Thursday, December 29, 2011

Star of Davida Interviews Maggie Anton

The first published woman author in America was Anne Bradstreet, who published her book of poems The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America in 1650. Ever since, millions of words have been penned by women authors. Recently, historical Jewish women's fiction has become popular, with dozens of writers researching and recording the lives of Jewish women of the past. Star of Davida had the honor of interviewing Maggie Anton, the author of the Rashi's Daughters series, a trilogy which chronicles the lives of Rashi's three daughters: Joheved, Miriam, and Rachel.

I understand that you were a chemist, which is unusual for a woman of your generation. What inspired you to pursue a career in the sciences?
I was always very good in science and math in school, as well as enjoying the subjects. And it seemed that there were many more career opportunities for women there than in other fields.

I was also always intrigued by the fact that Rashi only had daughters. Do you know why they touched you so much to write a whole book series about them?
I started studying Talmud in a women’s Talmud class in early 1990s. Our teacher pointed out that Rashi had no sons, and that his daughters were reputed to be learned and wear tefillin. I was intrigued enough to do some research to see if these legends were true, and what I found inspired me to write about them.

It’s clear from reading the book that you’re very well-versed in both Torah and Talmud. Was this something you were raised with, or are you self-taught?
I was raised in a secular household, and didn’t start my Jewish studies until I married. I’ve taken many Torah and Talmud classes with some excellent scholars, but more recently I’ve studied Talmud individually with a hevruta (study-partner).

Based on your books, it seems that sex was much more openly discussed in the eleventh century. Is that true?
Sex is certainly openly discussed in the Talmud, and the 11th-12th centuries appears to have been pretty open and tolerant about these matters.

Do you know why Lilith, the real first woman who was created at the same time as Adam, became such a threatening figure for Jewish women in the Middle Ages?
I think it’s more a matter of Lilith threatening men, although a demon who attacked newborns and their mothers is common in many medieval and ancient cultures.

In Miriam, many male characters are depicted with homosexual leanings. Was “playing the game” really that common in Rashi’s era? What about among women?
Homosexuality was at least as common in Rashi's time as today, however the desire was considered normal rather than perverse. People discussed the subject much more openly then. Typical of ancient and medieval times, men didn’t seem to care or know what women did.

I had no idea that mohelot existed before the 21st century. How common was it in the 11th century? Are any mohelot from that era known by name?
None are known to use by name. It probably wasn’t too common, but the fact that rabbis complained about it shows that the practice existed.

In Rachel, the sisters co-write Rashi’s commentary on Tractate Nedarim. Do you think the argument that this is true holds water?
We know that Rashi didn’t write “his” commentary on Nedarim, yet strangely the true author's name has been lost. There are scholars who believe his daughters wrote it, which is why the author remained nameless. After a careful study of the text, it does seem to have a feminine perspective.
Do you think Rashi would be happy to see how women’s education in Talmud and Judaism has proliferated?

Do you have any other books in the works?
My next series, Rav Hisda’s Daughter, is set in 3rd-4th century Babylonia, in the household of a Jewish sage as the Talmud is being created. At the same time Rome, fast becoming a Christian empire, battles Zoroastrian Persia for world dominance. Against this backdrop, my heroine embarks on the tortuous path to become an enchantress in the society where the word ‘magic’ originated. The first volume should be out in August 2012.

I read the account of the First Crusade in Rachel soon after Leiby Kletzky’s z”l murder, which was not such great timing. How do you think the Jewish community has managed to survive, despite all of the horrific acts that have occurred in our history?
Being dispersed throughout the world, Jews could never be destroyed in its entirety. With so much animosity directed against us, we were not able to assimilate easily and tended to stay within our own communities.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Agunot and Converts

I’ve been following Heshy Fried at his blog, Frum Satire, for a couple of years at this point. It was actually the first blog I followed on a regular basis. I like Heshy because he really sees things as they are and calls it like it is. He posted this article a little while ago, equating men who deny their wives a get (divorce papers) and thereby make them into agunot (chained wives) to rabbis who won’t give converts their official conversion papers.

At first, I was highly offended by this, and all prepared to leave a scathing comment on the post. As I began writing my response, though, I couldn’t think of any argument to counter Heshy’s. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that agunah isn’t much different than unofficial converts.

In Judaism, how divorce works is that the husband has to give his wife a get. While this seems sexist and horrendous today, the law’s original intent was to protect women from quickie divorces that were popular in the ancient Middle East. (When I say quickie, I mean quickie. In one culture, all a man had to do was bring his wife outside, say “I divorce you” or something to that effect three times, and they would be divorced.) A get gives women a certain amount of money (specified in the marriage papers), as well as other rights. Today’s men have twisted this pro-woman measure, extorting their wives for thousands of dollars and rights like children’s custody, in order to give a get. Without a get, women are unable to remarry and go on with their lives. As a result, agunah has become a big issue among today’s Jews.

With Orthodox conversion, a person has to take classes about Judaism for several years. Would-be converts often have to travel or move to Israel in this process. Once done, they have to find a rabbi willing to convert them. (For men, this means circumcision and a dip in the mikvah (ritual bath). Women obviously only need to do the mikvah part.) Finding the rabbi is often extremely difficult; converts like Yisrael Campbell (star of Circumcise Me and husband of prominent Jewish feminist Avital Campbell Hochstein), who have moved to Israel in order to convert Orthodox, have struggled at this step. While Mr. Campbell found his rabbi and got his official conversion papers afterwards, many people are denied the papers. Without them, even if a person has gone in the mikvah and is a Jew according to halakha (Jewish law), he or she can’t function as a full Jew, not being able to marry Jewish or have a Jewish child.

So at the end of the day, are agunot and unofficial converts that different? Neither can function as a full Jew within society, as neither can get married nor perpetuate the Jewish nation further. Unfortunately, both are issues that get too little lip service, let alone action, from people in authority positions who could actually change them. This lack of accomplishment needs to be altered. Fortunately, there are some amazing organizations and individuals that are working for that goal.

