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Happening

Where to go for what if you're Jewish and female

LIKEMINDED
Women’s Exchange, USA. After 18 conferences in the FSU, Project Kesher is bringing the good times home. A global community of Jewish women interested in spirituality and social activism will have their first North American conference (in the Chicago area) April 29-May 2, 1999. Meet leaders from the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union and learn how they have transformed their communities. Project Kesher, 1134 Judson Ave., Evanston, IL, 60202; (847)332-1994; projectkesher@CompuServe.com

A Jewish Meditation Conference at New York City’s Congregation Anshe Chesed will include a “contemplative shabbaton” April 9-10 and sessions on meditation and contemporary Jewish life on April 10-11.Teachers include Sylvia Boorstein, Sheila Peltz Weinberg, Nan Fink Geffen, Shefa Gold, Lawrence Kushner, Michael Strassfeld, Jonathan Omer-Man and Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. Information from: Elat Chayyim. 99 Mill Hook Rd, Accord, NY 12404; (800)695-5208; (914)626-4997; conference@elatchayyim.org

SEND IT IN
Help Tell the Deborah Story. The call is out for art, midrashim and poems by Jewish women about Deborah the Judge and Barak, Yael, Sisera, Sisera’s mother and her chorus of women from the biblical book of Judges 4:4-5:31. Jewish Women’s Literary Annual, Jewish Women’s Resource Center, National Council of Jewish Women-New York Section, 9 E. 69th St., New York, NY 10021.

That Takes Ovaries: Bold Females and Their Brazen Acts. For a collection of first-person narratives send your story (maximum 1,000 words) of something you’ve done that was gutsy, courageous, audacious or inspirational. Include a one-sentence bio and send (preferably via e-mail) with word count, return address, phone and e-mail by January 15,1999, to: That Takes Ovaries!, 12 Fern St., Lexington, MA, 02421-6013; redelson@gis.net

Simchat Chochmah—a new Jewish ritual for women making the transition from mid-life to eldering years—is the subject of a documentary film in production. Have you had a ceremony of wisdom? Want to learn more about the film? Contact filmmakers: Judith Montell & Miriam Chaya, Chochmah Productions, 2600 10th St., Berkeley CA 94710; jmontell@worldnet.att.net

Here’s your chance! Book proposals on Jewish women’s identity or roles in Jewish life—any era, any region—are requested for an international book series sponsored by the International Research Institute on Jewish Women at Brandeis University. Send manuscript proposals (3-5 pages) to Phyllis Deutsch, University Press of New England, 23 S. Main St., Hanover, NH03755; (603)643-7100×222.

Feminist Israel Readings of the Bible. Please send 20-25-pp. articles or one page proposals with a brief bio by March 15, 1999, to Esther Fuchs, Department of Near East Studies, University of Arizona, Tucson AZ 85721; fax (520)621-2333; fuchs@u.arizona.edu.

STUDY
Women in Rabbinic Literature is a text-based class taught via the Internet by Talmud professor Judith Hauptman. Time to learn more about relations between the sexes, giving testimony in court, laws of marriage, divorce and inheritance, with a gifted teacher and scholar. The course begins January 17. You can take it for pleasure, for credit or for professional development—no matter where you live. Contact Michael Starr, Jewish Theological Seminary, 3080 Broadway, New York NY 10027;(212)678-8897; fax (212)749-9085; mistarr@jtsa.edu; http:www.courses.jtsa.edu.

The Shalem Graduate Fellowship Program supports the work of students doing independent research on Jewish life in Jerusalem. Fellows research theoretical and practical topics in political philosophy, economics, education, government reform, Zionist theory and history, Israeli foreign policy, Jewish social thought and religion, Israeli culture and other topics relevant to the public life of the Jewish nation. Grants are $15,000 and cover the period from Sept. 1, 1999, to Aug. 31, 2000. Applications due Feb.1, 1999. The Shalem Center, 22A Hatzfira St., Jerusalem, Israel; (972-2)566-2202; or The Shalem Center, 1140 Connecticut Avenue, NW, #801, Washington DC20036; (202)887-1270; fellowship@shalem.org.il; www.shalem.org.il

AMAZING NEW PUBLICATIONS
The Life and Times of Farha, A Woman of the Baghdadi Jewish Diaspora (1870-1958) is an essay by Jael Silliman in the first issue of the new Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies. Subscriptions worldwide are $15. Journal of lndo-Judaic Studies c/o Dept. of Religious Studies, University of Saskatchewan, 9 Campus Dn, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N OWO.

Agronomist Hanna Meisel (1883-1972) started a girls training farm at Kinneret in 1911 that became the nucleus of an independent women’s movement which lasted from 1919 to 1927. These and other fascinating items—not omitting David Ben Gurion’s many amorous partners—can be gleaned from a 50-page “Timeline of Women and Women’s Issues in the Yishuv and Israel” created by Shulamit Reinharz. Free from International Research Institute on Jewish Women, MS-079 Brandeis University, Waltham, MA02454-9110.

