Feminism

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Collection
Comic strip by Alison Bechdel entitled "The Rule" from her series Dykes To Watch Out For

It’s Time to Ditch the Bechdel Test–Or at Least Take It Less Seriously

Catherine Horowitz

We should not need a list of boxes to check off to tell us whether a movie is feminist.

Megan Fox holding a flame to her tongue with her phone held up to her ear

"Jennifer's Body": A Metacommentary on Exploitation in the Film Industry

Sofia Isaias-Day

The film Jennifer's Body addresses themes of assault and exploitation without being obvious about it—which may have been a necessary tactic.

Topics: Feminism, Television
Someone holding a sign that reads "We won't go back. We will fight back."

JWA and Jewish History Stand for Abortion Rights

Judith Rosenbaum

We will continue to fight, strengthened by the lessons of history, which teach us that abortion access is a Jewish value.

Film still from Chantal Akerman's Je Tu Il Elle - two naked women lying down, facing each other

Chantal Akerman’s Queer Jewish Cinema

Emily-Rose Baker

Akerman’s queer, feminist, Jewish films deserve far more attention than they’ve received.

Episode 79: Word of the Week: Eshet Chayil

 "A woman of valor, who can find? Her worth is far beyond rubies..." So begins a 22-verse acrostic poem from the Book of Proverbs. The poem showers praise on an unnamed woman of valor—eshet chayil, in Hebrew—and is sung in some Jewish families on Friday night before the Shabbat meal. In the final installment of our Word of the Week series, we talk with Rena Nickerson, Miriam Anzovin and Rachel Stomel about the meaning of Eshet Chayil today and their memories of singing it growing up.

Movie Still from "Ghost World", 2001: Image of Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch

"Ghost World": Flawed Portrayals of Flawed Jewish Women

Lucy Waldorf

Ghost World is satirical, but is that fact enough to excuse the writing of the Jewish female characters?

Colorful Illustration of Women Leaning on Each other

Jewish Summer Camp and The Book of Ruth: The Power of a Jewish Woman's Support

Ilah Ross

While my first go at standing up to a man in a position of power may not have gone as planned, I've recognized in the events that followed the power of Jewish women, like Ruth and Naomi, to lift each other back up.

Jewish Women and Intermarriage in the United States

Marriages between Jews and people of other faiths have long fascinated scholars, clergy, and communal leaders, who often considered the choice of a Jewish spouse as an indication of the strength of ethnoreligious identity and commitment to perpetuating Judaism and the Jewish people. However, many Jewish women who intermarry in the United States continue to identify Jewishly, engage in the Jewish community, and raise Jewish children.

This entry uses gender as category of analysis and change over time to illuminate the experience and meaning of interfaith marriage for Jewish women in America. It describes how women navigated their ethnoreligious identities when they married Gentile men, the influences of feminism, the rise of ethnic consciousness, and parenthood.

Episode 78: Word of the Week: Gaslighting

From MSNBC to Fox News, the word "gaslighting" is everywhere these days. But where does it come from and what does it mean? This time in our Word of the Week series, we dig into the ubiquitous term: its roots in a 1944 Hollywood thriller, how it has come to be used today, and whether it's still a useful word. We speak with linguist Rachel Steindel Burdin and psychotherapist Robin Stern. We'll also hear from comedian Judy Gold and Tik Tok star Miriam Anzovin.

Episode 74: A Half-Century of Women Rabbis

Fifty years ago, Rabbi Sally Priesand made history by becoming the first woman rabbi in America. In this episode of Can We Talk?, women rabbis from three Jewish denominations reflect on the milestone. We speak with Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses, Rabba Sara Hurwitz, and Rabbi Sandra Lawson about the challenges they’ve faced, and about how their presence in the rabbinate is shaping the Jewish community. This is the final episode in our three-part anniversary series.

My Nose Job Helped Me Embrace the “Too-Muchness” of Being a Jewish Woman

Emma Breitman

I’d learned to love my nose. If I changed it, wouldn’t I betray my Jewish, feminist self?

Episode 72: Ezrat Nashim Confronts the Rabbis

Fifty years ago, a group of young Jewish women piled into two cars and drove to upstate New York to crash the annual meeting of the all-male Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement. They called themselves Ezrat Nashim and they had a set of demands that included the right to be counted in a minyan, lead religious services, and attend rabbinical school. Their brief but brave action had ripple effects across American Jewish communities.

Miriam Anzovin posing with ring light.

Interview With Talmudic TikToker Miriam Anzovin

Dina Adelsky

JWA talks to Miriam Anzovin about leaving behind Orthodox practice, misogyny on social media and IRL, and of course, her viral Daf Reactions TikTok videos.

Collage of "Our Bodies, Ourselves" Book Covers

"Our Bodies, Ourselves" in 2022

Sofia Isaias-Day

As a Jewish feminist, I have a responsibility to further the movement started by the writers of Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Episode 71: Bat Mitzvah at 100

On March 18, 1922, Judith Kaplan made history when she stood in front of her Manhattan congregation and had America's first bat mitzvah ceremony. Judith's bat mitzvah was groundbreaking at the time, but it didn't look like most bat mitzvahs today. In this episode of Can We Talk?, producer Jen Richler talks with Professor Carole Balin about how the bat mitzvah has evolved over the past century, and how girls and their parents have pushed for that evolution. Carole is working on a book based on interviews with dozens of women, representing many decades of bat mitzvah history.

Collage with Image of Alix Kates Shulman at Miss America Protest at "Freedom Trash Can"

Protest Social Media's Beauty Standards in the Name of the Freedom Trash Can

Mallie Lifsitz

It’s undeniable that our current beauty standards are unattainable. I think that contemporary activists can learn from Alix Kates Shulman’s approach to this issue.

Topics: Feminism, Protests, Media

Ronit Elkabetz

Ronit Elkabetz (1963-2016) was one of Israeli cinema's leading actors. Coming from the northern periphery, she played in some of the major Israeli films of the last decades. She is particularly remembered for the trilogy she directed with her brother Shlomi Elkabetz: To Take a Wife (2004), The Seven Days (2009), and Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (2013), all addressing the issue of the oppression of Mizrahi women in the name of the Jewish religion.

Raven Schwam-Curtis TikTok Still #2

How I Make Black Jews Visible Through the Magic of TikTok

Raven Schwam-Curtis

My TikToks educate, validate, and celebrate Black Jewish identity.

Helène Aylon

Helene Aylon was an American, New York-based, multimedia visual artist who began by creating process art in the 1970s, focused on anti-nuclear and eco-activist art by the 1980s, and subsequently devoted more than 35 years to the multi-partite installation The G-d Project. This last body of work’s often direct or indirect textuality resonates from and responds to Judaism’s traditionally male-dominated textuality as part of a larger commentary on women in Judaism.

Tova Ricardo at a spoken word performance at a conference in 2021.

I’m a Black Jewish Woman and I’m Tired of Being Called “Angry”

Tova Ricardo

I refuse to choose between being a “good woman” or a woman who will not be intimidated, belittled, or silenced.

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