LGBTQIA Rights

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Don’t call her Anna-Lou, or a lesbian

Judith Rosenbaum

In week three of my Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia self-education program, I've been thinking about Annie Leibovitz.

Topics: LGBTQIA Rights

Reconstructionist Judaism in the United States

The term “Reconstructionism” comes from his notion that Judaism should neither be reformed nor conserved, but reconstructed.

Bette Midler

Humor is an extremely effective tool with which to observe human behavior. When the comic laughs at herself as well as at the foibles of her audience, she creates a connection between people and an opportunity to examine serious subjects in a funny manner. Important and forbidden topics receive airings. Bette Midler’s knowing smile, which rarely leaves her face, reminds her audience that a humorous perspective, on any and all subjects, offers catharsis alongside illumination.

Lesbianism

For most of its three-thousand-year history, lesbianism has been a subject of little interest in Jewish texts and societies. Only in the late twentieth century have Jewish scholars and communities faced the issue of erotic love between women.

Henriette Fürth

Henriette Fürth succeeded in earning a much-needed income as a highly-regarded lecturer and journalist. In addition to publishing, Fürst found time to be involved in organizational life.

Käte Frankenthal

A stubborn nonconformist from an early age, Käte Frankenthal was a physician and politician active in Germany’s Social Democratic Party. While running her own successful private practice, she was active in sex reform legislation and played a prominent role in the Federation of Women Physicians.

Dalia Dorner

An avowed feminist and ardent defender of civil and human rights, Dalia Dorner (née Dolly Greenberg) was born in Turkey on March 3, 1934, and brought to Palestine in 1944. Her father, Levy Greenberg (1900–1944), a merchant who was born in Odessa, left Russia and at some time after the 1917 revolution immigrated to Istanbul. In 1928 he married Mina Markus (b. 1908), who was born in Turkey. A son, Edy, was born in 1937. When Levy Greenberg developed cancer, he hastened to bring the entire family to Palestine, where he died shortly afterwards.

Barbara Dobkin

Barbara Berman Dobkin is the pre-eminent Jewish feminist philanthropist of the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first century. Her vision, dedication, generosity and financial commitment have contributed significantly to changing the landscape of Jewish women’s organizations and funding in both North America and Israel. In her central pursuit of the full equality and integration of women and women’s issues into every aspect of Jewish life, Dobkin co-founded Ma’yan: The Jewish Women’s Project and has served as the chair of The Jewish Women’s Archive and the ten million dollar Hadassah Foundation. She has also been a pioneering donor-activist on Jewish gay and lesbian issues, in progressive Israeli organizations, and in the U.S. women’s funding movement, and has garnered a national reputation as a speaker on issues of women’s philanthropy and leadership.

Bridges: A Journal for Jewish Feminists and Our Friends

Drawing on the traditional Jewish values of justice and repair of the world and insights honed by the feminist, lesbian and gay movements, seven Jewish women began to publish Bridges: A Journal for Jewish Feminists and Our Friends in 1990.

Evelyn Torton Beck

Evelyn Torton Beck is Professor Emerita of women’s studies as well as an affiliate faculty member in the Jewish studies and comparative literature programs at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). She is a scholar, a teacher, a feminist, and an outspoken Jew and lesbian on campus. With her energy and drive, the state flagship campus has become a more welcome place for Jewish, female, and homosexual students, faculty, and staff.

Shulamit Aloni

Passionate, principled, provocative, and above all path breaking, Shulamit Aloni has left a greater imprint on Israeli political life and public discourse than any woman to come of age after Israel’s independence.

Bella Abzug

Born in the Bronx on July 24, 1920, Bella (Savitzky) Abzug predated women’s right to vote by one month. A tireless and indomitable fighter for justice and peace, equal rights, human dignity, environmental integrity and sustainable development, Bella Abzug advanced human goals and political alliances worldwide.

A community for queer Orthodox women

Lily Rabinoff-Goldman

As a new “blog roller,” I have been amazed to see what fascinating ideas and communities exist on the dynamic web. Yesterday, I came across Tirtzah: A Community of Frum Queer Women, a multi-author blog associated with an eponymous, in-person community based out of New York City. It’s a new blog – there are only a few posts up yet, but what is there so far, feels fresh and exciting.

