compiled by Naomi Danis


Current feminist Jewish events around the world. 

It’s a Thin Line 

The eruv, an often-controversial Biblical precept, divides private and public, sacred and secular, the Sabbath from the everyday. Usually a wire or thread strung around a traditional community, its existence enables people to wheel a stroller on shabbat, for example. A diverse range of objects in a new exhibit, “The Eruv and Jewish Community in New York and Beyond,” at the Yeshiva University Museum in Manhattan includes early printed Hebrew books, century-old images of New York life, contemporary tools, and works by contemporary artists. Through June 30, 2013.

Gathering the Fragments

A guest book from a Jewish hotel in Rome, dating from 1937– 1941, found in a trash bin on a Tel Aviv street, has become part of a national campaign in Israel to salvage privately held Holocaust-related items and reconstruct the stories behind them. Yad Vashem, the Jerusalem museum and archive asks the public to search their houses for every document, photograph or object from the years before the war, during the Holocaust, in the DP camps and in the immediate post-War period. Items submitted together with the stories behind them have an important role in preserving memory for future generations. Yad Vashem will make these objects accessible to educators and the public.

One in Three 

One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. See the complexities of women’s lives and the important role that abortion access has had through the generations in 40 stories, selected from hundreds submitted, in a campaign marking the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. The compilation of memoirs is available in paperback and e-book. You can share your story on the website as well.

The Devil’s Bride

Women klezmer musicians occasionally performed publicly at fairs throughout Central Europe in the 17th and early 18th centuries, according to Yale Strom, the ethnographer and klezmer artist who created the musical score for the 2011 audio drama “The Witches of Lublin.” The 11 songs on this CD are typical of a Jewish wedding in 18th century Poland. Each is introduced by Strom and actress Miriam Margolyes. The songs are performed in the klezmer style featuring violin, cimbalom (hammered dulcimer), bass, and accordion, with vocal improvisation by Elizabeth Schwartz.

Jewish Fiction’s All-Women Issue

Read stories originally in Yiddish, Spanish, Hebrew, and English. Read Sheindl Franzus-Garfinkle, Ana Maria Shua, Miri Varon, Yael Medini, Hadara Lazar, Erika Dreifus, Robin Roger, Yael Unterman, Dalia Rosenfeld, Gail Benick and more, in Issue 9 of the online journal described by its editor Nora Gold as a “virtual home for Jewish fiction from around the world.”

Women Talk About Segregation in Israel

“Freedom riders” insuring that illegal gender segregation on buses does not occur, and women who encountered restricted participation as women at the funerals of loved ones, are among the 13 women who write about discrimination in the public sphere in this booklet from the Israel Religious Action Center.

A Guide to Jewish Prayer and Practices

A paperback guide by Andrea Lieber explains the what and the why of Jewish religious practices, whether in a communal synagogue setting or during seemingly mundane daily tasks like mealtime blessings or visiting the sick. It’s for those — more and less — familiar with how to “do Jewish.”

Discovering You’re Jewish — in Poland Today

Four young women who were raised Catholic and discover in their teens that they were born Jewish have their lives charted by documentarian Adam Zucker in a film-in-progress, “The Return.” Kasia, 24, a feminist and Ph.D. candidate in Women’s Studies, is determined to be a secular Jew and longs for community. Tusia, 30, lives both in Warsaw, where she works to “save” the crumbling remnants of Jewish history, and in Brooklyn, where she feels liberated from “social responsibility” and “hardly Jewish at all.” Katka is a brilliant 23-year-old from Slovakia who moved to Warsaw and has begun conversion to Orthodox Judaism. Maria — 24, the single mother of a two-year-old — last year met David — a shy, observant Jew — and within two weeks they were engaged. She has to adjust to life as an Orthodox wife, and to face David’s desire to emigrate to Israel. These women all face common challenges, including figuring out how their identities can be informed by the Holocaust without being overwhelmed by it.

Nalaga’at (Please Touch)

Eleven deaf-blind Israeli actors recently took New York audiences on a magical tour of their inner worlds: the worlds of darkness, silence, and bread which was kneaded, raised, baked on stage, and shared with the audience. “Not by Bread Alone [can a person live]” — the actors declare, sometimes in their own voices and sometimes through sign language interpreters. The words emphasize their need for relationships, as crucial to us all as sustenance. This play is the second production of Nalaga’at Theater, home to the Deaf-Blind Acting Ensemble. If you missed their U.S. tour, you can catch them in Jaffa, Israel. Their cultural, entertainment and training center, founded and directed by Adina Tal, is a meeting place for deaf, blind and deaf-blind people and for any visitors to the Kapish Café where they are served by deaf waiters, the BlackOut restaurant where they are served by blind waiters, as well as a variety of workshops and training programs.

The Jewish Foundation for Education of Women 

In 1880, Minnie Louis founded the Louis Down-Town Sabbath School to offer formal instruction, promote self-care and hygiene, self-respect and ambition, and distribute refreshments and clothing to the daughters of New York’s poor Jewish families. This evolved into a nonsectarian organization that now helps needy women of all groups with scholarships and opportunities for professional development.

The Feminine Mystique

In anticipation of an alumnae reunion, Betty Friedan sent her Smith College classmates the questionnaire that inspired her trailblazing book which, 50 years ago, triggered the modern feminist movement. At the time, the average American female married in her teens, and the majority of female students dropped out of college to marry — or to prevent themselves from becoming unmarriageable. The Feminine Mystique captured the frustrations and thwarted desires of a generation and showed women how they could reclaim their lives. Now there are two new editions: The Feminine Mystique: Betty Friedan 50 Years with introduction by Gail Collins and afterword by Anna Quindlen, and the Norton Critical Edition of Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique edited by Kirsten Fermaglich and Lisa M. Fine.

A Project for People of the Book?

Builders, artists, stewards, book donors, borrowers, neighbors and friends are all welcome to support/host/participate in a project promoting literacy and community connections. Originated in Wisconsin in 2009 by Todd Bol and Rick Brooks, the “Little Free Libraries” each house a shelf of books free for the taking. Host one on your lawn? Or maybe your synagogue? Or donate.

compiled by Naomi Danis

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