Agunah Advocates:

Conversion Advocates:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Star of Davida Essay Contest: Honorable Mention Jackie O

What is a woman? One’s perception of femininity matters, for whenever the strength of the feminine spirit is mistaken for a willingness to submit to falsity, power becomes ignorance. Indeed, the significance of gender expression exists in what makes freedom imperative. While humanity possesses intrinsic limitations, its paradox is transformed by faith. The masculine and the feminine exist harmoniously in feminism, as its house is called Mutuality. Delicacy becomes the living, but what presents itself is Patience. Faith in what can be accomplished by the intuition makes all the difference.

Risk-taking as it appears in tradition is one thing; faith in the presence of the spirit is another. Feminism is about ethical empowerment, and being enlightened regarding the causes of the movement has been life-changing for me. Actually, its resounding importance has been clear not only in the grief I have felt for women and minorities in their struggles for equality, but in the hope I am free to have, in the mercy of a higher power. Feminism has done so much for me; it is with gratitude that I have come to realize its accomplishments.

In my heart, discoveries are yet to be made. This is the wonder of faith. Externally, I am inspired by the work of my country’s New Democratic Party. Its recognition of common law relationships as legitimate partnerships, its recognition of the importance of making therapeutic abortion services available, and its recognition of the rights of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community all encompass an approach which resonates with me. The ability to embrace diversity is a trait which speaks to the maternal nature of a masculine God – it is a trait which all can share in. Indeed, I believe that feminism is about empowering all individuals to tap into the inner strength they possess, and I see feminism as a key principle guiding the actions of Canada’s New Democratic Party.

Formerly, I was undecided about which Canadian political party I favoured. Thinking back to the election that took place when I was in fourth grade, I remember being intuitively in favour of the NDP. Of course, the legitimacy of a child’s intuition is often mistaken for what makes him and her impressionable, and that’s the influence of a manipulative soul. Hopefully my new-found tendency to identify as a feminist is not the result of manipulation – as I could succumb to rhetoric against faith – but the result of divine liberation. For instance, the obscurity which with I write may or may not achieve the directness I am going for, but the artistic soul with which each of us is born remains a part of what I want to achieve in solidarity with other children who see themselves in the limitless sky. Yes, I am a woman. A woman is a child just as a man is.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Star of Davida Essay Contest Honorable Mention: Lisa B

This essay by Lisa B is one of the honorable mentions of the Star of Davida Essay Contest, answering the question "How has feminism changed your life?"


Realising that she has always been somewhat different from other people in her attitude and determined to raise her children other than the way she and many of her friends had been brought up, my mother read every book on children's psychology she could get hold of before my birth and discovered her passion for the Swiss psychologist Alice Miller. Even though Miller has never been explicitely classified as a feminist, her work has been praised by several feminist scholars; the probably most important (and feminism-related) point my mother gained from reading her books was about gendered socialisation - and this was basically the first means by which feminism changed my life.

From an early age onwards, my mother ensured that I wasn‘t pushed towards a typically 'girly' way of being, so for example she forbid my all too traditional paternal grandmother to put me in flouncy pink dresses and never bought me one of these crying, puking baby dolls that ALL of the other girls from kindergarten and primary school had as she believed they were only made to prepare little girls for their allegedly natural role as mothers (I never asked for one anyway). Nevertheless, she would let me wear dresses if I wanted to and did not stop me from playing with my Barbies (which my younger brother did as well). My mother simply wanted that neither of us had to meet the expectations of certain gendered behaviour, so my brother and me enjoyed doing 'boy' and 'girl' stuff equally much during our childhood.

Growing up, I wasn't aware of how this education had shaped me - I just realised that I differed from most people/girls my age in terms of behaviour and thinking as I questioned a lot of things others took for granted. I came across the concept of feminism in my early teens which was quite a revalation as the reading I did helped me to articulate my views. That didn't earn me a lot of friends and I was frequently confronted with prejudices, but it lead to me finally having a steady character and more sophisticated opinions.


I am the result of my past. I have indeed inevitably changed over time, but many things have remained the same, even though I experience them differently, more consciously now. Wearing boys clothes isn't just a matter of comfort and taste anymore: it is a political statement. Speaking openly about my opinions, including feminist views in discussions when appropriate and directly addressing the day-to-day unfairness one encounters has become self-evident for me. And spending my money on feminist literature gives me a much greater feeling of satisfaction than buying clothes with it or wasting it on a night out. I believe that these little everyday things make the influence feminism has had on me even more visible than obvious actions like joining the feminist society of my uni; they seem to be a mere, yet logical result of my personality's changes (now that sounds highbrow!).

As Cultural Studies are part of my degree, I'm very lucky to be given the opportunity to specialise within gender related issues and write my assignments about it. The research I‘ve done so far was not only highly interesting, but made me think about even more about what feminism actually is and inhowfar I can identify with it. There is still so much to discover and my currently biggest wish is to deepen my knowledge with a postgraduate degree in Women's/Gender studies at Oxford or Cambridge.


While there isn't much to say about the present, there is even less to say about my future. Que sera sera. Will I get into Oxbridge for a Women's/Gender studies degree? Will my awareness of the importance of gender issues both in history and current every day life give me a competitive edge as a journalist or will prospective employers dismiss me and my views as being too critical/unpleasant/demanding for their output and its consumers? Will I shake up the mainstream media with my contributions or end up writing for a specialist feminist publication? I don't know. But there is one thing that I do know for sure: As long as gender matters, I will keep my interest in it and remain ambitious to challenge any stereotypes, inequalities and discriminative attitudes in its respect that make life difficult for anyone on this planet.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Theater Review: Standing on Ceremony

Yesterday, I saw the Minetta Lane Theater show Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays. The show is made up of nine short plays, all of which explore gay and lesbian relationships and marriage.

A Jewish mother desperate for her kinder to get married is at the heart of “My Husband,” written by Jewish Obie Award-winner Paul Rudnick. This play is a conversation between Gabrielle Finkelstein and her son Michael after gay marriage was legalized in New York. Gabrielle is desperate for her son to get married, mostly because she needs to compete with other liberal Jewish Democrat parents whose gay children have gotten married. I was clutching my sides from laughter during this play, partially because I actually know a Jewish mother who felt this away about her gay son.

I find it amusing that The New York Times’ review of “My Husband” completely didn’t understand it, describing it only as “a clever spoof of the collective rush to the altar and the competitive streak it can bring out in both the participants and their relatives.” The review doesn’t even use the word “Jewish” anywhere, and certainly doesn’t acknowledge the unique relationship between a Jewish mother and her children anywhere. Can only Jews understand this kind of thing?

