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Collage of Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift's Feminism is Death by a Thousand Cuts

Sara Weinstein

Despite my love for Swift, her music, and the community she provides, we as Swifties must recognize that her activism, and specifically her feminism, deserve our critique.

Topics: Music, Feminism
Collage of Naomi Weisstein and Megan Thee Stallion

Rock and Roll, Rap, and Women’s Rights

Roz Larsen

Simply showing up and being loud while making something beautiful was another form of protest in itself.

Topics: Music
Maestro Film Still

Beyond "Maestro's" Prosthetics and Into Bernstein's World

Sarah Jae Leiber

Bradley Cooper’s Maestro nose, in context, reads less to me like internalized antisemitism and more like Cooper’s deep, spiritual obsession with getting it right.

Topics: Film, Music
Collage of Alicia Jo Rabins and a river on purple background

Finding Meaning in Midrash Through Song

Olivia Gnad

When I heard Alicia Jo Rabins' performance of “River So Wide,” it brought the world of the Torah close to me in a way it had never been before.

Birth of Yemenite-Israeli Singer Shlomit Levi

March 9, 1983

Singer Shlomit Levi is dedicated to depicting music’s power to connect. Her singing career portrays the beauty of finding one’s way back to one’s own roots, as well as the importance of defying boundaries. She is mainly self-taught, and as she describes, “When I compose, I just do it by singing. You find your ways. Sometimes it turns out special because I do stuff other musicians wouldn’t do” (Jewish Standard).

Birth of Leila Murad, Egyptian Singer and Actress

February 17, 1918

The face and voice of Leila Murad were well-known to the Arab world between the 1930s and the 1950s. Murad, like many other Jewish movie stars, struggled to reconcile her career with a religion that oftentimes obstructed paths to success. Her father, a Jewish chazan (cantor) and respected musician, nurtured her stardom, training her and introducing her to prominent Egyptian actors and musicians.

Tatiana Wecshler Headshot

7 Questions For Tatiana Wechsler

Jen Richler

Our new series 7 Questions For... debuts with Black Jewish actor/singer/songwriter Tatiana Wecshler. 

Topics: Theater, Music
Collage of band Sleater-Kinney on red background

Get Angry: Carrie Brownstein and the Legacy of Riot Grrrl

Ava Weinstein

Judaism’s core teachings of tikkun olam, social justice, and equality are what the riot grrrl movement was all about. Sleater-Kinney is no different.

Topics: Music, Feminism, Protests

Helen Hirsch

Women Whose Lives Span the Century

Betsy Friedman Abrams interviewed Helen Hirsch on August 8, 1997, in Falmouth, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Whose Lives Spanned The Century Oral History Project. Hirsch discusses her childhood in Boston, her father's involvement in founding a synagogue and tailoring business, her education, her work during the Great Depression, her participation in religious and community organizations, and her love for music and family.

Selma Finstein

Women Whose Lives Span the Century

Betsy Friedman Abrams and Roberta Burstein interviewed Selma Gross Finstein on September 30, 1997, in Waltham, Massachusetts, as part of Women Whose Lives Spanned The Century Oral History Project. Finstein discusses growing up in a predominantly non-Jewish area, her involvement in Temple Israel, her education at Boston Teacher's College and teaching at the Boston Public Library, her second career at Brandeis, and the influential people in her life.

Louise Azose

Weaving Women's Words

Roz Bornstein interviewed Louise Azose on April 18 and May 26, 2001, in Seattle, Washington, as part of the Weaving Women's Words Oral History Project. A Sephardic Jew from Turkey, Azose shares her immigration experience, family life, involvement in her synagogue, traditional cooking, cultural customs, the challenges of separation from her family, raising her children during World War II, the role of singing in her family, and her travels.

Richard Perles

Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Richard Perles on September 1, 2006, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Perles is a lawyer, musician, and active volunteer from Boston who now resides in New Orleans, serving on the board of a Jewish Day School, practicing law, playing music, and engaging in various charitable activities.

Deborah Markowitz

DAVAR: Vermont Jewish Women's History Project

Sandra Stillman Gartner and Ann Buffum interviewed Deborah Markowitz on July 12, 20005, in Montpelier, Vermont, as part of the Vermont Jewish Women's Oral History Project.  Markowitz explores her Ukrainian heritage, family history, the influence of music, her Jewish education, her commitment to Tikkun Olam, her role as Secretary of State in Vermont, and her efforts to improve civic engagement and support victims of domestic violence.

