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Episode 104: Crying and Doing: Iris Bahr and her Aging Mother

Iris Bahr was halfway around the world when she saw her mother having a stroke over video chat. Within days, she was on an airplane, uprooting her life to become her mother’s primary caregiver. The stroke led to vascular dementia– an irreversible condition. Iris is a writer and actor and chronicles the story in a poignant—and funny— one-woman show See You Tomorrow.  In this episode of Can We Talk?, Nahanni speaks with Iris Bahr about caring for her aging mother and about creating art from personal tragedy. Excerpts from Iris’s show are woven throughout the interview.

Woman standing in front of a building

Separate Trips to Poland Brought My Mother and Me Closer

Isadora Kianovsky

My mother and I had always been close. But separate trips to Poland deepened our connection. 

Line drawing of woman holding up a baby on blue and white background

Confronting the Jewish Mother Stereotype

Clara Sorkin

Is my over-reliance on my mother and her eagerness to support me subconsciously preserving the stereotype that has continually shaped our community in a negative light?

Topics: Motherhood, Children

Episode 93: Alice Shalvi: Israeli Feminist Pioneer

Alice Shalvi has been an Israeli feminist pioneer for decades. Born in Germany and raised in England, she moved to Israel in 1949, a young woman excited to help build a new state. She’s spent her life there, working for gender equality and a more just society. In this episode of Can We Talk?, Judith Rosenbaum joins us to tell Alice’s story, and to talk about the ways she’s fought to make Israel a better country. You'll also hear excerpts from conversations between Judith and Alice.



Episode 90: Reproductive Rights After Roe

When the Supreme Court issued the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v Wade, it eliminated the constitutional right to an abortion. As of April 2023, it is now essentially illegal to have an abortion in 15 states. That means limited to no access to terminating a pregnancy. But many people don't realize these bans also affect people who want to get pregnant. Jessica Kalb, Lisa Sobel, and Sarah Baron are among those people. They're suing their home state of Kentucky for its abortion ban, claiming it violates their right to grow their families and their religious freedom as Jews. In this episode of Can We Talk?, we bring you a story about the far-reaching consequences of the Dobbs decision, and three Jewish women who are fighting back. 

Ruth Finkelstein

Weaving Women's Words

Marcie Cohen Ferris interviewed Dr. Ruth Finkelstein on August 30, 2001, in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the Weaving Women's Words project. Dr. Finkelstein reflects on her upbringing in New York City, her journey as a female medical student, her experiences as an obstetrician, balancing career and family life, and her engagement in the Jewish community and organizations like Planned Parenthood.

Lech by Sara Lippman Book Cover

"Lech" Complicates Familial Relationships

Chanel Dubofsky

As Lippmann's characters in Lech excavate their lives in search of clarity, they're ultimately left with this truth: what we're told to believe about ourselves and the world is never all there is.

Rothschild Family Tree

Why Are Women Left Out of Jewish Genealogy?

Abby Rickin-Marks

With all the information Jewish genealogical sites offer, why are women so often left out?

Barbara Seaman

Barnard: Jewish Women Changing America

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Barbara Seaman on October 30, 2005, in New York, New York, as part of the Barnard: Jewish Women Changing America Oral History Project. Seaman discusses her research on preventative hysterectomies, the influence of Rose Kushner, her family history, activism in the women's movement, and challenges as an activist journalist confronting the pharmaceutical industry.

Althea Diesenhaus Stroum

Weaving Women's Words

Pamela Brown-Lavitt interviewed Althea Diesenhaus Stroum on July 23, 2001, in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the Weaving Women's Words Oral History Project. Stroum discusses her upbringing, family history, experiences of antisemitism, community activism, marriage, role as a mother, support for the arts, and philanthropy.

Episode 85: Teens and Mental Health in the (Post)Pandemic

Teens were already struggling before COVID. When the pandemic hit, things just got worse. In this episode of Can We Talk?, we speak with Vanessa Kroll Bennett, co-host of The Puberty Podcast, parenting writer, and mother of four, about teens and mental health—before, during, and after the pandemic—gender differences, and what caregivers and Jewish communities can do to help. We also hear directly from teens about how the pandemic affected them and how they're doing now. 

Karen Weissbecker Remer

Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Karen Weissbecker Remer on September 27, 2006, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Remer discusses her transition from Conservative Judaism to modern Orthodox Judaism, her experience during Hurricane Katrina, and the impact it had on her life and community.

Bernice Mossafer Rind

Weaving Women's Words

Pamela Brown Lavitt interviewed Bernice Mossafer Rind on June 5 and July 20, 2001, in Medina, Washington, as part of the Weaving Women's Words Oral History Project. Rind recounts her family's history, her upbringing in Seattle, her musical career, meeting her husband, raising their son, volunteer work, Sephardic rituals, a trip to Israel, and her perspectives on family, Jewish heritage, aging, and personal philosophies.

Vivienne Shub

Weaving Women's Words

Elaine Eff interviewed Vivienne Shub on September 4, 2001, in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the Weaving Women's Words Oral History Project. Shub talks about her family background, her parents' activism, her journey as an actress, founding Center Stage in Baltimore, her involvement in cultural and political movements, her love for Jewish and Yiddish culture, and reflections on various aspects of her life and career.

Ruth Zakarin, a community organizer, and her daughter at a March For Our Lives rally in Boston.

Watching with Pride and Sadness as a New Generation Takes up the Fight

Ruth Zakarin

I’m proud that my children are fighting for gun violence prevention and abortion rights. But I wish they didn’t have to.

Toni Weiss

Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Toni Weiss on July 11, 2007, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Weiss discusses her upbringing in Tucson, her experiences during Hurricane Katrina, rebuilding her life as a single mother, career transitions, remarriage, and her commitment to community and spirituality.

Film still from Kissing Jessica Stein: two women kissing

The Expansive Queerness of "Kissing Jessica Stein"

Emma Breitman

Kissing Jessica Stein flips the heteronormative script, making for a fun watch over 20 years after its release. 

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.

Two black-and-white photos of girls

Czarna, Reimagined

Julie Zuckerman

A previous essay for JWA leads Julie Zuckerman to a long-lost relative and opens a door to her family’s past.

Woman stands on in subway car with her head peeking through open doors

"Russian Doll" Season 2: Messy, but Beautiful

Emma Breitman

Despite a sloppy start, the show’s second season ultimately hooked me with its exploration of Jewish themes.

Jennifer Sartori holding her baby baby daughter

For Jewish Adoptive Mothers Like Me, Mother’s Day is Anything But Simple

Jennifer Sartori

The “Hallmark holiday” stopped being torturous after I adopted my daughter. But it will always be complicated.

Collage of old photo of author's grandmother and her brisket recipe in a frame

A Recipe That Defies Time—Just Like Passover Itself

Savoy Curry

The ingredients are simple, but the connections to my family and to Jewish history run deep.

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.

Therese Shechter stands in front of a bunch of strollers in My So-Called Selfish Life

Childfree, with No Regrets and No Apologies

Dr. Helene Meyers

Full of insights from experts and the joyously childfree, this film expands our understanding of reproductive justice.

Rachel Kest with her two children

Kids Are Struggling. As Parents of Kids with Disabilities Already Know, Schools Can Help.

Rachel Kest

For tips on how to help kids thrive, look no further than parents of kids with disabilities—and Maimonides.


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