“London Mosquitoes,” penned by Jewish Tony Award-nominated director Moises Kaufman, is a monologue from the point of view of a widower eulogizing his deceased lover. Joe begins the play by mentioning a rabbi, and ends it off by beginning the Mourners’ Kaddish (the prayer service for the dead), “yisgadal v’yiskadash shemai rabbah b’alma di v’ra…” (The text of the Kaddish actually has nothing to do with death; rather, it praises God, showing the speaker’s belief in the Holy One even at times of great emotional distress. The line Joe says means “magnified and sanctified be God’s great name in this world which God has created.”) I don’t know if I’m reading too far into it, but I interpret the fact that “London Mosquitoes” mentions Judaism at the beginning and the end shows that if a person is born a Jew, he or she will die a Jew, too; it doesn’t matter whether he or she is straight or gay.

Two of the plays focused on lesbian couples. “Traditional Wedding,” written by comedian Mo Gaffney, is a dialogue between long-married lesbians happily reminiscing about their wedding. Because they didn’t want to use the terminology “bride” or “groom,” they decided on “broom” instead, even decorating the top of their cake with two brooms. This play was very bittersweet: Liz, one of the women, describes how her father kicked her out when he found out she was gay and then wouldn’t come to the wedding, while her partner’s former Marine father attended with tears of joy in his eyes. I appreciated how this play really depicts reality, even if it’s sometimes not the reality we would like to face.

“This Flight Tonight,” by playwright Wendy MacLeod, is a conversation between two lesbians who have to fly to Iowa from California in order to get married legally. While the couple bickers and disagrees, almost deciding not to board the plane to Des Moines after all, at the end they realize that marrying in the eyes of the law is worth the effort. This play really showcases the stupidity of the fact that marriage is a state issue. It reminds me of the women’s suffrage battle, where suffragist Alice Paul butted heads with major suffragists because they wanted to pursue the right to vote on a state-by-state basis, while she thought it would be more effective to lobby for a constitutional amendment. Her idea was the one that worked at the end, resulting in the Nineteenth Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote. I really think it would be extremely valuable for the gay community to learn from the women’s rights movement in this way, and possibly focus more effort on getting federal laws protecting marriage equality.

All in all, I greatly enjoyed Standing on Ceremony and would definitely recommend it. Get your tickets fast - it closes on December 18! Part of all proceeds is donated to Freedom to Marry, as well as other organizations dedicated to gay marriage. When you buy tickets, you’re not only guaranteeing yourself a good time, but helping gay rights!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Star of Davida Essay Contest Winner: Quin R

This essay by Quin R is one of the winners of the Star of Davida Essay Contest, answering the question "How has feminism changed your life?"

 I am a white, middle class, cisgendered, and heterosexual male. I am also a feminist.

Although I realize that this may seem no small irony, I believe that there exists no contradiction between these statements. Just because I may never suffer street harassment for wearing the wrong shade of red, or be denied access to my birth control prescription because my pharmacist is a practicing Roman Catholic, does not mean that someone I care about will not be, that I cannot know injustice when I see it, or that I will never be a victim of the oppressive gender binary. Perhaps that sounds a bit polemic, but, to me, the kind of thinking that would allow, even now, women to still be paid less than men for the same work is not only morally wrong: It fully assaults common sense. Furthermore, I should not have to experience, let alone witness, intimate partner violence first hand to realize how much it damages not only the victim, but society. If we live in a world where a woman being beaten for insufficiently pleasing her husband is viewed as a social norm or private matter, how far are we from condoning it as a social norm? But, ultimately, my feminism does not merely constitute support for reformist social policies. It is my lifestyle, my worldview, and my intellectual stimulation. I live feminism every day, from the use of “Ms.” when addressing adults, to the way I hold the door for everybody behind me, not just the smart young women with whom I go to school.

Moreover, nothing in my gaze can escape feminist analysis. I cannot even watch I Love Lucy anymore without considering the implications of the fact that Lucy can be seen being repeatedly spanked by Ricky, or that she does not have free access to a “charge plate.” Conversely, however, I have gained a new appreciation for Veronica Mars, for I now realize the barriers Veronica must break not only to gain access to hidden documents and to escape detection, but also to be taken seriously as a blonde teenage female in the middle of suburbia (and she’s on the wrong side of a class war, to boot).

Overall, though, feminist theory impassions my mind. Before feminism, I was unable to discern the subtle connections between the disparate parts of society that create the kyriarchy, or the system of overlapping oppressions that keep us all trapped, and I am finally able to engage with the otherwise monotonous works assigned in my English classes. Given enough time, I can even defend Lady Macbeth on the basis that she lives in a patriarchal society that does not allow women to be powerful in their own right, so she must live vicariously though her husband. I understand that the narrative of this essay is not focused on one particular event or component of my philosophy. But I cannot condense what has become the most basic framework for my thought process down to a neat package. Then again, I do not believe in placing ideas, or people for that matter, into neat packages. For I am a feminist.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Star of Davida Essay Contest Winner: Eliana NB

This essay by Christina P is one of the winners of the Star of Davida Essay Contest, answering the question "How has feminism changed your life?"

We all owe so much to feminism. Over the years, it has helped us gain basic human rights and the freedom to be individuals. Feminism especially affects those of us who identify as feminist. When a girl or woman first discovers that she is a feminist, her opinions and worldview start to change. For me, feminism encouraged me to stand up for what I believe in, empowered me to realize my opportunities, helped me to gain the respect of numerous people, and enabled me to find an online community of like-minded teenagers.

Feminism helped me to always stand up for what I believe in. Throughout my time as a feminist, I have learned that it is better to stand up for what you believe than to fume silently. Being a feminist has helped me to comment on the sexism that I see in society, even if it means interrupting a class or otherwise risking some embarrassment. As a feminist, I realized that it doesn’t matter what others think of you, so long as you know that you did the right thing and stood up for your beliefs.

Without feminism, I would not have nearly as many opportunities in life. Fortunately for me, both my parents showed me that I could be anything that a guy could be. For example, I love science. When I was a little kid, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be allowed to be a doctor because of my gender. Feminism helps me to be more confident in myself, not only in my beliefs, but in general life. Thanks to feminism, I don’t see my gender as a disadvantage in difficult classes. Confidence is vital to education because it is very important to participate, discuss, and ask questions. Students who are not confident cannot understand ideas and concepts as well, because they don’t interact with the outside world as much.