Are women obligated by the commandments to be joyful on the three pilgrimage festivals? These and other consciousness-raising issues are discussed in the first issue of Kolech (Your Voice), a Hebrew newsletter written by women for women, published by Forum Nashim Datiot, a network of Orthodox Israeli women. Since August 1998 it has appeared on the Shabbat preceding the blessing of the new Hebrew month with 50,000 copies sent to 3,200 Modern Orthodox synagogues. Individual subscribers in Israel pay 60NIS to receive it. (You can sponsor a page for a contribution.) Contact editor: Hana Kehat, Neve Daniel, 90909Gush Etzion, Israel; phone/fax (972-2)9934492.

THEATER
Jewish Female Playwrights!
 This may be your opportunity to have your work appear as part of a program of readings of the Partnership for Jewish Life: A Community of New Yorkers in Their 20s and 30s. Also an ongoing play writing workshop is creating a Purim One-Act Play Festival involving directors, actors and playwrights to be performed in March 1999. Contact Jennifer Rudin; PJL Actors & Playwrights Network, 6 E. 39th St., 10th Fl, New York, NY 10016;(212)792-6262; fax(212)792-6260. (Prose writers available for readings should contact Pearl Gluck.)

Sweet Dreams (Zise Khaloymes) is a Yiddish musical by Eleanor Reissa about “a second generation American career girl in the 1990s, and her loving mother who just won’t go away.” Mina Bern stars with a multi-racial, youthful cast, in Yiddish with simultaneous translation. This Folksbeine Yiddish Theater productions December 5-January 31. Theater Four, 424 W.55th St., New York, NY; box office (212)213-2120; telecharge (212)947-8844.

MESSAGE IN THE MEDIA
The Yiddishe Mama and the Modern World
 is an exhibit featuring 20 posters of women in Eastern Europe 1918-1939, curated by Krysia Fisher. To find out how you can bring the exhibit—which recently was mounted at Brandeis University—to your venue, contact head archivist Marek Web, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research,15 W. 16th St., New York, NY10011; (212)246-6080; fax (212)292-1892.

The Distorted Image: Stereotype and Caricature in America, 1850-1922, is a 28-minute video and discussion guide about how caricatures in large circulation magazines reveal the extent and nature of stereotyping affecting all minority groups in the US. This is one of many anti-prejudice materials available from the ADL Anti-Bias Diversity Catalog, ADL Material Library, Dept.SP98, 22-D Hollywood Ave., Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ 07423; (800)343-5540; fax(201)652-1973; www.adl.org

RIGHTS MONITORS
The International Jewish Women’s Human Rights Watch researches and publicizes the infringement of Jewish women’s rights, particularly women who have been denied the right to remarry and to found a family. Directed by international women’s rights lawyer Sharon Shenhav. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 13 Tel Hai St, 92107Jerusalem, Israel; (972-2)561-9281; fax (972-2)561-9112; sshenhav@intemet-zahav.net

Tambourines designed by Betsy Platkin Teutsch are being sold to pay for legal expenses in the struggle for women’s right to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The colorful tambourine’s head says in Hebrew “This is the chair of Miriam”—evoking the chairs that have been thrown at them. It invokes the traditional empty chair representing the longed for presence of someone important (like Elijah the prophet at a brit milah). Here, Miriam is invited to join the prayer group at the Wall. $40 plus $3.50 shipping payable to International Committee for Women of the Wall, from Eva Schweber, 2620 SE 51stAve., Portland, OR 97206.

Tzedec, a new project of the Shefa Fund, gets Jewish institutions to invest in low-income, community-based credit unions and loan funds around the US. The community development financial institution in turn provides credit to the underserved—primarily women, low income and minority borrowers—for housing, child care and jobs to revitalize neighborhoods and people’s lives. Find out how you, your federation, synagogue or Jewish foundation can invest in your community. Contact The Shefa Fund 805 East Willow Grove Ave., #2D, Wyndmoor, PA 19038; (215)247-9704; shefafnd®libertynet.Org

The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous was established to acknowledge a debt of gratitude to compassionate Christian rescuers who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. It sends monthly financial support to almost 1,400 aged and needy rescuers in 26 countries to pay for food, housing and medical expenses. Send a contribution to The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, 165 E. 56 St., New York, NY 10022-2746; (212)421-1221; (888)421-1221; fax (212)421-1811; jfmyc@worldnet.att.net

Why not a woman? Help change the political climate so that qualified women can launch viable campaigns for public office, including the US presidency, within the next decade. Become a member of this non-profit, non-partisan public awareness project with a check to The White House Project/WNAW. “Together we will make history,” says Barbara Dobkin. The White House Project, 110 Wall St, 2ndfl., New York, NY 10005;(212)785-6001; fax(212)785-6007; www.thewhitehouseproject.org