A Precursor to Lilith Magazine?
The American Jewess was the first English-language publication directed to American Jewish women. It was published mostly as a monthly from 1895-99. Edited by Rosa Sonneschein (1847- 1932), It presented demands for synagogue membership for women; household and fashion tips; early expressions of American Zionism; and reflections on the propriety of women riding bicycles. The Jewish Women’s Archive has made available a digitized version of this resource and is offering an undergraduate writing prize of $350 for use of “The American Jewess” as source material. jwa.org
Different Genders, Different Styles: Exploring the Grief of Fathers and Mothers is the December theme of Out of the Depths: A Monthly Series about the Loss of a Child, through July 2006, organized by the New York Jewish Healing Center and the JCC in Manahattan. There is also a twice-monthly support meeting for Jewish parents who have lost a young child. For information about any of these programs contact Rabbi Simkha Weintraub, at the NYJHC (212)399-2320 x 215.
Down Under. Women in Judaism is the theme of the 18th annual interdisciplinary conference of the Australian Association of Jewish Studies, February 12-13, 2006 at the University of Melbourne. Contact Dr. Dvir Abramovich, 011-613 8344 3789, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We Don’t Need Another Wave: Dispatches from the Next Generation of Feminists. Writes Melody Allegra Berger, editing this anthology-in-progress: “We, the supposedly ‘apathetic’ youth of America, are doing our part to enact our feminisms. We don’t need another wave. We need a movement.” She invites women 30 and under to submit personal narrative essays on topics such as women in the military, sexual assault within the progressive youth community, being raised in alternative families, craftivism (“a feminist perspective on knitting and other seemingly domestic hobbies that are making a comeback”) and “power relations in sex, romance, love and lust.” Submit your essay to Avalon Publishing Group, Seal Press Acquisitions, 1400 65th St. #250, Emeryville, CA 94608; or put “We Don’t Need Another Wave” in the subject line of your e-mail to Berger at HowlingHarpies@gmail.com.
Norma Levitt: one smart, sophisticated “elder.” Dedicated to the Jewish community and to the wellbeing of children, women, elders and the environment. Norma U. Levitt has, since 1974, led non-governmental organizations at the U.N., where she now chairs the committee on multi-generational relationships. She is honorary life president of the Women of Reform Judaism, and was the first female officer of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now the Union for Reform Judaism). She also has presided over the UNICEF committee, represented the U.S. at world conferences on women and planned the U.N. environmental shabbat. Levitt, a dynamic example of how to live meaningfully in one’s later years—of aging with hiddur (splendor)—was featured in conversation with Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman, director of Hiddur: The Center for Aging and Judaism of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in October. A videotape is available from Jennifer Coburn (215)576-0800 xl52; email@example.com.
Hineni: Coming Out in Jewish High School is a documentary about how one lesbian student transformed her community. “I feel like struggling with Torah and with G-d is one thing, and I think I can do that. What I don’t want to struggle with is my community,” says Shulamit Izenin in the film, which premiered at the Boston Jewish Film Festival and is making the rounds in other cities. Made by Irena Fayngold and Idit Klein for Keshet, an organization working to create a fully inclusive and welcoming Jewish community for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews. Watch a trailer at boston-keshet.org/film.
Are You a Professional Jew? Advancing Jewish Professionals provides career development and networking opportunities for “young”—defined as 35 and younger or 10 years or less in the field—Jewish communal professionals. Join over 200 participants already on an e-mail list; there are a few events planned for each year on topics such as mentors and lay leader/professional relations. Contact Alisha Goodman, (212)399-2685 X 223, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah Bernhardt: The Art of High Drama. Didja know she was Jewish? An exhibit devoted to this great nineteenth-century French actress—and first modern celebrity—brings us “the divine Sarah” through paintings, sculpture, photos, costumes, jewelry, furniture and personal effects as well as films and recordings of her voice. Through April 2 at the Jewish Museum of New York. thejewishmuseum.org
What does Zionism mean? An interdisciplinary conference exploring “the Zionist cultural project at the nexus of national vision, social institutions and public culture,” “ImagiNATION,” will take place February 5-7, 2006 at Arizona State University in Tempe. asu.edu/clas/jewishstudies/conference.html
Aviel Barclay, Soferet offers free mezuzah checking. A documentary on the work of this female ritual scribe aired in November on VisionTV in Canada and the Faith & Values TV in the U.S. http://visiontv.ca/Programs/documentaries_soferet.html; www.wofav.tv/
The Balabusta Project. Preserve the legacy of the great women of your family by sharing stores about them for a planned anthology. Send by December 31, or request an extension from Linda Blackman (847)550-9938. Balabusta.com
Exploring Sexual Orientation issues in the Jewish Community. The Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation at the Hebrew Union College -Jewish Institute of Religion hopes to enable its students to integrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people into congregations and communities. Dialogues, case studies, Q&As, previews and links to other useful materials are available at the Virtual Resource Center. vrc.vpi.net
Cup of Coffee? The Abayudaya Jewish community of Mbale, Uganda, a 700-member indigenous Jewish farming community in existence since 1919, has joined with their Muslim and Christian neighbors to produce Mirembe Kawomera Ugandan Coffee, a new brand available from Thanksgiving Coffee Company. The project, two years in the making, was conceived and developed by J.J. Keki, who organized hundreds of neighboring farmers door-to-door on foot, and singer-activist Laura Wetzler, Uganda Coordinator for Kulanu, a Jewish charitable organization, who approached 50 coffee companies with the idea. “This project, created by Jewish coffee farmers in coalition with their Muslim and Christian neighbors, demonstrates the concept of tikkun olam, or ‘repair of the world’ in action,” says Wetzler. (800)648-6491. mirembekawomera.com
Crocheted Colorful Kippot. Mayan women in San Marcos, Guatemala, on the shores of Lake Atitlan, began making kippot a few years ago at the suggeston of a volunteer who saw their crocheted hackysacks and small purses. The work of the kippot crocheters makes a difference in the daily life of families, especially meaningful since many artisans suffered the loss of their homes and possessions and even some family members in the recent Hurricane Stan. Kippot in various colorful designs, approximately 6 inches in diameter, are $8/each. mciyaworks.org
Family-to-Family Disaster Relief. Help a family that was displaced by Hurriane Katrina. Three years ago Pam Koner, of Hastings-on Hudson, NY, founded Family-to-Family in response to learning about the abject poverty of many residents of Pembroke IL, and her efforts have multiplied. With “It’s in the Bag,” a sponsoring family sends a soft duffle or laundry bag to a matched needy family. Inside are a letter of explanation and introduction, a needs questionnaire, a pen and a return addressed stamped envelope which will be mailed back to the sponsoring family. Check out a variety of ways to help, great for bat/bar mitzvah and youth group projects too. family-to-family.org
Preparing for Midterm Elections. “Invisible Ballots: A Temptation for Election Fraud” is a thought-provoking, disturbing, nonpartisan documentary about electronic voting machines. The latest General Accounting Office study of these machines showed, in the words of the RockRiverTimes, Rockford, IL. “No responsible business would operate with a computer system as flimsy, fragile and easily manipulated as the one used in the 2004 election.” Chicago-based electoral reform activist Joan Brunwasser has started a lending library with 60 copies of the film available free, in the hope of creating a buzz about electoral reform. CountEveryVote@gmail.com