Despite some societal opposition, feminism has helped me gain people’s respect. This is usually from adults (especially women) who already support feminism, whether they identify as feminist or not. However, even some people who do not support feminism respect me for speaking up for what I believe and caring about important issues. I also have gained the respect of those of my peers who support feminism and gender equality. Although I don’t know if all of my friends identify as feminists, most of the girls I discuss sexism with agree with me and have a lot to say, so feminism is a definite conversation starter.

I was happy to discover the online world of feminist blogs. It’s very encouraging to read articles written by other feminist teenagers, because it helps me know that I’m not the only one who feels this way. The internet helps girls connect with each other and helped me to learn about many issues and topics that I might not otherwise have thought about. This is different from relying on books (which are also wonderful) or other media because it gives teenagers opportunities to discuss issues which are not as applicable to adults, who control the publishing world.

My life has definitely been changed and improved by feminism. I believe that all women and girls have been positively affected by feminism, and that most of the rights we enjoy today are the result of the feminist movement. Joining the continued struggle for feminism is an important decision. A dedication to equality can have wonderful, life-changing effects. Feminism taught me to stand up for what I believe in, realize my opportunities, gain people’s respect, and connect with girls who feel similarly.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Star of Davida Essay Contest Winner: Christina P

This essay by Christina P is one of the winners of the Star of Davida Essay Contest, answering the question "How has feminism changed your life?"

As a child, I was largely a tomboy. I begged my parents to let me play hockey, refused to let my mom dress me in “girly” clothing (anything pink or that had flowers), and racked up more scars on my body than I could count. I was also largely a stereotypical little girl. I had two trunks full of dress up clothes (which was the only time being “girly” was acceptable), I had at least a dozen boxes full of Barbie and her friends, and I filled the empty hole in my heart where hockey might have been with dance classes and gymnastics. As you might guess, I definitely learned about gender roles very early on because I encountered a lot of things I couldn’t do because it wasn’t considered appropriate for my gender. Because of this, I was quick to latch onto feminism. A movement that told me that I could do whatever I wanted and that my gender was no reason to be held back? I couldn’t have been happier.

In addition to my feminist philosophy, I have also been an advocate for the LGBT+ community, which is a community I began to identify with the more I came to accept and understand my sexuality. Slowly there emerged a middle ground between feminism and the LGBT+ community, and as it became clearer to me I learned about the transgendered community. Unlike discrimination based on sexual orientation, transgendered people face it based on their gender identity, and this is because we are uncomfortable with people expressing styles of dress, behaviors, etc. that aren’t stereotypical of the gender that we (unfairly) assign them along with their sex. In other words, it’s largely because of gender norms and roles that we’re expected to adhere to. I’ve now devoted a lot of time (and by a lot of time I mean an entire research proposal paper on the self-esteem of transgendered youth and another research paper that explores that injustices that transgendered people face) to learning about how these gender roles play a part in all of our lives.

As a psychology major, I was always intent on using my acquired skills and knowledge in order to play a part in making people’s lives better. After having immersed myself in two communities that have played a large role in shaping me (I attribute feminism to making me passionate and caring whereas the LGBT+ community has helped me come to accept myself), I have now come to better realize what more I can do. After I finish my undergraduate work, I hope to eventually end up in a PsyD clinical psychology program with a focus in gender identity and sexual orientation. I want to primarily work in the LGBT+ community in hopes that being a feminist and gender equality activist will have also given me an understanding in sexuality and gender.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Why I Celebrate Thanksgiving

I celebrate Thanksgiving because I am thankful.

I am thankful to this amazing country that we call the United States of America. My grandparents came here after they survived concentration camp, and they were plenty thankful that they were given a refuge after the hell they went through in Europe. They celebrated Thanksgiving every year, with an elaborate meal shared with friends and relatives. They were more than happy to show their appreciation for this country.

And while everyone always points out America’s faults and goes on about how horrible it is to live here, and yeah, there are definitely plenty of things that need to be changed, I think this country is pretty freaking incredible.

Cool stuff I can do as an American woman without getting thrown into jail or executed:
  1. Run a blog that criticizes the government and its officials, as well as religious leaders and practices
  2. Worship the god I believe in as loudly as I want to
  3. Wear what I want
  4. Vote
  5. Run for public office
  6. Drive
  7. Get an abortion
  8. Use birth control
  9. Pursue a higher education
  10. Play in a professional sports team
  11. Marry who I want
  12. Have a credit card in my own name
  13. Own property
  14. Get a divorce and have custody of my children
  15. Receive equal pay for equal work
I know a lot of these things aren’t as great as they seem. No, there is no WNFL, gay marriage is only legal in a few states, and reproductive rights are being threatened and limited every day (among many other unfair practices). But there are women’s football teams and leagues, same-sex couples can be united in marriage in a few states, and women are able to get abortions and use birth control if they choose. In the nineteenth century (and even the mid-twentieth), most of the things listed above weren’t even dreamed of, let alone enacted. Other countries are, unfortunately, at the same point as America in 1850.

So that’s why I’m thankful to this country, and why I celebrate Thanksgiving. Thank you, America. Please continue improving in how awesome you are.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Star of Davida Essay Contest Winners!

Star of Davida recently held an essay contest that asked students to answer the question “How has feminism changed your life?” I received a number of amazing entries, which made it hard to decide on the winners. Each one of the essays stood out so much and all of them for different reasons. Here are the winners and honorable mentions (listed in alphabetical order)!

Winners: Christina P, Eliana NB, and Quin R 
Honorable Mentions: Jackie O and Lisa B

Christina, Eliana, and Quin have won Care Bears on Fire’s album Get Over It! and their essays will be published here on Star of Davida. Lisa and Jackie’s work will also be posted. Stay tuned!

For further feminist inspiration, make sure to check out the Links page (which can be found in the sidebar on the left) to some awesome Jewish, feminist, and Jewish feminist online media outlets.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Theater Review: The Judy Show

I recently saw the off-Broadway play The Judy Show. An absolutely hilarious one-person show starring comedian Judy Gold, it’s all about Gold’s life as a lesbian and a Jew, and her quest to get a sitcom on TV featuring a family with gay parents.

