Pop-Culture | Posted by Bridget L on 04/29/2015
Where Are The Jewish and Queer Students at Hogwarts?
I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter. I grew up reading the books, have seen each film countless times, and dressed up as Hermione for many Halloweens. But while I’ll always love the series, I also recognize that it’s not flawless.
Last December, JK Rowling revealed that there were Jewish students at Hogwarts, and even provided readers with an example: Anthony Goldstein. This revelation prompted others to question whether or not there were LGBT students at Hogwarts as well. In a Twitter chat, Rowling addressed this by stating “But of course,” there were LGBT youth at Hogwarts.
I find these revelations problematic for a couple reasons. First is the fact Anthony Goldstein was only a background character without any distinguishing character traits for the duration of the series. …
Feminism | Posted by Talia on 09/4/2013
“I’m Not A Boy.”
Every Shabbat (Sabbath), I volunteer at the kids’ group at my shul (synagogue). After we finish the service, Shabbat lunch is served. Traditionally, kiddush is made over wine or grape juice before the meal begins. The rebbetzin (rabbi’s wife) who runs the group at my shul always has a kid make the kiddush. Although this brakha (blessing) is traditionally reserved for the patriarch of the family, the rebbetzin allows both boys and girls to say kiddush.
During the summertime, the number of participants at the group tends to dwindle. A few weeks ago, when there was a particularly small turnout, the rebbetzin was hard-pressed to find a kid willing to make kiddush. She approached her two younger grandsons, neither of whom wanted to say kiddush. She
Pop-Culture | Posted by Talia on 04/20/2012
The Color Pink
why does pink = girly
I volunteer at the children’s service at my synagogue on Shabbat (the Sabbath). Every week, the kids walk around with kid-sized Torahs, some of which are stuffed toys. The Torahs are red, yellow, blue, and purple and were bought in the past few years, so they all look new and are in pretty good condition, but there’s one pink one, that is about twice my age. It’s very faded, a little corroded looking, and has been sewed more times than I can remember to keep the stuffing from falling out. Despite the clear quality disparity, all hell breaks loose every Shabbat when the little girls come running to grab the pink Torah before anyone else can catch up. And yes, innumerable tears have been shed …
Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Talia on 11/7/2011
What Does Jewish Look Like To You?
Procrastinating is always loads of fun, and thanks to the Internet, it’s really easy to do. One such time that I was putting off doing something important, I noticed this picture (embedded in this post).
Yeah, ha ha, very funny. It even reminds me of the “Death to All Juice” protest sign. Hilarious.
However, it occurred to me: generally offensive caricature aside, why are these Jews portrayed as male?
When you Google Image “Jew” and skim the results, almost all of the pictures are of white Ashkenazi-looking Hasidic males. The few pictures that aren’t are mostly anti-Semitic or anti-Israel; women and non-Hasids make up a small minority. When you Google Image “Orthodox Jews,” it’s the same (except for the much-loved Tefillin Barbie).
I suppose these results just …
Feminism | Posted by Talia on 06/9/2011
A Lesson In Equality From Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve
“So let’s learn about Shavuot,” my teacher said, and I dutifully began to take notes on the holiday. “Shavuot [which began Tuesday night] commemorates God giving the Torah to the Jews. When God was telling Moses to instruct the Jews how to prepare for Matan Torah [Giving of the Torah], God said to Moses, ‘So shall you say to Beit Yaakov [House of Jacob] and Bnei Yisrael [Children of Israel].’ Rashi says that Beit Yaakov refers to the women, while Bnei Yisrael refers to the men. Okay, great explanation. But why does it say the women first?
“A woman’s father has a fruit field, and it becomes part of her dowry. She gets married and her husband is out on the field, picking fruit. A guy passes …
Feminism | Posted by Shira and Dina on 02/1/2010
Coming of Age
Source: Rachel Papo, “Hanging Out on the Weekend.” 2005.
I have always thought the Jewish coming of age ritual for a girl was a Bat Mitzvah, the grasp of the Torah in ceremoniously manicured hands a rite of passage. Rachel Papo’s photographs show me that the coming of age for Jewish women in another hemisphere is the army, the positioning of a weapon in expecting hands a passage to a nationality that overrides patriarchal assumptions of femininity.
The United States military continues to be dominated by men. Masculinity continues to be conflated with violence and weaponry with notoriously phallic connotations. Maybe because of their minority status (women make up 20 percent of the US armed forces) and maybe because of the rampant macho-ism army institutions promote, one in three …
Feminism | Posted by Paul S on 07/27/2009
Gender Equality and Religion: Using the Burqa Ban as a Jumping-Off Point
France: one woman wearing a niqab (burqa) and the other dressed in typical Western clothing walking together
A little over a month ago, The Huffington Post put up an Associated Press article entitled “Sarkozy: Burqas Are ‘Not Welcome’ In France.” The gist of the article was that French President Nicolas Sarkozy used “some of the strongest language against burqas from a European leader at a time when some Western officials have been seeking to ease tensions with the Muslim world.” Burqas, for those unaware, are a type of Islamic religious garb for women that cover the entire body. Burqas have a nasty reputation for being a hindrance to female equality in the Muslim world, and also apparently in France. Thus, some in that country would like to see them banned …
Feminism | Posted by Julie Z on 07/16/2009
is half-jewish a religion?
Goldie Hawn's half jewish. Adam Sandler taught me that.
God, I love Jezebel. Last week, they addressed the hub of my own internal religious debates, by asking what being a “half jew” means.
As a technical “half jew” myself — probably more complicated than half, my Dad was raised Jewish, my Mom was half and half, and raised nothing–I’ve always struggled a little with how to qualify my religious identity. My parents tried to qualify it for me — upon the joyous occasion of my birth (I can’t speak about their feelings of my bother’s birth…I assume they were more than neutral) my parents made the choice. They decided that Judaism was the way to go.
A synagogue in the Czech Republic. Okay then.
We joined a temple! They …