Politics and Government

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Entitlement and its Discontents

by  Judith Rosenbaum

This week, New York Magazine’s cover features an oral history of Ms. Magazine, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Bella Abzug at a Women Strike for Peace Protest

Women Strike for Peace: 50 years later

by  Chanel Dubofsky

Fifty years ago yesterday, the 1961 formation of Women Strike for Peace (WSP) marked a new era for activism, creating a new stage on which women could concentrate their power. In 1984, WSP described in their own words the beginning of their movement: "100,000 women from 60 cities came out of kitchens and jobs to demand: END THE ARMS RACE - NOT THE HUMAN RACE, and WSP was born."

Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein

Jewesses in politics represent!

by  Kate Bigam

This week marks a big one when it comes to major anniversaries of Jewish women in politics.

Rose Schneiderman

Her Hat Was In The Ring: New site shares stories of women in politics before 1920

by  Leah Berkenwald

Kristen Gwinn, Wendy Chmielewski, and Jill Norgren, students of women's history, had a goal: To explore whether women ran for elective office in substantial numbers before ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. Thanks to their work, we now know THEY DID. The fruits of their research are now available in a database on a new, free website: www.herhatwasinthering.org.

Jane Harman

Jane Harman to receive NJDC's inaugural Tzedek Award

by  Kate Bigam

The National Jewish Democratic Council is presenting its inaugural Tzedek Award tonight – and the first recipient is former Congresswoman Jane Harman.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Rep. Wasserman Schultz on abortion: 'This is personal'

by  Sarah Seltzer

Anyone who has spent time arguing about politics–particularly hot-button issues like abortion–is familiar with “glazed-eyes, nodding syndrome” which is what happens when listeners (who may even agree with us) grow uncomfortable with the topic and hope to goodness we move on, soon, and yes, yes, women’s rights blah blah blah. It’s just politics, these expressions tell us; why act like it’s so personal? Or maybe it’s just too depressing and abstract to contemplate.

Bella Abzug on the cover of "Life Magazine," June 9, 1972

Three ways not to celebrate Women's Equality Day

by  Gloria Feldt

As second wave feminism gathered peak velocity forty years ago, the late bombastic and behatted Congresswoman (D-NY) Bella Abzug persuaded Congress to designate August 26th as Women’s Equality Day. It recognized the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that in 1920 gave all U.S. women the right to vote.

Gertrude Weil Poster

Jewesses for Suffrage

by  Leah Berkenwald

On August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibiting any citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex was ratified. Today, 91 years later, we take a look back at the Jewish women who dedicated their lives to women's suffrage in America and around the world. This is by no means a comprehensive list; so many Jewish women fought for suffrage, this is merely a sample of the stories we know.

How many more stories have yet to be told?

Elena Kagan

Justice Kagan's first year on the bench

by  Kate Bigam

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan is inarguably a Jewess with attitude – not to mention clout and intelligence. Justice Kagan, who was sworn into office on August 7, 2010, has just wrapped up her first year as an Associate Justice on the country’s highest court, and what a year it’s been.

Roseanne Barr, 2010

Roseanne for President 2012?

by  Leah Berkenwald

Last Thursday on "The Tonight Show," Roseanne Barr announced her candidacy for President in 2012. Inspired by Sarah Palin (who she claims is stealing her act), Roseanne plans to run as a member of the "Green Tea Party" on the platform of "no taxes, the forgiveness of student loans and all debts and the use of vegetables instead of money."

Gabrielle Giffords

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returns to vote on debt ceiling

by  Leah Berkenwald

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the bill to raise the debt ceiling. While the bill itself may not have made everyone happy, the appearance of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords sure did!

Gay, Jewish New Yorkers: Mazel tov to the newlyweds!

by  Kate Bigam

Maybe you’ve heard: As of last Sunday, same-sex marriage became legal in the state of New York. The law, which passed in June, went into effect over the weekend.

Let’s recap some of the Jewish highlights this new law brought about, shall we? There are quite a few of them!

Birth Control

Institute of Medicine recommends that birth control be covered by private insurers

by  Debra Nussbaum Cohen

When I was a young adult and ready to start on the birth control pill, I found that its cost was not covered by my health insurance. Paying the retail price was onerous. It didn’t seem right that insurance wouldn’t cover contraception, though it did cover the cost of giving birth and possibly even abortion. It just didn’t make any sense.