I totally loved this play. I saw it with my mom, and the two of us were literally clutching our sides with laughter. While I would have really appreciated if she specifically identified with the feminist movement, it’s clear that Gold does support the ideals of women’s rights. She’s also extremely active in gay rights (a feminist cause), hosting the Sirius/XM weekly radio show “Hatched By Two Chicks” and the GLAAD Media Awards, as well as performing on a half-hour comedy special for LOGO, among other activities.

In the play, she talks about growing up Jewish in predominantly Gentile Clark, New Jersey. Being Jewish is a clear part of Gold’s identity: she usually describes herself as a “6”3 lesbian Jew.” (I appreciated her usage of the word Jew as opposed to Jewish, since people are often reluctant to label themselves so blatantly as Jews.) A lot of her jokes are about her stereotypically Jewish mother, obsessed with her children and the state of Jewry. A lot of my own mother’s idiosyncrasies are similar to what Gold was describing, although I never realized they were Jewish mother things. (I thought everyone took the soap and shampoos from hotels! I means, it’s just there for the taking…and doesn’t everyone look at lists of names and point out the Jewish ones?) Gold had her rebellious moments, though: in high school, she ate cheeseburgers, knowing that her parents would be horrified at this blatant disregard of Jewish law. She now calls herself observant, which I think is beautiful. I know many LGBT Jews feel it’s impossible to be religious and gay at the same time, and the fact that Gold is able to do both really gives me hope.

Another thing I found interesting was that Gold didn’t talk about coming out as gay to her friends. I think it’s great that she never felt a need to announce to the world that she’s a lesbian - I mean, do straight people have to tell everyone their sexuality? Gold did struggle with telling her parents, though. Her father knew she was gay, but she was never able to tell him directly, and she deeply regretted it when he died. She eventually told her mother and sister. While it took her mom a while to get used to the idea (she originally told people that Gold’s “roommate” had a baby and she adopted him), she came around.

The whole premise of The Judy Show is that Gold wants a sitcom about her family called The Judy Show: a divorced lesbian couple with two sons. Gold was fascinated with TV during her childhood and adolescence: in the play, she explains how shows like The Jeffersons, Maude, Three’s Company, and The Brady Bunch shaped her views on the world and her expectations for life (which, unfortunately, were not always met). She went to several networks and pitched the idea, but was repeatedly turned down, even by LOGO. OWN actually began filming, but then decided to nix the show because of the controversy it would stir (something the financially-suffering network feels it can’t afford).

I do find it interesting that Gold has faced so much opposition and disinterest to her idea. Modern Family, which has won and been nominated for dozens of prestigious awards, has a gay couple with an adopted child; Will and Grace, which was also wildly successful, featured two gay men and their hags. Why is the concept of a whole show centered around a family with two mommies so threatening to TV producers? Shouldn’t TV shows reflect the reality of the world, which now includes families with gay parents?

Whatever the case, I look forward to the day when kids - hopefully my own - can watch The Judy Show on TV every week on prime time.

Get your tickets fast - The Judy Show closes on November 27!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Black Holes of Davida: Togo's

Togo’s, a fast food sandwich restaurant chain often combined with Dunkin Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, recently released a new ad campaign titled “Better than a Breadwich.” In the commercial (which can be viewed here), two claymation women walking down the street are flashed by a sandwich. At first, they seem traumatized, but then they laugh it off. As the sandwich runs away, a voiceover says, “Don’t settle for puny,” then sells the new Togo’s sandwich.

This commercial is extremely problematic on many levels. It completely negates the fear, anxiety, and humiliation most women feel when they are subjected to street harassment, especially an outright illegal act like flashing. The ad implies that once women get over the surprise of street harassment, they’ll judge the “quality” of their harasser and base their reaction to him on that. Because this sandwich was “puny,” they laughed. If the sandwich was big and meaty, would they have smiled and flirted instead? This is NOT the reality of street harassment. It doesn’t matter what the harasser looks like - women will be upset when they’re flashed, or whistled at, or groped, or otherwise harassed.

It’s also extremely stereotypical. The sandwich, at least in my opinion, seems like a stereotypical Hispanic gangster-type: hanging around in an alley next to a liquor store, with a mustache, wearing sunglasses, preying on non-Hispanic women. (The only twisted little positive this ad has is that it portrays one of the women as African-American. A common misconception about street harassment is that only white women are victimized.)

The saddest part of this is that Togo’s just doesn’t get how offensive it is to women. Renae Scott, the vice president of branding and marketing at Togo’s, described the ad as “edgy.” Ignoring the fact that using the word “edgy” to describe any commercial about a pork sandwich is asinine, does she really think street harassment is edgy, trendy, cutting edge? Does she want someone to come over to her while she’s walking on the street with a friend and flash her? Does she want that to happen to her friends? Mother? Grandmother? Aunts? Nieces? Daughters?

So tell Togo’s that you find this ad offensive! You can email them here and say:

I find your recent “Better than a Breadwich” commercial highly offensive. It trivializes street harassment, a serious and traumatizing crime that shouldn’t be taken lightly or mocked in a commercial. I strongly urge you to pull this campaign and substitute it with something that doesn’t poke fun at women who have been flashed and otherwise harassed on the street.

I sent them an email in complaint, and they responded:

We wanted to make sure you knew that we received your comment regarding our recent TV commercial. It is never our intention to offend anyone.  Our spot was meant to be fun and quirky and to make fun of sandwiches that are all bread and no meat.  I will make sure our Marketing team hears your concerns. I truly appreciate your feedback and will pass it along to our Brand Marketing team.

Make sure they hear from as many people as possible. There’s strength in numbers!

For now, I dub Togo's an inductee into the Black Holes of Davida - people who let us feminists down by advocating misogyny, sexism, abuse, and other anti-woman thoughts and actions. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Boys, Music, Rape - the Usual Suspects

I babysit two absolutely lovely boys, aged eight and ten. (The older one has been my “boyfriend” for a number of years now.) Their parents are also very sweet people who. I know the family through synagogue and from around the neighborhood. They try really hard to observe halakha (Jewish law), and send their boys to an Orthodox school. (The fact that I’m willing to babysit for them is a testament to how great these two kids are, because I’m really picky about my clients.)

