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Television

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Collage of a Barbie Doll

The Real-World Impacts of Barbie Dolls

Elah Tuchshnieder

Despite her being a doll, I believed Barbie was the beauty standard. That all changed when I saw the Barbie movie this summer.

Collage of a Gravestone

Finding Humanity in the Zombies of "The Last of Us"

Talia Waxman

Sometimes in the show, humanity emerges from these dysfunctional, robotically behaved individuals, leaving viewers with hope for us all. 

Avatar the Last Airbender logo over purple background with Jewish stars

The Surprising Jewishness of Avatar the Last Airbender

Sam Mezrich

ATLA's Air Nomads are based on Tibetan Buddhism, according to the show’s creators. Yet I also feel that there are also a lot of similarities between the Air Nomads and the Jewish people.

 

Topics: Television, Children

Episode 95: Word of the Week: Shiksa

From Portnoy’s Complaint to Seinfeld, the word “shiksa” is firmly embedded in popular culture. Where does the word come from, and how has its meaning changed over time? In this episode, we’re bringing back our “Word of the Week,” feature, where we dig into one word and explore how it relates to Jewish women. Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath, Keren McGinity, and Kylie Ora Lobell give us their takes.

Peggy Charren

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Peggy Charren on July 23, 2001, in Boston, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Charren talks about her family background, her advocacy for children's television programming through Action for Children's Television (ACT), her passion for literature, her marriage, and her reflections on her life and activism, including receiving prestigious honors.

Collage of Fran Fine and Janice Litman-Goralnik on pink striped background

Celebrating the Jewish Women of The Nanny and Friends

Ava Weinstein

In Janice from Friends and Fran from The Nanny, I see some of myself—a chatty Jewish woman with curls and a loud laugh—and I never found Janice annoying, or saw Fran as anything less than who she is: funny, beautiful, independent.

Collage of Alexa and Brennon Lemieux from Netflix's Love is Blind on purple patterned background

Celebrating An Inter-religious Couple on Love Is Blind

Sonia Freedman

Although I was somewhat unimpressed by Love Is Blind’s surface-level coverage of inter-religious relationships, it was beautiful to watch the Lemieux fall in love despite their very different backgrounds.

Collage of Julia Haart and a megillah scroll on an orange gradient background

Julia Haart: The Anti-Esther

Aviva Schilowitz

Queen Esther used her power to save and lift up other Jews. That’s my version of Jewish power and feminism. But Julia Haart, the star of My Unorthodox Life, uses her power as a weapon against other Jews.

Cartoon roll of film with a menorah on light pink background

Spiritual Jewish Representation on Film: Next Year’s Hanukkah Gift?

Samantha Berk

Watching the Hallmark movie Eight Gifts of Hanukkah, I felt like I could relate spiritually to a Jewish character portrayed in mainstream media for the first time. 

Collage of characters from TV show Bumper in Berlin on pink gradient background

The Pitch Perfect TV Spin-Off Offers Lots of Bumper And Little Feminism

Miriam Niestat

The first episode’s failure to pass the Bechdel Test was my first hint that Bumper in Berlin would not be the continuation of the Pitch Perfect movies I expected. 

Samantha Pickette Headshot and Book Cover

Q & A with Samantha Pickette, Author of "Peak TV's Unapologetic Jewish Woman"

Sarah Jae Leiber

JWA talks to Samantha Pickette about her new book and about how TV is establishing a new version of the Jewish woman. 

Jewish Women and Comedy

This article looks at the place of American Jewish women in comedy. It chronicles the reasons comedy has been a difficult field for women and looks at the careers of several remarkable women who found success in different eras and forms of comedy.

Fleishman is in Trouble promo image

"Fleishman is in Trouble" Asks Universal Questions

Sarah Jae Leiber

This very Jewish TV adaptation of the bestselling novel crackles with sharply drawn characters and brilliant performances. 

Birth of Actress Roxy Sternberg

April 20, 1989

British actress Roxy Sternberg is deeply connected to her Jewish roots. She began working as an actress in her youth, gaining traction and going on to star in major roles on screen. Her love for her Jewish community flourished at West London Synagogue, where she continues to teach when she is not filming for television, but she has faced some discrimination as a Jew of Color.  

Sandra Bernhard

Sandra Bernhard is an American actor, stand-up comedian, singer, memoirist, and talk show host. She has been a high-profile LGBTQ+ presence over a career that has spanned five decades. Bernhard’s work amalgamates the three perspectives that she has said define her: “the feminist, the social commentator, the Jewess.”

June Salander

Project
DAVAR: Vermont Jewish Women's History Project

Ann Zinn Buffum and Sandra Stillman Gartner interviewed June Salander on June 29, 2005, in Rutland, Vermont, as part of DAVAR’s Vermont Jewish Women’s Oral History Project. Salander recalls her immigration to the United States from Poland as a young girl, settling in Harlem, attending Hebrew School, and her active life as a Red Cross volunteer, Hebrew School teacher, real estate broker, and baker, culminating in her Bat Mitzvah at age 89.

Joan Nathan

Project
Washington D.C. Stories

Deborah Ross interviewed Joan Nathan on July 12, 2011, in Washington, DC, as part of the Washington D.C. Stories Oral History Project. Nathan reflects on the significance of food to Jewish life, as she recounts her career as a cookbook author, cultural historian, and food writer who combines recipes with stories to educate about Jewish life, tradition, and history.

Sally Bronston

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Sally Bronston on August 10, 2007, in Metairie, Louisiana, as part of Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Bronston shares her Jewish upbringing, education, involvement in Jewish organizations, experiences during Hurricane Katrina, challenges of post-storm life, and reflections on God and Judaism.

Still from the Bachelorette - woman and man talking

Why Haven't We Had an Openly Jewish Bachelorette?

Catherine Horowitz

Although The Bachelor/ette franchise features extensive discussions of Christianity, even the rare Jewish contestants never talk about Judaism.

Shira Haas becomes the first Israeli nominated for an Emmy Award for her lead role in “Unorthodox”

July 28, 2020

Israeli actress Shira Haas rose to international fame for her role as Esty in Unorthodox, a Netflix miniseries. On July 28, 2020, she became the first Israeli to be nominated for an Emmy Award for this role.

Comic strip by Alison Bechdel entitled "The Rule" from her series Dykes To Watch Out For

It’s Time to Ditch the Bechdel Test–Or at Least Take It Less Seriously

Catherine Horowitz

We should not need a list of boxes to check off to tell us whether a movie is feminist.

Megan Fox holding a flame to her tongue with her phone held up to her ear

"Jennifer's Body": A Metacommentary on Exploitation in the Film Industry

Sofia Isaias-Day

The film Jennifer's Body addresses themes of assault and exploitation without being obvious about it—which may have been a necessary tactic.

Topics: Feminism, Television
Movie Still from "Ghost World", 2001: Image of Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch

"Ghost World": Flawed Portrayals of Flawed Jewish Women

Lucy Waldorf

Ghost World is satirical, but is that fact enough to excuse the writing of the Jewish female characters?

Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin’s Oscar-winning film debut in 1986’s Children of a Lesser God made history on multiple fronts. At 21, not only was Matlin the youngest-ever Best Actress winner, she was also the first Deaf actress to be recognized by the Academy. Her subsequent career in film and television, as an author, and as an activist for the Deaf community, has paved the way for inclusive, nuanced storytelling that showcases Deaf culture to hearing audiences.

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.

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