Jewish History

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Belinda Brock's parents crop

The Language of the High Holidays

Belinda Brock

Rosh Hashanah connects us to each other and to our roots—even virtually.

Episode 45: Shofar in the Desert

No sound is more iconic for the Jewish New Year than that of the shofar blast. This year, many Jews will hear the sound of the shofar virtually. Can We Talk? producer Sarah Ventre is one of hundreds of shofar blowers who will share their shofar blasts with their congregations over Zoom. In this special Rosh Hashanah mini-sode, Sarah ventures into the urban desert in Phoenix, Arizona to practice blowing her shofar. She shares her thoughts on what the shofar blast means to her this year, during the global pandemic.

Nicodemus Historic Site

The Forgotten History of 19th Century Black and Jewish Settlements in Western Kansas

Emily Cohen

In the late nineteenth century, Russian Jews and Black Americans settled in western Kansas to start a new life. Was it the promised land they imagined?

Topics: Jewish History
Sketch of Ray Frank, 1893

Ray Frank, A Complex Figure: Let’s Talk about Honesty and Self Care

Eleanor Harris

In March, my RVF piece about Ray Frank went up on the blog; however, parts of this blog post trouble me.

Illustration of a Plague Doctor wearing beak mask.

Antisemitism During Coronavirus: From Pandemic to Pandemic

Ari Fogel

Antisemitism is, unfortunately, not a unique response to a pandemic.

2019-20 Rising Voices Fellow Madeline Canfield's Notebook

My Worn and Faded Yellow Notebook, a Living Record

Madeline Canfield

In my notebook, I recount anecdotes that bear the mark of the past I am reckoning with today.

The Plot Against America Promo Image

"The Plot Against America" and the Jewish Insult

Ilana Diamant

The Plot Against America exemplifies how "Jewish" speech illuminates the diversity in class, culture, and politics of the Jewish people.

Episode 42: Ode to Ladino (Transcript)

Episode 42: Ode to Ladino (Transcript)

Episode 42: Ode to Ladino

Ladino, or Judeo-Spanish, was once the mother tongue of Sephardic Jews in Turkey and other Jewish communities that once thrived around the Mediterranean. Now, there are only about 100,000 Ladino speakers scattered throughout the world. In this episode of Can We Talk?, we meet Karen Sarhon, a woman on a mission to keep Ladino, and the culture surrounding it, alive. Freelance journalist Durrie Bouscaren brings us this story from Istanbul, Turkey.

How Yiddish Changed America cover cropped

What's Yiddish Got to Do with It?

Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler

Ilan Stavans and Josh Lambart’s new anthology, How Yiddish Changed America, and America Changed Yiddish, is the perfect text to help you test the waters of Yiddishkeit. 

Photo of Sarah Schenirer

Tracing the Roots of Jewish Women's Education

Ellie Klibaner-Schiff

Sarah Schenirer started the revolution—that is still in process today—to create equal Torah learning opportunities for women.

Jewish Women of Color Marching

Top Ten Moments for Jewish Women in 2019

Judith Rosenbaum

JWA CEO Judith Rosenbaum lists her top ten moments for Jewish women in 2019.

Topics: Jewish History
A woman with curly hair

Just a Small-Town Curl

Jennifer Greenberg

I have always struggled to accept my curls.

Topics: Jewish History
Yiddish Motifs

Yiddishes, Alive and Dead

Sophie Hurwitz

For many American Jews, Yiddish is the language of a mythicized shtetl, but today the language is still very much alive.

Topics: Jewish History
Susan Sontag Mural

A Visit to the Tucson Jewish History Museum

Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler

Visiting a Holocaust Museum as a Jew can be meaningful, painful, and sometimes, exposing.

Topics: Jewish History
"Jewish Feminisms/American Visions" Conference Poster

Seven Lessons from our Feminist Foremothers

Judith Rosenbaum

JWA’s Executive Director Judith Rosenbaum reflects on her experience at the “Jewish Feminisms/American Visions” conference at the University of Michigan.

Forest Dark Book Cover

Review: Nicole Krauss's "Forest Dark"

Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler

Forest Dark is an exploration of what happens when the relationships, material objects, and geographic locations that have come to constitute an identity fall apart.

Stock Photo of "I Voted" Stickers

Voting: Still a Right, Right?

Emma Nathanson

Typically, walking through the doors of my high school gym brings on a feeling of dread, accompanied by the smell of body odor and wet paint. When I walked into the gym this past November, however, the only thing I felt was excitement. On the day of the 2018 Midterm Elections, I had decided to spend my Tuesday afternoon and evening as an election official, helping voters register, cast ballots, and, most importantly, go home with an “I Voted!” sticker proudly affixed to their shirts.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Getting "Crazy" About History

Rebecca Brenner Graham

Rebecca Bunch is apparently a student of history... and I don’t just mean her relationship history.

Barbara Seaman holding vaginal cap at Pre-1980 Women's March press conference

In Search of Jewish Voices from the Women’s Health Movement

Jillian M. Hinderliter

How did so many Jewish women come to be leaders within the women’s health movement? Eight of the twelve creators of Our Bodies, Ourselves were Jewish. Four of the five founders of the National Women’s Health Network were also Jewish.

Gateway to the Moon Book Cover

The Origin Story of "Gateway to the Moon" by Mary Morris

Mary Morris

In an exclusive piece for JWA, Mary Morris details her inspiration for her newest novel, Gateway to the Moon.

Fruit Geode Book Cover

Alicia Jo Rabins On Her New Poetry Collection, "Fruit Geode"

Alicia Jo Rabins

Alicia Jo Rabins’s second poetry collection, Fruit Geode, is a searingly personal account of making the transition to motherhood as a Jewish woman in the early years of the millenium. Exclusively for JWA, Rabins reflects on her inspiration and creative process for two selected poems.

Jewish Radical Feminism, by Joyce Antler

An Interview With Joyce Antler about "Jewish Radical Feminism"

Joyce Antler

JWA sat down with Joyce Antler, renowned social and cultural historian, to discuss her most recent book, Jewish Radical Feminism: Voices from the Women's Liberation Movement.

Photography then, photography now

A Picture and A Thousand Words

Lisa Kahn

I have more or less thought that contemporary photo culture was a bit over-the-top. But I have a newfound appreciation for people’s obsession with taking photos of everything. I’m not fully letting go of my criticism of its ability to deceive--but rather than thinking of photography as cheapened, I am now choosing to appreciate its democratic value.

Topics: Jewish History
Flyer for Betty Friedan's 1963 Presentation in Detroit

From the Archives: To Volunteer or Not to Volunteer? The Betty Friedan Conundrum

Robbie Terman

Betty Friedan helped pave the way for women in the workforce, and the world is better for it. But, contrary to her early advice, we should not forget the contributions of volunteers to our society.

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