The last time I was babysitting them, one of the boys was messing around on his dad’s iPad and playing music. His first choice was Ke$ha’s “Crazy Beautiful Life.” His second was Katy Perry’s ET. I asked if his parents mind if he listens to that music, and he said that the only reason he doesn’t usually play it out loud is because his mom is in the yearlong mourning period and can’t listen to music.

It kinda surprised me that his choices were those particular artists and songs. I know a lot of people don’t understand my problem with Ke$ha, but I’m sticking to my guns here. A lot of her stuff has sexual overtones or are downright explicit. Right now I’m thinking of “And they turn me on / when they take it off / when they take it off / everybody take it off” and “Just turn around boy and let me hit that / Don’t be a little b***h with your chit chat / Just show me where your d**k’s at,” among many other Ke$ha lyrics. In “Crazy Beautiful Life,” she uses the word douche in the chorus, as well as the b word and s word, and talks about being high. It’s just not appropriate for little kids. Yes, I know they can hear those words and worse on television, especially cable, but curb it where you can, you know?


I find the fact that they were listening to “ET” absolutely unacceptable, though. The song, as stated in several feminist blogs, is a violent rape fantasy. Katy says in the chorus “Kiss me, kiss me / Infect me with your love and / Fill me with your poison / Take me, take me / Wanna be your victim / Ready for abduction.” It’s not like it’s hard to understand or anything. The lyrics are blatant. Then Kanye West comes in and raps! Surprising that a guy who enjoys raping dead white women would collaborate on a song like this, huh? Well, he does, stating that “Imma disrobe you / Then Imma probe you / See I’ve abducted you / So I’ll tell you what to do.” Again, completely blatant. No double entendres or sexual innuendos here. Katy and Kanye like telling it like it is, apparently.

And so, I think that anyone with any sense of appropriateness will agree with me that this song is completely not anywhere near the realm of okay for children. Two young boys, listening to a woman say how she wants to be raped and hearing a man describe how to rape her? I’m sorry, that doesn’t jibe with me. I know the nuances of the song are totally lost on kids that little, and they probably don’t listen to it that hard and don’t understand it if they do, but it’s still in their heads. I know that I’ve still got songs stuck in my head that I listened to when I was their age and haven’t heard since. What a way to raise future feminists!

It’s not their parents’ fault, since they weren’t home when they were playing these songs. However, the incident still really bothered me. I know people will think I’m overreacting to this and say that I’m making a big deal over nothing, but I really think this is an issue. There are links between violent, sexualized video games to murder and other violent physical crimes. I don’t know of any identified link between music with violent descriptions to crime, but is it so far-fetched? I really don’t think so.

It’s absolutely crazy, to be honest. There are hundreds of great organizations out there that are working to change this, but it’s still the reality women and men face. It certainly has to be changed.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Retouching Photographs: Ethical?

Retouching photographs of models in magazines and newspapers has been a point of controversy in the publishing industry ever since technology like Photoshop has become readily available. Most magazines, especially ones dedicated to fashion and/or celebrity stalking, have no qualms about retouching “imperfect” pictures. I think this practice is absolutely reprehensible.

There are instances when it’s appropriate to retouch photograph. For example, if a person in a photograph has red eye or some stray hairs, or the lighting isn’t good, or there’s some other imperfection that doesn’t change the concept of the picture to a ridiculous degree, I don’t see a problem with that. I do take issue with pictures retouched to the point that the original subject is unrecognizable or completely changed, especially in the mass media.

Dozens of studies have proven that young women are very much influenced by how the media portrays women, whether television or the Internet or magazines. (A specific study I have in mind was conducted in Tahiti, where girls were almost universally happy with their bodies until the Americans came in and inculcated them with the media.) As a result, when models are depicted as super-skinny with heads wider than their hips (as included in this post), that sends girls a message that they need to be as thin as possible in order to be accepted, “normal.” This sort of thing is why anorexia and other eating disorders are so common in our society. If models and celebrities were shown in magazines looking the way they do without make up and Photoshop enhancements, young women would be able to see what “normal” really is.

I think the purpose of photographs should be to represent reality. If a person wants it to represent art, he or she should draw or paint. Photographs shouldn’t lie. Photography shouldn’t be based on the concept of, “I took this picture and I know it’s not perfect, so instead of trying again and again until I get it right, I’ll just Photoshop it when I get home.” Yes, if at second glance there’s some minor imperfection with the photograph, I don’t think it’s a big deal to retouch it a little bit, but to completely change a picture is just wrong.

Religiously speaking, there’s the concept of genevat da’at, tricking a person to think one thing when that’s not the reality of the situation. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that majorly retouching a picture can fall under the prohibition of genevat da’at. (This isn’t my original idea - when a Hasidic newspaper infamously Photoshopped Hillary Clinton out of the historic picture in the Situation Room after Osama bin Laden’s death, Rabbi Jason Miller opposed this on the grounds of genevat da’at.) A retouched picture of a model depicts a person that doesn’t really exist, and displaying it to people is tricking them into thinking that such a person does.

So yeah, I think that retouching pictures isn’t the right thing to do, for numerous reasons. As much as I may say this to myself and others, I know that my inner moral compass screaming “ANOREXIA! LYING! GENEVAT DA’AT!” isn’t going to stop me from fixing every tiny imperfection in my yearbook photo, though. It’s easy to talk about not caring about how you look, but a lot harder to actually have to live that way.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Steve Jobs, Apple, and Rosie the Riveter

I thought I'd share the picture I made in school (awesome advanced computer classes, baby!) as a tribute to Steve Jobs. Apple ran the Think Different ad campaign from 1997-2002, showing commercials and print advertisements featuring "the crazy ones" who dared to change the world. The art directors behind it were all women (Jennifer Golub, Jessica Schulman, and Yvonne Smith). A number of awesome women are featured in the campaign, including Joan Baez, Rosa Parks, Jane Goodall, and Amelia Earhart.

When our teacher told us that our next assignment would be to design an ad that could be a part of the Think Different campaign, I immediately thought of Rosie the Riveter, the iconic World War II ad that encouraged women to enter the workforce. I added an Apple logo tattoo (and blended it into her skin) and "Think Different!" instead of "We Can Do It!" in her speech bubble.

