Spirituality and Religious Life

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Alexandra Kukoff

A Jewish girl’s guide to a bat mitzvah project

Alexandra Kukoff

I felt overwhelmed when deciding what to do for a bat mitzvah project.

Not this again: Women asked to move to the back of the bus in Brooklyn

Leah Berkenwald

"Women told they must ride back of the bus in Brooklyn"

I saw this headline on Jezebel.com and thought, "Not again." It's been less than two weeks since we heard about Yiddish signs asking Jewish women to "move to the side when a man approaches." Is it just me, or is the Hasidic/secular battle for public space in Brooklyn getting out of hand?

Reconsidering Jewish sororities must involve a systematic reconsideration of Greek life

Chanel Dubofsky

They seemed like they were everywhere, since where my friends and I lived on campus was known for its Greek population.

Yiddish Signs in Brooklyn

Yiddish signs tell women to "move to the side"

Yenta Laureate of the Lower East Side

If we are to judge what is Jewish by what Jews do (or don't do), we might conclude this week that Jews apparently welcome the New Year with apples, honey, and signs about where women should stand.

Boston Fashion Week Logo

When the Jewish calendar and the fashion calendar conflict: My letter to Boston Fashion Week

Kate Bigam

Last week, I received an invitation to attend Fall... In Love With Fashion, billed as "a fun and chic night of fashion at Northshore Mall complete with runway fashion shows, hors d'oeuvres, cocktails & much more!" Sounds fun, right? I thought so, too, & was planning to attend - until I realized that the event falls on September 29th, which is Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest of Jewish holidays.

Etta King and Her Mom, Yael

Righteously bouncing back: What baking challah means to me

Etta King Heisler

The first thing you should know about making challah is this: DO NOT BE AFRAID! I find that many people are intimidated by the thought of making their own challah.

Rosh Hashanah video roundup

Kate Bigam

If YouTube searches are any indication, we Jews love making music videos, and holidays offer the perfect opportunity to create new ones and hope they go viral.

Moroccan Swiss Chard Salad (Salade de Blettes)

Eating Jewish: North African salads for Rosh Hashanah

Katherine Romanow

Not only is it almost the beginning of a new year, but the weather is beginning to change and the tomatoes, zucchini and corn that have been so plentiful over the summer are being replaced by squash, apples, pears, figs and a multitude of other autumn fruits and vegetables. The availability of all this fantastic produce has made the High Holidays one of my favorite times on the Jewish calendar to be cooking. This is especially true for Rosh Hashanah, when the food symbolism of the holiday necessitates the use of seasonal fruits and vegetables.

"Estie the Mensch" cover by Jane Kohuth, 2011

Interview with Jane Kohuth: "Estie the Mensch"

Leah Berkenwald

Estie would rather be a dog or a turtle or a monkey than a person.

The G-D Project Logo

The G-D Project: So far, short on women's voices

Kate Bigam

It’s no breaking news that social media has changed the way communities of faith interact.

Jewpiter Photoshop

Ultra-Orthodox photoshop of horrors: Round 2

Leah Berkenwald

In May, the Hasidic Jewish newspaper, Der Tzitung, made a lot of people angry by photoshopping Hillary Clinton out of a photo in the name of tzniut, or modesty. Within days, the incident spawned a fabulous internet meme where people photoshopped women out of iconic images. The point that photoshop should not be used to erase or alter women in images as to rewrite history or reality was made ... or so we thought.

Mengedarrah

Eating Jewish: Mengedarrah for Tisha B’Av

Katherine Romanow

I wanted to write an Eating Jewish post about Tisha b’Av, yet as I started looking through my various cookbooks, I noticed that most of them had no mention of the holiday. It was often missing from the index and even recipes containing ingredients that would usually be included in a dish prepared on Tisha b'Av had no mention of it. I did find mention of Tisha b’Av in Gil Marks' Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, which devotes an entry to it (there’s a reason I’m constantly referring to this book) as well as in his cookbook The World of Jewish Food.

