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Happening

Your guide to being Jewish and female

Harvey Milk, Kate Bornstein, and Lesléa Newman are the first three subjects in the LGBT Jewish Heroes poster series from Keshet, and organization which works for full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Jews in Jewish life. In 1978, in San Francisco, Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man elected to a major public office in the U.S. He was assassinated that same year. A fierce advocate for youth and “gender outlaws,” Kate Bornstein is a Jewish transgender author, playwright, performance artist and gender theorist. Lesléa Newman is a human rights activist, poet and author of the groundbreaking children’s book Heather Has Two Mommies and the award-winning short story “A Letter to Harvey Milk” [Lilith Summer 1988]. Idit Klein says the posters “will help young LGBT Jews and their friends and family never question their rightful place in the community.” Set of three for $25; more resources at keshetonline.org, or LGBTJewishHeroes.org.

Holy Ghetto

Against the background of a sex trafficking industry in Israel where approximately 3,000 women are trafficked each year, a film in progress by director/producer Ilan Azoulai traces the lives of marginalized women in Tel Aviv’s red light district. The character-driven film will intimately explore personal narratives that are emblematic of a nation’s battle towards recovery: three sex trafficking victims trying to regain their rights as mothers and legal citizens and to liberate themselves from a cycle of prostitution, drugs, poverty and abuse, providing a detailed picture of the landscape from which its victims must recover. You can see the trailer and lend support for completion of the film holyghettofilm.com.

Progressive Activism and Volunteering in Israel

This new resource hub, known by its acronym PAVI, connects English-speaking students and young professionals with activist and advocacy opportunities in Israel through volunteer and internship directories, alternative tourism opportunities and an interactive calendar. Abigail Kolker and Elizabeth Freed, two former Dorot Fellows, created PAVI with Dorot Foundation support “to act on behalf of the transformation you want to see in Israel. Now is the time to join Israel’s leading civil society organizations and a global community of supporters to build a future of just peace and equality.” israelvolunteering.org

Jewish Women, Sport, and Physical Culture is the theme of a future issue of NASHIM: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies & Gender Issues. Do you have material you’d like to submit? Send abstracts for proposed research to Deborah Greniman, Managing Editor, by August 1, 2011 to nashim@schechter.ac.il.

Uncovering the Unexpected Blessings of Aging

Rabbi Dayle Friedman says “I first entered the land of the very old while I was at college. Friends invited me to join them in leading a Shabbat service in an ‘old age home.’ I was immediately captivated by things in this unfamiliar environment…. I felt blessed to be surrounded by sages who had broad and deep perspective. In many respects, I have never left that sublime terrain; I have dedicated my career to mining the Torah of aging — from elders themselves, and from Jewish teaching–and to sharing that wisdom.” Find her blessing blog, where you can add to a blessing or request one, at growingolder.co.

Androgynous Storm Demons, Jealous Sisters and Knife Accidents

This is the world of “Half You Half Me,” the second album in the ongoing art-rock song-cycle by Girls in Trouble, just out from JDub Records. With Girls in Trouble, Brooklyn poet and multi-instrumentalist Alicia Jo Rabins mines dark stories of Biblical women like Tamar and Yael, exploring “the hidden places where their complicated lives overlap with her own.” The result is an album of fully orchestrated songs, intimate and wide-ranging, with upright bass, drums, accordion and layered electric guitars. www.myspace.com/girlsintroublemusic

Milk and Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry features the work of poets Ellen Bass, Robin Becker, Elana Dykewomon, Marilyn Hacker, Sharron Hass, Eleanor Lerman, Joan Nestle, Lesléa Newman and Ellen Orleans, as well as new and emerging voices. Edited by Julie Enszer, this volume is in the Body Language Series from A Midsummer Night’s Press. amidsummernightspress.com

Keeping Jerusalem Vibrant and Religiously Pluralistic

Against the background of Jerusalem’s escalating conflict between ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jews and secular Jewish communities for control of the city, filmmaker/ producer Liz Nord has made a documentary showing the cultural renaissance that is happening as a new wave of Jewish artists and activists navigate the complexities of creating change in this fascinating city. See a trailer for the film at battleforjerusalem.com.

Take Back the Night

“When we first heard about the Toronto Police officer labeling women and people most at risk of sexual assault as ‘sluts’, we thought about making noise and demanding for more than an apology.” So say the organizers of this growing global mechanism for dialogue on victim-blaming and other damaging misogynist ideas. Originally, they walked to the front door of the Toronto Police. Thus was born SlutWalk, now taking place all over the world to protest, among other things, police stereotyping of women who wear revealing clothes. Slutwalktoronto.com