Film

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Ruth Hagy Brod

Ruth Hagy Brod’s varied career as a journalist, documentary filmmaker and literary agent made her the ideal publicity director for Job Orientation In the Neighborhoods, helping high school dropouts train for careers.

Judy Blume

Judy Blume’s books, known for their humor and their honest portrayal of the pains of adolescence, have shaped generations of young girls.

Vicki Baum

Vicki Baum jokingly referred to herself as “a first-class second–rate writer,” but she created a new genre for popular fiction when she wrote the novel that inspired the stage and screen classic Grand Hotel.

Theda Bara

The original vamp of the silver screen, Theda Bara became an icon of sensuality and the exotic for generations.

Stella Adler

As an actress and a teacher, Stella Adler transformed a generation of American actors though her understanding of Method acting.

Ruth Weisberg

Ruth Weisberg’s art helped bring the Reform Movement’s Open Door Haggadah to life with inclusive, feminist imagery.

Lynn Sherr

Believing that the stories of strong women needed to be remembered and honored, reporter Lynn Sherr covered women’s issues as a journalist and brought the story of Susan B. Anthony to a new generation.

Gloria Greenfield

Disturbed by growing anti-Semitism in the women’s movement, Gloria Greenfield left the movement and began creating documentary films that brought national attention to anti-Semitism in America and around the world.

Shelley Morhaim

Shelly Morhaim brought national attention to anti-war and environmental causes through her documentary films and the use of one iconic photo.

Margaret Lazarus

Margaret Lazarus used her talents as an independent filmmaker to bring attention to issues ranging from rape culture to nuclear threat.

Shulamit Izen

After realizing at an early age that she was a lesbian, Shulamit Izen devoted herself to creating a supportive environment for Jewish GLBTQ teens.

Barbara Myerhoff

Renowned anthropologist Barbara Myerhoff made waves when she chose to study a very different culture: her own.
Basya Schechter with her Nieces

All of the Above: Refusing to Choose

Lisa Batya Feld

There was a moment in my late twenties when I seriously considered rabbinical school. I was changing careers, trying to figure out what my next step would be, and becoming a rabbi would have allowed me to blend my love of Jewish ritual, my intellectual curiosity, and my passion for helping people into a calling. It made sense, on a deep level. But the more I talked about it with friends who were already rabbis and rabbinical students, the more they cautioned me, “As a woman, if you become a rabbi and you’re not married yet, you need to accept that you’ll probably never marry. Men don’t want to date women who are authority figures; it’s too emasculating.” I wanted to be a rabbi. But I also wanted marriage and children. When I believed that I needed to choose between them, I couldn’t bear the thought of never having children of my own. I quietly turned my focus to other graduate programs.

Vivienne Shub

In 1963, Vivienne Shub helped to create Center Stage, bringing a regional professional repertory theater to Baltimore. In the 1970s, she and her husband took up residency at Goucher College, sharing their expertise in music and theater. She has also enjoyed a long teaching career at Towson University, appeared in numerous films, and serves as president of the Baltimore Theater Alliance.

Stella Adler premieres Awake and Sing

February 19, 1935

Stella Adler premieres Awake and Sing.

Pixar

The Ladies of Pixar

Marissa Harrington-Verb

There is nothing I love more than seeing a gorgeous fellow redhead featured on the big screen, except perhaps for watching a Pixar movie. There is no fictional character I identify with more than Princess Merida from Pixar’s Brave. But I was not at all surprised when Disney “Disneyfied” Merida with sparkles and a “sexier” new body. I was not surprised by the controversy that followed, either, and neither should anyone else have been. That controversy had been bubbling under the surface from the moment Pixar Animation Studios announced they were making a movie with a female protagonist; by taking thirteen feature films to even have a female protagonist, they had guaranteed themselves a gargantuan amount of trouble to please their anxious audience.

Topics: Film

Gay Block

I know now that she lost herself as soon as she married, taking on the persona of the wife she imagined she must be.

Anna and Elsa of "Frozen"

Frozen and Feminism on Screen

Alexandra Bicks

When my family wanted to go see Frozen, Disney’s newest animated feature, over Thanksgiving weekend, I went along only grudgingly. Judging from the trailers and the product placement I had seen around my local drugstores, all I could tell about Frozen was that it would involve a princess and a wisecracking snowman cavorting across a wintry landscape. Nothing too memorable or extraordinary, I figured.

Happily, I was wrong.

Topics: Feminism, Film
"Catching Fire" Movie Poster

Catching Fire this Hanukkah

Avigayil Halpern

I cannot walk out of my house (or open my laptop) without being bombarded with suggestions for Hanukkah (this year, often Thanksgivukkah) merchandise. (Ironically, I am simultaneously presented with ads for “Catching Fire” themed goods, in contrast to the movie’s message.) The Hanukkah narrative has the power to be subversive; it is a story of a minority making themselves heard, of an oppressed group claiming their rights. When those of us who are privileged to be able to buy gifts (and menurkeys) focus on the commercial elements of the holiday at the expense of the holiday’s story, we create a bubble like the Capitol. Hanukkah should be a call to remind us that we should be the districts, not the Capitol; our power should be channeled into fighting injustice, not simply consuming what is provided to us.

Editors note: If you haven’t read The Hunger Games (or seen the movies), you’ll be safe from any major spoilers in this post from one of our Rising Voices Fellows. Be sure to check the JWA blog each Tuesday for a new post from our fellows—and check out the great educational resources provided by our partner organization, Prozdor.

Topics: Hanukkah, Film
Esther Broner Seder with Letty Cottin Pogrebin and Martha Ackelsberg

Esther Broner: A Weave of Women

Jordyn Rozensky

Esther Broner, or E.M. as she was known, was a Jewish feminist, prolific author, professor, and pioneer of the feminist  movement. Known for re-imagining traditional Jewish customs and rituals, she co-wrote The Women’s Haggadah, which encouraged women to devise their own version of traditional rituals.

Carmel Myers dies: movie vamp and Hollywood A-List hostess

November 9, 1980

Movie vamp Carmel Myers thought "Nice ladies are just like wallpaper."

Gertrude Wishnick Dubrovsky, 1926 - 2012

To the credit of the nuns, my Jewish search was encouraged, my questions were never cut short, and a patient effort was made consistently to answer me.

Comic marvel Joan Rivers is born

June 8, 1933

Comic marvel Joan Rivers is born

Judy Blume

Judy Blume: Still Our Voice

Jordyn Rozensky

When I heard that "Tiger Eyes" was being turned into a movie, I quickly turned to my friend circle to spread the news. Like any member of the facebook tribe, I immediately put a call out for Judy Blume fans—I figured if I was lucky, I could get someone to see Tiger Eyes with me when it comes out in June. I figured if I was really lucky, I could get someone to write a blog post for Jewish American Heritage Month about how Judy Blume affected their childhood.

Topics: Film, Fiction
Theda Bara, 1915

Moments in History: Jewish Entertainers in Film

Jordyn Rozensky

For Jewish American Heritage Month, we’ve scoured the Archive for a special selection of posts we are calling Moments in History. This selection includes moments ranging from 1890 to 2011, each profiling a noteworthy moment in the history of female Jewish entertainers.

Topics: Jewish History, Film
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