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Remembering Sylvia Schur, a pioneer who transcended the kitchen

Leah Berkenwald

Thanks to Julie & Julia, foodies are abuzz about Julia Child.  Icon though she is, the story of a different sort of chef caught my attention this week.  Sylvia Schur passed away at age 92 last week.  Her obituary in the New York Times captivated me as I realized that this woman was no ordinary chef. 

Sylvia Schur was not a stereotypical "Betty Crocker," though she did create recipes for the company.  She did not wear pearls and an apron and stand in a TV studio stirring cake batter. Instead, she pioneered the modern food industry - creating the now classic recipes you see on the back of the box, problem solving with the heads of Ocean Spray, editing magazines, running a successful consulting company, and developing convenience foods for women on the go.  Sylvia Schur was a creative champion of modern working women who refused to spend their days in the kitchen.

Jennie Grossinger Day!

June 16, 1968

Jennie Grossinger, who helped make the Catskills resort Grossinger's into the most famous retreat of its kind, was born in Austria on June

Shirley Polykoff

Shirley Polykoff became one of the top advertising executives of the mid-twentieth century by crafting ad campaigns that transformed how Americans saw products from coffee to hair dye.

Photographers in the United States

Jewish American women photographers are a diverse group that have explored a wide range of styles and techniques. A significant number of Jewish American women photographers have had a strong social conscience—whether they were born to wealth as were Doris Ulmann and Diane Arbus, or in working-class neighborhoods, as were Helen Levitt and Rebecca Lepkoff, or come from abroad, as did Sandra Weiner.

Helen Rosen Woodward

Helen Rosen Woodward is best known for her contribution to the world of advertising and is generally believed to be the first female account executive in the United States. She was also prolific author who was committed to social justice.

Grete Stern

Grete Stern was one of the founders of Argentina’s modern photography. After studying photography in bohemian Berlin and at the legendary Bauhaus School, Stern developed an unconventional approach to photography, including advertisement collages and studies with crystals, objects, and still-lifes. Between 1935 and 1981 Stern was an influential artistic presence in Argentina, known for her photographic work, graphic design, and teaching.  

Dawn Steel

Dawn Steel’s career began with sports publication, but she went on to become the merchandising director of Penthouse, entrepreneur of her own company, and finally moved into Hollywood. Despite struggling with studio gender politics, extraordinary marketing talents ultimately catapulted her to becoming the industry’s second female studio head.

Portrayals of Women in Israeli Media

Representations of women in a variety of Israeli media, such as advertising, news, and entertainment, reflect and perpetuate the marginality of women in Israeli society. While representations have diversified over the years, showing Israeli women in more varied professional roles and enjoying sexual freedom and independence, overall the gender inequity remains and women are still marginalized in Israeli media.

Matilda Steinam Kubie

Matilda Steinam Kubie directed her energies toward the support and growth of charitable institutions that sought to better the lives of those in the Jewish community. She helped many organizations extend their reach through her leadership and her savvy use of advertising.

Barbara Kruger

Barbara Kruger creates conceptual art that pushes audiences to question assumptions about gender, violence, patriotism, and their relationship to the media. Kruger has exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States and Europe. Perhaps more significantly, she has brought her art to such urban public spaces as bus stops, subway stations, and billboards.

Donna Karan

Donna Karan started her career as an intern for the renowned designer Anne Klein and became the design director for Klein’s label in 1974. She quickly built a reputation for designing clothes for a range of body types. She has two of her own brands, which have become household names around the world, and her designs have regularly won awards.

Ruth Gikow

Ruth Gikow’s figurative paintings and murals offered her a means to comment on society and urban life. She worked on commissions for public spaces in New York, and in the 1960s and 1970s she created political works, depicting scenes from the civil rights and anti-war movements. Gikow’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, among others.

Ilse Bing

 Ilse Bing was known as the “Queen of the Leica” for her work in photojournalism, fashion, and advertising with this new camera, fast film, and darkroom techniques of polarization and cropping. Her work was highly influential in France in the 1930s when many émigré artists were energized by the cross fertilization of disciplines that contributed to modern photography.

Advertising and Consumer Culture in the United States

Jewish women played a disproportionate role in the development of American consumer culture in the twentieth century. Throughout the century, American Jewish women embraced the modern corporation and have stood among the nation’s most significant entrepreneurs and executives.

I dreamed I blogged in my Maidenform bra

Judith Rosenbaum

Lately I’ve had bras on the brain. Having recently weaned my twins (and here I’m referring to actual babies, not euphemistically to my breasts themselves), I’m gearing up for one of the milestone moments in a mother’s life: buying new, regular, non-nursing bras. So I’ve been thinking about what bras mean in the life of a Jewish woman.

Goodbye, Barbie. Hello, Bratz.

Jordan Namerow

If the doll industry is any measure of today’s commodified standard of beauty, assimilation is out and multi-ethnic is in. Forty-eight years have passed since Barbie came to represent the ultimate American fantasy: a leggy, blonde-haired, teeny-waisted preeminence of elegance, with a flamingo pink sports car and Ken by her side. Despite Mattel’s attempts to recreate and diversify Barbie’s identity to reflect social trends and more eclectic “girl” activities, Barbie has had trouble keeping up with the times, even if she does wear a tallit.

Boyfriend Trousers? I Want Jewess Jeans.

Jordan Namerow

Yesterday after work, I went on a search for a birthday gift for a 16-year-old girl. After looking at some books, crafts, scarves and jewelry (from the Fair Trade stores in town), I decided to take a peek in the GAP. Right in the entry way of the store, front and center, was a stand (accompanied by a large sign) displaying the GAP's newest khaki merchandise: "boyfriend trousers" and "tailored boyfriend". Both kinds of "boyfriends" are rather baggy, heavily starched, and seem to ride the hips of the models lucky enough to have them.


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