Tisha B'Av and 9/11

Rabbi Lori Koffman

This was originally posted at Mamash and Rabbis for Human Rights-North America.

“A day of darkness and gloom; a day of cloud and shadows; spread like soot over the hills…their vanguard a consuming fire, in their wake a devouring flame”

These are the words of the Hebrew prophet Joel. The Tradition tells us that this, Joel’s prophecy, portended the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE; scholars, however, claim that these words are more probably a report on the devastation and destruction that the enemy, Babylon, actually wrought upon the Jews.

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

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!

Julie Rosewald

Julie Rosewald: America's first woman cantor

Judith S. Pinnolis

She wrote a book. She was an actress. She sang opera. She became a professor. She toured the world by herself. She paid her own way. She was a musical superstar.

Ellyn Polsky and George Kelley at JWA's 2011 Summer Institute for Educators

JWA's Institute for Educators: Making it all about the learning

George Kelley

Last week I was able to spend a week learning from the wonderful people at the Jewish Women's Archive as they were teaching us how to use their online archive in our schools, especially the Living the Legacy curriculum. The curriculum teaches about the role of Jewish women and men in the civil rights movement, an event that changed the world we live in.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," Part II, 2011

Harry Potter: Four progressive lessons for the Jewish Community

Leah Berkenwald

Last weekend the eighth and final Harry Potter movie hit theaters. In the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling created a magical alternate universe.

Bejma (Tunisian Shabbat Bread)

Eating Jewish: Shabbat bread done differently

Katherine Romanow

When I think of Shabbat dinner, one of the first things that comes to mind is the sweet, dense challah that I love so much. It has become so popular that it can be purchased in bakeries all week long, and like many of the iconic Jewish foods of North America (bagels, knishes, pastrami, and smoked meat, to name a few) it was introduced by members of the European Jewish community.

"My Bat Mitzvah Story" Logo

Bat Mitzvah: A Balancing Act

Etta King Heisler

A few months back, I dragged my 12-year-old, Harry-Potter-enthusiast sister to go with me to see the new Disney princess movie Tangled (which retells the Rapunzel story). In one part of the film, Rapunzel has just escaped from the tower against her mother's wishes and is encountering the World, and her independence, for the first time. (Watch the clip here.) While her companion patiently waits for her to come to terms with her new-found freedom, Rapunzel goes from one extreme to the other, from excitement to shame and worry.

Domestic Abuse: “That Doesn’t Happen Here”

Kate Bigam

I confess that even at age 26, my usual reading list consists of young adult science fiction novels, usually set in the future (see: The Uglies series, The Hunger Games series, The Mortal Instruments series, and so on. Stop judging me – I want to be a YA author!) Recently, though, I challenged myself to break out of my comfort zone and read a few more adult novels, which led me to “The Murderer’s Daughters.”

Natalie Portman at the Toronto International Film Festival, 2010

Natalie's baby: Who cares if the father's not Jewish?

Kenny Steven Fuentes

Last week, the tabloid world went abuzz over news that Natalie Portman had given birth to her first child, a baby boy fathered by Benjamin Millepied. Portman and I have had a tumultuous relationship over the years. Had this news broken back when I was a young lad 13 years of age, I'd have been heart broken. However, due to my current status as a 25 year old cynic, I find myself barely registering this news. I pay no mind to most celebrity gossip, and politely decline to partake in most related discussions.

When synagogues downsize, women rabbis are the first to go

Leah Berkenwald

Rabbi Charni Flame Selch lost her job when her synagogue, Bnai Emet Synagogue in St. Louis Park, MN, merged with a nearby Minnetonka congregation. A recent article in the Star Tribune suggests that the economic recession is making the road even harder for female rabbis.

Rabbi Kleinbaum at Gay Marriage Demontration

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

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).

Brit Milah

About Circumcision

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.

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