Living the Legacy
A curriculum for grades 8–12 focuses on Jews in the Civil Rights Movement and includes women such as Freedom Rider Judy Frieze Wright (above) and a lesson on the influence of feminism on civil rights activism. Leah Berkenwald of the Jewish Women’s Archive says it “wrestles with the complexities of Jewish social justice activism — issues of power, privilege.” JWA.org
Support Women of the Wall
A prayer for the new moon/new Hebrew month, developed by Virginia Avniel Spatz, has inspired additional prayers or kavanot (meditations) in support of the women’s struggle for prayer space at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Participate in a website conversation, where you can also sign a petition voicing your support for women’s rights at this holy site. For $100, sponsor a kiddush after the group’s monthly services in Jerusalem. womenofthewall.org.il
Adoption and Jewish Women
Lilith’s first-hand explorations of alternative family formation in the wake of infertility, memoirs of adoptees, rarely heard narratives of those pregnant, unmarried Jewish women who, in the pre-Roe v. Wade years, decided to relinquish their newborns for adoption, are among powerful pieces in a curated online collection at Lilith.org, made possible with the support of the Sunny and Abe Rosenberg Foundation. “Sarah’s Laugh: How Infertile Women Deal,” by Karen Propp; “King Solomon’s Knife: A Feminist Midrash about Adoption,” by Diane Cole; fiction by Erika Dreifus about a social worker visiting a woman who wants to adopt, and heartfelt passionate discussions of population panic, wanting babies, pro-natalism in Israel, Jewish moms and Chinese daughters, and Jewish women’s eggs in the IVF marketplace are available for free download in this expanding collection. There’s also a place to share your stories on this subject. Lilith.org/adoption.htm
Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education
is the new name and the University of Southern California is the new home of the former Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation founded by Steven Spielberg. Holding nearly 52,000 video testimonies from survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust in 32 languages, representing 56 countries, it is the largest archive of its kind in the world. A broadened mission is to overcome intolerance and bigotry — and the suffering they cause — through the educational use of the Institute’s visual history testimonies. Find out about its many programs for educators at usc.edu/vhi.
Have your friends’ back no matter what? Know how to sew on a button? Pay for a date? Ask for directions? Tell others how you feel about them? Think about sex a lot? Always want to win? Babysit? Save the day? Be a rabbi? Say I’m sorry? Do your own laundry? Show affection? Talk to someone while standing at a urinal? Make the first move? Lead the Passover seder? Be the family provider? Play sports/ be a nurse/ blow a shofar/ suffer silently? Be counted in a minyan? Back down from a fight? These triggers come from a discussion guide “Engaging Jewish Teenage Boys: A Call to Action.” Prompted by Jewish boys dropping out of Jewish life in great numbers after bar mitzvah, the report, distilled from three years of research and 40 focus groups with Jewish boys, found that putting boys’ developing masculinity — their “journey to manhood” — at the center of male-focused Jewish programming, with a well-trained male facilitator, will keep more boys engaged in Jewish life. movingtraditions.org
A Women-Only Mission to Israel
Billed as “a girls’ week out to experience Israel through laughter and tears” — this annual trip offered by Jewish National Fund (JNF), this year February 27 to March 6, 2011, centers on meeting Israeli women soldiers, pioneers, musicians, designers, chefs, businesswomen, Holocaust survivors, and “just ordinary women.” 877-JNF-TOUR.
The website which describes itself as “the online platform for the ideas that matter to young Jews today” has been reborn as a nonprofit project of JDub, the record label that launched the careers of Matisyahu and Balkan Beat Box. Jewcy now has a national Jewish events calendar, and its popular features like “Ira Glass Infatuation/This American Life Review” and “Fifty First JDates” will remain, bolstered by new columns including “Notes From a Single Mom,” “Freudian Sex Advice” and “Controlling the Media 101.” Users can submit their own articles and images for publication. Jewcy.com
Jewish Laws of Shabbat: Cooking
Offering the opportunity for deaf and hearing-impaired students to participate in a mainstream online classroom setting for Torah studies, via instruction in American Sign Language, this class — which will explore cooking before Shabbat, reheating, and all aspects of food preparation on Shabbat — consists of a video of the teacher talking, along with a signer who signs the entire course. Organizers say this is the first of more courses to be designed for students with special needs by WebYeshiva.org
Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights (UAF)
Founded in 1997, following the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, this fund aims to close the gap between activists’ needs and the resources available to them, helping especially in areas experiencing armed conflict, escalating violence, political volatility or extreme repression. Its strategic grantmaking relies on in-depth research and understanding the contextual situation in which each grant is made, gained through engagement in various human and women’s rights networks. It has an international board, and its website takes applications for grants in more than a dozen languages. urgentactionfund.org
A Secular Yeshiva in Tel Aviv
Established in 1996 by kibbutz movement members in the wake of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, BINA, the Center for Jewish Identity and Hebrew Culture and their secular yeshiva were created to help bridge the differences between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews in Israel, and address the problems secular Israelis have with traditional Judaism. Its location, in inner-city south Tel Aviv, allow students to study Bible, Talmud, Israeli literature and Zionist history while also being engaged in BINA BaShkhuna (BINA in the neighborhood), serving their local community as volunteers. In addition to the yeshiva, BINA runs seminars in public schools and offers a summer seminar for rabbis, educators, rabbinical students, community leaders and social activists. bina.org.il
Suburban Jewish Life over the Last 50 Years
The Jewish Museum of Maryland is collecting photographs of suburban life — building houses, moving in, neighborhood life, and suburban synagogue events — for a new exhibition, “In Our Time.” They also welcome photographs of Jewish celebrations, interfaith families, “green” events, women taking on new roles in holiday activities. Contact Jennifer Vess or Rachel Kassman (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com).
Do You Have a Mikveh Story?
Literary memoirs and fiction in Hebrew or English about women’s experiences of the mikveh are invited for a bilingual anthology, Tvilot. Send your 4-10 page submission to Jerusalem-based editor Michal .Wosner@gmail.com .
Jewish Summer Camp?
Jewish sleepaway camp can be transformative in the life of a child and help create adults who value being Jewish. Find out about financial incentives for first time campers at onehappycamper.org.
Fire in My Heart: The Story of Hannah Senesh.
This first-ever major exhibition tells how the Budapest-born poet, diarist, and author of the hymn “Eli, Eli” discovered her love for the Land of Israel, volunteered for a mission to rescue downed Allied fliers and Jews by parachuting into Nazi-occupied Hungary, and became an enduring symbol of courage. The exhibition recounts Senesh’s home life, education, and religious beliefs as part of a bourgeois Jewish family and shows how her priorities changed after 1937 upon encountering anti-Semitism. Hannah’s failed rescue mission, imprisonment, trial and execution at age 23, are narrated through her acquaintances, family, and friends. This exhibit runs until August 7, 2011 at The Museum of the Jewish Heritage in New York City. mjhnyc.org
From Housewife’s Guide to a Woman’s Tallit. . .
The National Museum of American Jewish History just reopened in a new building near the Liberty Bell, overlooking Independence Mall in Philadelphia. Its theme is freedom and what its embrace has meant to America’s Jews over the last 200 plus years. The floor dedicated to “Choices and Challenges of Freedom, 1945–Today” includes the 60s counterculture, civil rights, feminism and political protest. nmajh.org