Now, finally, the federal government is ready to rectify the situation, and make contraception more economically accessible to women and men by requiring health insurance to cover its cost.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Rep. Allen West tells Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to "act like a Lady"

by  Leah Berkenwald

Yesterday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Democratic National Committee Chairwoman and Jewess with Attitude) reproached Rep. Allen West on his opposition to raising the debt ceiling and his support of the "Cut, Cap, and Balance" vote. 

Irene Levine Paull circa 1960s

"Irene": A collection of stories and poems from a life lived courageously

by  Bonnie Paull

Her writings are archived in the Minnesota Historical Society. The Minneapolis Public Library has a chair in her name.

In Shifra's Arms does not reflect a "Jewish divide" on abortion

by  Emily Kadar

A year ago, Washington Jewish Week reported on a new crisis pregnancy center (CPC) called In Shifra’s Arms. Unlike the vast majority of CPCs, which are typically funded and run by Christian organizations or churches, In Shifra’s Arms strives to serve women in the Jewish community.

"Donovan's Big Day" front Cover by Lesléa Newman

New York's Big Day

by  Leah Berkenwald

We were thrilled to see gay marriage pass in New York this weekend, just in time for the release of Lesléa Newman’s new book, Donovan's Big Day. Lesléa Newman is the author of the classic children's book Heather Has Two Mommies, which has helped a generation of childern see their families represented in the books they read. Her new book takes the work a step further by familiarizing the experience of watching one's parents get married.

Rabbi Kleinbaum at Gay Marriage Demontration

Reinventing Rituals: June, a month of Pride and same-sex marriages

by  Elyssa Cohen

June is full of irony: not only is June Pride month, but it is also the unofficial start to wedding season. So many are still fighting for equal marriage. As I write this, lawmakers in Albany are struggling to garner enough votes to make same-sex marriage legal in New York state (see resources to get involved at the end of this post).

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum stands up for gay marriage in the face of Jewish prejudice

by  Leah Berkenwald

Yesterday a scuffle broke out between a group of Rockland Hassidic men and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. The incident occurred during a protest outside the New York state senate where a gay marriage bill is currently under debate.

Brit Milah

About Circumcision

by  Galit Breen

A proposal to ban circumcision will be on the San Francisco ballot this November.

As a Jewish Mama, my response should fall somewhere along the lines of outrage and a head-tisk.

And as a bleeding heart Mama, my response should be somewhere in the range of agreement and an apology to my son.

I whole-heartdely feel all of these emotions. In other words, I’m conflicted.

I don’t agree with the circumcision ban. But you might be surprised why.

Shoshannah Stern Takes a Silent Stand Against Sexual Violence

by  Renee Ghert-Zand

The deaf Jewish actress Shoshannah Stern is more than a little bit angry — and for good reason.

Jaclyn Friedman

Jaclyn Friedman speaks out against slut-shaming and victim blaming at Slutwalk

by  Leah Berkenwald

Jaclyn Friedman is a 'Jewess with Attitude' who talks the talk and walks the walk -- the Slutwalk, that is. Jaclyn Friedman, founder and the Executive Director of Women, Action & the Media, is a powerful voice in the current Feminist movement. Co-author of Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape, she is particularly concerned with tearing down rape culture.

Parshat Emor: What it means to leave a legacy

by  Elyssa Cohen

In our lives:
This past week we have seen a “modern” example of sacrifice upon hearing the news of American troops killing Osama Bin Laden. All week I reflected on what Osama’s life meant and the legacy he would be remembered by. Reading countless news articles caused me to question, was Osama happy? And, although the US spent a decade hunting him, did our country do the right thing by killing him? These are not easy questions, and there may not be easy answers.

Judith Frieze, June 21, 1961

Why do we act? Lessons from the Freedom Rides

by  Judith Rosenbaum

Fifty years ago, in May 1961, a small group of civil rights activists embarked on a journey that would change them and change America. Boarding buses headed south for what they termed a "Freedom Ride," these young black and white activists challenged segregation by sitting together on the bus and in the waiting rooms of bus stations.  Though the Supreme Court had already declared segregation in interstate travel illegal, the Federal Government was not enforcing the law, so the Freedom Riders engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience to call attention to this injustice.

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