An Army of Ex-Lovers

Judith Rosenbaum

I have a love/hate relationship with memoirs. I start them with a healthy appetite for the juicy details of the author's life, but about halfway through, I develop a sudden distaste and a mounting sense of outrage: who does this person think s/he IS? Such arrogance, to assume that I would care about all these details!

What would Bella do?

Judith Rosenbaum

Today is the tenth anniversary of the death of Bella Abzug, activist extraordinaire. With her big hats and even bigger charismatic personality, her sharp mind and even sharper tongue, Bella took on the world and changed it. As a young girl, she spoke on street corners for Hashomer Hatzair, the socialist Zionist youth movement. As a young lawyer in the 1950s, she took on civil rights causes in the atmosphere of McCarthyism. As a mother and activist, she fought for a nuclear-free world with Women Strike for Peace.

Courage and Dissent: The Work of Irshad Manji

Jordan Namerow

I first heard the word "Refusenik" applied to Israelis who refuse to serve in the Israeli Defense Force. Then I heard it in relation to Jewish citizens of the former Soviet Union who were refused permission to emigrate. I learned the word in a third context -- "Muslim Refusenik" -- a few years ago, when I heard Irshad Manji speak at my college. Ms. Manji is a Canadian lesbian Muslim feminist.

Joan Nestle in the Blogosphere!

Jordan Namerow

An exciting development in the blogosphere -- Joan Nestle has a blog! One would expect that a blog created by the founder of The Lesbian Herstory Archives would be nothing short of provocative and indeed, Nestle's first two entries are exactly that.

Mazel Tov, Massachusetts!

Jordan Namerow

Yesterday was no ordinary lunch break. When noon rolled around, Judith, Emilie, and I headed downtown to the Massachusetts State House for the Constitutional Convention to rally in solidarity with other gay rights activists. With almond butter and jam sandwiches in hand, we cheered as we heard that the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage had been defeated 151-45, ensuring that same-sex marriage would remain legal.

Bold, Beautiful Jewesses and GLBT Pride!

Jordan Namerow

June is GLBT Pride Month! To enrich your celebration, check out JWA's new online feature: Jewish Women and GLBT Pride. Do you know who introduced the first Federal bill to support gay/lesbian rights? A Jewess, of course! That's something to be proud of. Happy Pride!

Topics: LGBTQIA Rights

What if a Jew Becomes a Jewess?

Jordan Namerow

A few months ago, I got a call from my mom, a university professor, who had a student she described as “extremely androgynous with a unisex name.” She didn’t know how to address this student using a pronoun and asked me: “What should I do? What should I say?” I didn’t have a good answer.

Justice, Community, and Adrienne Rich

Jordan Namerow

April is National Poetry Month, and over the past few days I’ve been re-reading some poems by my favorite poet, Adrienne Rich. There’s so much that I love about Rich and her writing. I love how powerfully—and radically—she fuses political commitment and the pursuit of justice into her poetic vision. She writes provocatively on sexuality, race, language, power, and women’s culture as she combats racism, militarism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism.

What's in an Orange?

Jordan Namerow

As I prepare for Passover, I’ve been struck by the wide range of explanations given for why some Jews include an orange on a Seder plate.

JTS Welcomes Gays and Lesbians!

Jordan Namerow

Earlier today, the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) announced its decision to open its doors to gay and lesbian rabbinical and cantorial students, a decision that is effective immediately!

A Thorny Future for Gay and Lesbian Conservative Rabbis

Jordan Namerow

Gay and lesbian rabbis. Same-sex unions. These issues have been hotly debated in Jewish life for decades and perhaps more divisively within the Conservative movement. But yesterday marked a historical shift in the Conservative movement's position. Leaders of the movement's Committee on Law and Standards approved a rabbinic opinion permitting the ordination of gay and lesbian rabbis and sanctioning same-sex unions.

Really HOT

Judith Rosenbaum

By now you all know I’ve got a lot of issues with what our world looks like these days. Near the top of my list is popular media’s degrading representation of women and girls, who are objectified and usually valued only for their appearance and sexiness (as defined by men). So all hail the REAL hot 100 – a list compiled by a bevy of kick-ass young feminists to counter Maxim Magazine’s annual “Hot 100” list and to redefine what makes women hot.

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