookies

Growing up, most foods that contained poppy-seeds simply didn’t appeal to me. I was wary about those tiny black seeds that dotted pastries, muffins or cookies and wished that they simply weren’t there. Due to this aversion to poppy-seeds, I usually stayed away from desserts that contained any. Yet in the last few years that has changed, mainly because of a poppy-seed strudel that opened my eyes (or rather my taste buds) to the nutty sweetness that poppy-seeds could bring to a dish.

Topics: Food, Recipes

"Being welcoming" is an end unto itself

I recently read a piece called "New Study Finds That It’s Not a Lack of Welcome That’s Keeping the Intermarrieds Away" in the eJewish Philanthropy daily e-letter. It explained how a study done by Steven M. Cohen, a sociologist who studies American Jews, determined that it was a lack of "competency" rather than welcome that was keeping intermarried families and their children from engaging with the Jewish community.

The Dark Side of Jewish Pluralism

One of the benefits of being in my parents’ home is access to a whole range of print media to which I would otherwise never subscribe. On the flip side, it also means I encounter a whole range of political opinions that I would otherwise avoid like the plague.

Eating Jewish: Salade Cuite (Moroccan Matbucha)

I remember being enamored by the various small salads that were placed on the table to begin the meal at the first Shabbat dinner I attended that was hosted by my friend’s parents, of whom her father is Moroccan. The salads, of which there was, among others, corn salad, avocado salad, roasted red peppers, beets, radishes, and of course salade cuite, which literally means "cooked salad" in English, were a nice way to start the meal. The salade cuite came highly recommended by my friend, who loves it and can’t have Shabbat dinner without it.

Topics: Food, Recipes

Meet Alma, JWA Summer Intern

As a summer intern with the Jewish Women’s Archive, I am delighted to join Jewesses with Attitude. This is only my second day at JWA, and I have already learned quite a bit from the people around me and the web content. Three different people have shown me where the coffee machine and the bathroom are located…I appreciate the warm welcome I have received and look forward to sharing what I can.

Gertrude Himmelfarb and the Politics of Morality

Historian Gertrude Himmelfarb celebrated her 88th birthday yesterday, August 8, while Congress took its first week of summer recess. In the months between now and November’s midterm elections, much will be made of liberal and conservative values, culture wars, and their derivate potential laws. We can safely anticipate advertisements of the basest ilk, making clear heroes and still clearer villains out of political adversaries.

Justice Elena Kagan Confirmed, Jewish Women Rock the Bench!

Mazel tov to Elena Kagan, newest Supreme Court Justice! 

Meet Gwen, JWA Summer Intern

This summer, I was lucky enough to spend six fabulous weeks as an intern at the Jewish Women’s Archive. I hail from Lancaster PA, and I’m a rising senior at Smith College, with a major in History and a minor in Archival Studies. My primary historical interests are the social and cultural history of modern Britain and Ireland. And what, you ask, is someone who studies places that aren’t exactly renowned for having a huge Jewish population doing at the Jewish Women’s Archive? The reasons are many!

Half Jewess with a Whole Attitude

When I was a little girl looking suspiciously at a new kind of food (a matzoh ball, for instance, or a slice of Jewish honey cake.) My dad would say, “Well, maybe you’ll half like it. After all, you’re half Jewish!”

Eating Jewish: Borekas

I always said that I was a knish girl. They were my first choice when buying something to eat at the snack bar in elementary school and if they were on the menu at a restaurant there was no doubt that I would order them. However, this all changed recently when I was introduced to the boreka. I was having a conversation about Jewish food (something that seems to happen quite often with most people that sit down to talk to me) with my friend who is Sephardic. When she told me that she preferred borekas to knishes, I was skeptical.

Topics: Food, Recipes

Summer camp's complex legacy

Last week, this article about summer camp in Tablet caught my eye. I’m sure it was intended as humour, but when the article showed up in my RSS feed, promising advice on surviving the return from camp, I half-expected a full-length article for young 20-somethings who have non-camp jobs for the first time.

Blogging the Institute: What a Week!

I was so blessed to be part of the Jewish Women’s Archive’s 2010 Institute for Educators. The JWA is about to release their social justice curriculum Living the Legacy and we certainly spent plenty of time reviewing that and the JWA’s multimedia resources (in development right now – stay tuned).

Topics: Education

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on January 23, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog>.

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Happy birthday to biochemist Gertrude Elion, who helped develop drugs for leukemia, herpes and other medical issues. https://t.co/7qc2dd7Y8z
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Of course! We have nothing but respect & admiration for her. However, people can be smuggled--the word isn't just for objects!