Figurine of woman playing drum

From the Archive: Woman Playing Frame Drum

Deborah Dash Moore
Mimi Jessica Brown Wooten

The Posen Library shares a nearly 3000-year-old figurine of a woman playing a hand-drum.

Topics: Sculpture, Music, Bible

Ben Jaffe

Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Ben Jaffe on September 6, 2006, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of the Katrina’s Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Jaffe talks about his upbringing in the French Quarter of New Orleans, his family's contribution to the revival of traditional jazz through Preservation Hall, his experiences during Hurricane Katrina, and his efforts to rebuild and preserve the city's music culture.

Phyllis Isaacson

DAVAR: Vermont Jewish Women's History Project

Sandra Stillman Gartner and Ann Buffum interviewed Phyllis Wolfson Isaacson on January 24, 2008, in Brattleboro, Vermont, as part of the DAVAR: Vermont Jewish Women's History Project, Isaacson shares her family history, musical journey, experiences as a music teacher and conductor, and her involvement with Jewish communities, highlighting the challenges she faced as a woman in a male-dominated field.

Habiba Msika, Tunisian Actress and Singer, is Murdered

February 21, 1930

On February 21, 1930, Habiba Msika, a Tunisian actress and singer, was murdered. Often called the “first star of Tunis,” Msika rose to fame across the Maghreb and Middle East because of her beautiful voice and unique talent to entertain. Her life of luxury was brought to an untimely end by her murder by a jealous suitor.

Ester Rada Releases “Nanu Ney,” the First Amharic Song on Israeli Pop Radio

October 19, 2014

On October 19, 2014, Ester Rada, an Ethiopian-Israeli actress and singer-songwriter, released “Nanu Ney.” The song was a major success and became the first Amharic song played on Israeli pop radio. (Traditional Amharic songs were played on Amharic stations, whose audience was mostly older Ethiopian-Israelis.)

Shannie Goldstein

Women Who Dared

Abriel Louise Young interviewed Shannie Goldstein on January 12, 2005, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Goldstein explores her family history, childhood in Lowell, Massachusetts, her Jewish education, her involvement in the Soviet Jewry movement, her undercover trips to the Soviet Union, her views on feminism, her battle with breast cancer, and her engagement in the Jewish community.

Rachel Van Voorhees

Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Rachel Van Voorhees on August 2, 2007, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Van Voorhees shares her path as a harpist with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and discusses her life in New Orleans, including her Jewish identity and the impact of Hurricane Katrina on her home and family.

Illeana Douglas as Denise Waverly in Grace of My Heart

You Probably Missed This Film When It Came out 25 Years Ago. Don’t Let That Happen Again.

Sarah Jae Leiber

This holiday season, skip the blockbusters and watch Grace Of My Heart instead.

Mahinarangi Tocker

New Zealand singer-songwriter Mahinaarangi Tocker (1955-2008) was best known as a Maori musician, but her Jewish heritage was an essential component of her identity and her music.

Episode 59: Zohra El Fassia

Zohra El Fassia was born around 1905 near Fez, Morocco. She sang from the time she was a girl, and by the mid-20th century, she was a star. El Fassia recorded hundreds of songs for international record labels and performed regularly for the king in Rabat. When she moved to Israel in 1962, her career took a hit, but she sought out smaller venues and was soon rediscovered by younger Moroccan Israeli artists. Zohra El Fassia died in 1994. Writer and ethnomusicologist Tamar Sella tells her story for Can We Talk? and for JWA's revised and updated edition of the Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women.

Julie Rosewald

Julie Eichberg Rosewald was America’s first woman cantor. Known as the “Cantor Soprano” at Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco, she served between 1884 and 1893. Rosewald enjoyed a brilliantly successful career in opera as well as being a composer, author, teacher, and professor of music.

Zohra El Fassia

Zohra El Fassia was a renowned singer and recording artist in twentieth-century Morocco. Her life story moves between the burgeoning colonial recording industry in the Maghrib to North African immigrant histories in the south of Israel. El Fassia’s soulful music and powerful persona have resonated with generations of artists and activists who look to her for the unheard stories of Jews in the Arab and Muslim world and of Mizrahi Jews in Israel.


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