Links to cool articles about Steve Jobs, Rosie the Riveter, and what they have to do with feminism:
A Tale of Two Siblings - Steve Jobs and Mona Simpson
Revolting Women: Joan of Arc, Rosie the Riveter, and the Feminist Protest Icon

Monday, October 24, 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. There are very many wonderful things to do to waste time, one of my personal favorites being browsing the website (Other cool sites are,, and

While I was putting off doing something important, I noticed the picture above. Yeah, ha ha, very funny, reminds me of the “Death to All Juice” protest sign. However, it occurred to me: why are these Jews portrayed as male? (The big noses are a little offensive, too.)

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 also find it interesting that there are so many are anti-Israel pictures, a surprising fact considering that most Orthodox Jews are pro-Israel.

I suppose these results just mirror the reality of the world. When asked to picture a Jew, most people will immediately think of a bearded rabbi, possibly with a big nose and black hat, even if s/he doesn’t personally know one. Few will think of a woman, non-white, or non-Ashkenaz.

Well, at least it's an improvement from when people really thought that Jews had horns, right? That myth might've taken a few centuries to dispel, but I really do think that in a generation or two from now, the Google Image results for “Jew” and “Orthodox Jews” will be different. There are so many more women role models within the religious and secular Jewish communities nowadays, and that number will only increase. In synagogues, there are women like Rabba Sara Hurwitz, Rachel Kohl Finegold, Lynn Kaye, and Dina Najman; the children of their congregations won’t be strangers to women in leadership positions. There is a proliferation of mohelot, female circumcisers, among the non-Orthodox; it's only a matter of time until more observant circles get the hang of it, too. Female mashgihot (kosher certifiers) are also increasing in popularity. Yavilah McCoy, an African-American Jewish woman, is active in advocacy for Jews of color. Idit Klein, the executive director of Keshet, shows Jews that they can be included in the community, no matter what their sexual orientation. There are dozens of Jewish women in the music and film industry who let their Jewish identities be known.

I think that Vanessa Hidary really embodies the point of this post. Ms. Hidary is a Sephardic woman poet who’s trying to show the world that everyone can be a Jew, regardless of what s/he looks like. I had the honor of interviewing her a while ago, and I still keep up with her work (she released a book recently, The Last Kaiser Roll in the Bodega). I fell in love with her work when I first heard her poem “The Hebrew Mamita.”

“I'm thinking, I'm saying
What does Jewish look like to you?
Should I fiddle on a f**king roof for you?
Should I humor you with oy veys and refuse to pay?
Oh, 'cause you know how we like to Jew you down
Jew you down, I'd like to throw you down!...

I'm the Hebrew mamita
Long-lost daughter of Abraham and Sarah
The sexy oy-veying chutzpah-having non-cheaping non-conspiracizing always-questioning hip hop-listening Torah scroll-reading all people-loving
Jewish girl.

Bigging up all people who are a little miffed
'Cause someone tells you you don't look like
Or act like your people.
Impossible, because you are your people.
You just tell them they don't look,

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Love Your Body Day

As many of you probably know, today is NOW’s fourteenth annual Love Your Body Day. I think it’s great that NOW has been raising awareness of body image issues for so long, and I hope that this campaign touches girls and boys all over the world.

I think everyone can attest to the fact that it’s a lot easier to say “love your body” than to actually love your own body. We all have our insecurities, and it’s extremely difficult to just leave them at the door. I can get on a soapbox and say how beauty is just a perception that men have created to oppress women and blah blah blah, but that’s not gonna solve anything or make women feel any better about themselves. Honestly, it irritates me when people say that kinda thing. It’s a fact that we all want to conform to societal standards and not be the weirdo, and part of that is the desire to be pretty. We all want to be accepted. God bless the minority of women who have gotten to the point where they could care less how they look, but most of us haven’t gotten to that level yet.

At the end of the day, I just think that we should all feel comfortable in our bodies, and not judge others for how they look. If Sarah is a size 24 and wants to lose weight, then she has my blessing; if Rebecca is a size 24 who loves how she looks, good for her too. Sarah and Rebecca shouldn’t criticize each other’s choices regarding weight, and it’s nobody else’s business, either.

I have a younger friend whose build will never allow her to look like a runway model, but she’s far from fat. There have been a number of occasions where people have said to her (in my hearing, no less) “Oh, you have such a pretty face,” or even flat-out “You’d be so pretty if you were thin.” I have another younger friend who is also not thin, and she's told me about some of the things that girls and boys have said to her to mock her weight. She tries really hard not to let it bother her, and I think she does succeed. It still really drives me crazy that people feel that they can say whatever they want to impressionable little girls like my two friends, and I really want to give it to them. Like, it’s none of your business what she looks like! Do you want her to feel like garbage because of how she looks? If she’s okay with it, then let her live. If she’s not okay with it, then she’ll diet or exercise on her own - she doesn’t need motivation from you.
I know that these catty people say things like that to my friends to make themselves feel better about their own insecurities. “Well, my [insert body part here] might be horrendous, but at least I’m not fat like her.” Sometimes it’s honestly well-intentioned, albeit completely tactless. It’s these nasty comments are the kinds of things we never forget, that plague us for the rest of our lives. We need to be vigilant against saying mean things about others’ bodies, especially by accident.

My mother has influenced me a lot in this sense. She’s lost more than 100 pounds, and maintained it over a period of several years. Because of her, I know how icky someone can feel because of their body weight. I just wish everyone had that sort of influence in their life.

We’re in the middle of Sukkot now, when Jews leave their homes to live in small huts (sukkahs) to commemorate how the Jews lived when they wandered in the wilderness for forty years. The sukkah is supposed to be fragile to show that it’s not the sukkah protecting us from the elements, it’s God. Similarly, it’s not really our bodies that protect our nishamot (souls); it’s God. Our bodies are just vessels for our nishamot to live in this world, and will be discarded when we die and head to Olam HaBa, the world to come. May we all learn how to come to terms with how our vessels look in this world.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Footloose: A Feminist Review

I’m not much of a movies person, since I object to paying twelve bucks for an hour and a half of entertainment (I can donate that money to a cause that has a lasting effect on the world). However, I love free stuff, and managed to get two advanced preview tickets to Footloose. Having not seen the original movie or Broadway play, I was only vaguely familiar with the plot. It was pretty cute and I liked it, although I wouldn’t have been amazed if I had paid full price to see it.

