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Family

Who Gets To Choose

In 2007, with long chestnut pigtails sprouting from the sides of my head, I attended my first day of kindergarten at a public school just outside of Boston. I was enrolled in what was called the Choice Program, an institution that four years later would implode with scandal.

Siblings in Different Voices

While my brother’s intention was to help me better clarify my writing, that isn’t what my mind told me in the moment. During our conversation, I became resentful of him, and doubtful of myself. I started to question the value of the ideas I wrote about, the ones that he claimed were too big and detached.

Episode 4: Mothering (Transcript)

Episode 4: Mothering (Transcript)

Reclaiming “Bossy”: How Sexism Shaped Who I Am

As a child, I was loud and outspoken. I prided myself on my intelligence and eagerness to learn; I truly had killer confidence. I told people I was going to be “the dictator of the world” when I grew up. But as time went on, it became increasingly apparent that the education system didn’t have room for a personality like mine. Well, at least when that personality belonged to a girl.

Loving Judith

Gentileschi’s rendition of Judith is a self-portrait—allowing her to wield a sword and take revenge, if only in fantasy. Judith Slaying Holofernes was the first piece of feminist art that really moved me. Even now, I get chills when I view it. I thought a lot about Judith this week, after dusting off my menorah and dutifully buying candles and gelt.

My Mom Used To Say...

It was her go-to statement whenever she was cajoling me into doing something she considered a mitzvah, especially when I wasn’t exactly jumping at the opportunity. She would look at me with that, you know, mom look, and say, “Do good things and tell people you’re Jewish.”

Photographic Memory

I never paid much attention to our history when I was younger. I felt very disconnected from my Jewish past, as I had little grasp of what the Holocaust really was and what it meant to be Jewish, especially growing up in an area with few Jews.

La Rosa

When I think of something that represents my Jewish and female identity, I often go to a ring that my grandmother, who I call my abuela, gifted me. It had belonged to her before, and I had always admired it whenever she wore it.

Julie Rezmovic-Tonti, with Jessica Kirzane

Julie Rezmovic-Tonti teaches middle school Jewish history and serves as Outreach Coordinator at Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax, Virginia. She has a BA in Women's Studies from the University of Maryland and an MA in Jewish Studies from Siegal College. She also studied at Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo and the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.  She lives in Fairfax, Virginia, with her husband, three children, typewriter, pottery wheel, and garden.

Jessica Kirzane is the Lecturer in Yiddish at the University of Chicago and the Editor-in-Chief of In geveb: A Journal of Jewish Studies. She is also a literary translator from Yiddish and has taught Jewish Studies at multiple grade levels. As a contributing author and editor for the Teach Great Jewish Books website of the Yiddish Book Center, she has created several resources to bring literary and historical documents into the high school classroom.

The Harm of Tshuvah: A Letter from an Abuse Survivor

People view forgiveness as the secret to healing, as if it isn’t a long painful process of flashbacks, relapsing, shame, medication, and therapy, as if there’s some easy way to heal that I have been too prideful to consider. To view forgiveness as the apex of survivors’ progress trivializes each person’s individual struggle.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Family." (Viewed on February 18, 2019) <https://jwa.org/topics/family>.

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