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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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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

Blogging the Institute: A Night of Jewish Gospel

On the final night of the JWA Summer Institute for Educators, we wrapped with a fun and moving final session on Jewish Gospel Music.

Topics: Education, Music

Eating Jewish: Coconut Jam

Nothing says summer to me like coconut; whatever form it comes in, its taste and smell evoke a beautiful summer day with the warmth of the summer sun on my skin (it also reminds me of a coconut suntan lotion I loved the smell of as a kid and which happens to be my first memory of its smell) Needless to say, I have always loved coconut and I will eat it in almost any dish, whether it is sweet or savory.

Girls in science, sure. But what about engineering?

I got my copy of Ms. Magazine yesterday and in it, and was excited to see an article called “Girls Love Robots, Too,” about a group of girls in San Diego who started their own robotics team and have won honors in national robotics competitions. It talks about how it’s a big thing for girls to have their own team, since men outnumber women in engineering 73 to 27, and emphasizes that the girls are defying the stereotype that only boys like science and math.

Blogging the Institute: The Freedom Riders

Monday night as part of the JWA Summer Institute for Educators, we saw a sneak preview of a newly made documentary, The Freedom Riders, which tells the story of the group of black and white young people, who rode south on two buses to deliberately break the segregation laws.

Blogging the Institute: Wednesday Lunchtime Reflections

Today, Lynn Golub-Rofrano discusses a morning session with Rabbi Jill Jacobs and a particularly interesting text study.

Topics: Education

Blogging the Institute: What's going on here?

If this is your first visit to Jewesses with Attitude this week, you may have noticed some unusual content. This week we are blogging JWA's 2010 Summer Institute for Educators, a four-day conference for educators to explore ways of incorporating Jewish women’s history into their curricula with a particular focus on Living the Legacy, JWA's upcoming online curriculum about Jews in the civil rights movement.

Topics: Education

Tu B'Av and the Question of Gendered Rituals

Yesterday marked Tu B’Av, the 15th day of the month of Av, a minor Jewish holiday that Wikipedia tells me has become a Jewish equivalent to Valentine’s Day, in that it is an auspicious day for holding weddings and perhaps meeting a romantic partner. The part about weddings makes sense: Tu B’Av comes only 6 after the fast day of Tisha B’Av, and many Jews avoid holding weddings during either the three weeks or the nine days leading up to the fast, since they are considered mournful times. So, we’ve had a dearth of weddings in our community, Tisha B’Av passes, and after so much sadness, a wedding is something to look forward to. But meeting a partner on Tu B’Av? Where is the logic in that?

Blogging the Institute: Tuesday Lunchtime Reflections

This morning, JWA Institute for Educators participants discussed one of the lesson plans from JWA's forthcoming online curriculum, Living the Legacy, in depth. They also got to explore the online platform for the curriculum and contribute their input on the design and functionality of the website.

At lunch, I caught up with the "outdoor" crowd to capture some reflections.

Eating Jewish: Strudel

I have come to take for granted that with a quick search on Google I can easily find most recipes that I’m looking for. If for any reason I don’t find what I want on the Internet, I can usually consult my ever-growing collection of cookbooks to find the recipe I need. This means that a huge number of recipes are literally at my fingertips whenever I need them. However, my most recent time in the kitchen reminded me that this was not always so.

Topics: Food, Recipes

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5 hr
Yesss. We want Lilith to be an archetype for all things. https://t.co/v2KtkZ05V3 https://t.co/0TBaIqL7vl
7 hr
Want to try out a new recipe this lazy Sunday afternoon? https://t.co/tUzVQauCtF
10 hr
in 1971, Annie Leibovitz had her first Rolling Stone cover. https://t.co/j5yKRLkr2N https://t.co/JI4V9llEAV