[SPOILER ALERT] While watching Footloose, a few things struck me. The movie opens at a high school keg party in Bomont, Georgia, where five students are killed in an extremely graphic car accident. (There are a lot of burning cars and violent fights - definitely not for the squeamish.) The next scene shows the town’s reverend and city councilmember speaking on behalf of a new law prohibiting partying, drinking, and dancing. The first thing I noticed was that there was only one woman and one African-American on the eight-person city council. (The sad part is that the percentage isn’t unrealistic - Congress is only 17% female, 8% black, 5% Latino/a, and 2% Asian-American.) I would've really liked it if there were a couple more women on the council.

Despite the fact that people of color are underrepresented on Bomont’s city council, the rest of the movie makes a specific effort to promote diversity and interracial relationships. The Woody character was recast as African-American, and Ziah Colon, a black actor, plays Rusty (originally Sarah Jessica Parker), who becomes romantically linked with a white character. Throughout the movie, there are a number of extras who are African-American, which I think is pretty cool. While Ariel and Ren, the two main characters, remained white, I think Footloose is still headed in the right direction.

In addition to showcasing the talents of actors of color, the movie also tells watchers that gay bashing is unacceptable. After Chuck, Ariel’s older boyfriend, calls Ren a f*ggot, Ren responds, “I thought only a**holes used the word f*ggot.” I think that’s a really valuable message to send, especially since this is a hot-button issue today. (I’ve probably signed five petitions in the past week to help pro-LGBT students who have faced discrimination in the last week alone.)

Ariel, the minister’s daughter, is supposed to be a good-girl-gone-bad, rebelling against the anti-party laws by dating Chuck. At the beginning, he pressures her to give into his sexual advances, and is depicted as a generally icky dude throughout the movie (almost killing Ren in a bus race, getting one of his cronies to plant a joint on him, etc.). After Ariel finally realizes Chuck’s a piece of work who doesn’t deserve her, she breaks up with him. After he calls her a slut, she starts beating up his car with a crowbar. He brutally attacks her, giving her a black eye. His punishment? When he comes to break up the dance at the end of the movie, Ren and Willard beat him and his cronies up.

Yeah, that’s it. Ariel never tells her parents on-screen who beat her bloody; if she did off-screen, they didn’t make any intentions of legal justice clear. No one else in the movie does, either. This made me really, really, upset. Ariel was wrong to destroy Chuck’s car, and she should be liable to pay for the damages; however, Chuck was 100% wrong to retaliate physically, and should pay for what he did in jail. It is never, ever acceptable for a man to lay his hand on a woman (or the other way around), and I feel like the movie didn’t make that clear enough. Ren and Willard’s vigilante justice was a very lovely gesture, but Chuck only walked away bruised. Beating him up didn’t make him understand how to respect women. Only time behind bars and some serious therapy can do that. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Chucks out there who get away with beating up their girlfriends. Even more unfortunately, Footloose advocated an eye for an eye rather than justice via the legal system. While Chuck did at least face punishment for what he did, it would have really made me happy if Ariel said that she and her parents are pressing charges.

So, I think that Footloose had its ups and downs. I don’t know how it compared to the original, but I hope all of you who are Kevin Bacon fans appreciate it!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pro-Israel, Pro-Feminist

I’m on EMILY’s List’s emailing list, so I get all of their emails to support certain feminist candidates. (It does bother me that they’ll only look at Democrat women, though. Can’t you at least consider going past party lines?) A while ago, I received information about Kate Marshall (D-NV), who at the time was running for Congress in a special election. (She lost.)

Since the info was from EMILY’s List, I knew Marshall had to champion women’s causes, but I didn’t know about her position on Israel. I procrastinated looking it up until recently, when I found that she released a really beautiful statement supporting Israel with the following at the end:

Background: Israel has been in the news lately, and will be even more in the news with Beck’s “Rally to Restore Courage” in Jerusalem. In an R district, it will be useful to express support for Israel and demonstrate some foreign policy prowess while it is a timely topic - especially for people who are likely paying attention to Beck’s event.

Yeah. I think that speaks for itself. Don’t you love politicians that campaign as a certain platform just to garner votes, and then God knows what they’ll do once they’re in office?

I was prepared to write an article in total support of Marshall, but once I found out that she’s not a reliable friend of Israel, it complicates things. This is where the whole “are you a Jew or are you a feminist?” comes in.

I’ve said before and I’ll say again that I’m a Femidox Jew, an Orthodox feminist whose identity is made up of those two parts. (And for all you Frum Satire fans, yes, I did take the term Femidox (fifth to last) from him.) I’m Orthodox, I’m feminist. They’re equal parts of my identity.

So do I support Kate Marshall, the pro-woman anti-Israel candidate? No. Do I support Tammy Baldwin, who is endorsed by J Street (an anti-Israel group that claims to be otherwise) and has voted against Israel? No. I cannot stand behind any politician that is not completely, totally, and absolutely a friend of Israel. It’s my homeland, and I need to know that it will not be in danger. (As Aviva Cantor said at the Women’s Liberation and Jewish Identity Conference, if the authorities came for you because you’re a Jew, would your neighbors hide you? What do you do if they don’t and you don’t have Israel? Unfortunately, we already know the answer - six million died as a result.)

On the flip side, do I support Faceless Candidate X who supports Israel with his or her entire heart, but is pro-life? No. The “fem” in Femidox won’t let me do that.

In Deborah, Golda, and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America, Letty Cottin Pogrebin (the Jewish feminist founder of Ms. Magazine) mentions that she went to an identity conference once, where there were signs like “woman” and “Jew” to stand beneath. At the time she chose to identify as a woman, but she says that “after 1975, I would not have been so sure.” I feel like I’m almost her opposite: a few years ago, I would have immediately gone to “Jew,” but now I’d have to stand under both. Because that’s who I am: a Femidox Jew.

It can get tiresome to juggle around two identities all the time, but hey, I never said my life was easy.

About the picture I included with this post: it was a flag flown by a Holocaust survivor when the UN announced the creation of the state of Israel.

Don't forget that today is the last day to submit for the Star of Davida Essay Contest! If you need a few more days, the deadline's not written in stone, but please email me at to inform me that your entry will be late.