Monday, April 30, 2012

Women Chefs

Over the past several months, I’ve begun to watch competitive cooking shows obsessively. I mean, I don’t really know how to turn on my own oven and have never cooked anything in my life, but watching food shows has given me somewhat of a desire to maybe learn how to cook something someday in the far future, preferably simple. Something that interested me about these competitive food shows (other than cooking tips) is that women are largely underrepresented.

One of my favorite shows is Chopped, where four professional chefs are given a very short amount of time to make a composed dish with three or four random ingredients. There is usually only one female competitor on each show. Every once in a while you’ll see two women, but it’s unusual. There was only one episode I can remember where all four competitors were female, and the rarity of such an occurrence was pointed out by one of the judges.

Iron Chef, which is the big time in competitive cooking shows, has noticeably few women. In the show, a chef challenges one of the Iron Chefs to a cook-off. On the original Japanese version, there were no female Iron Chefs. I don’t watch the show that often, but I’ve never seen an episode with a female competitor. I don’t think my perception of the show as a boys’ club is too far off, since Wikipedia’s section on notable challengers lists twenty men’s names with some commentary, while nine female challengers’ names are squished together at the bottom.

On Iron Chef America, the Americanized version of Iron Chef, there was only one woman (Cat Cora) out of nine total Iron Chefs. There are rarely female challengers, although I have seen them before. There are usually a few female sous chefs in kitchen stadium, whether from the Iron Chef’s or challenger’s team. Next Iron Chef, which pits professional chefs against each other to find the next star of Iron Chef America, tries harder to feature female chefs. In 2007, two out of eight contestants were women; in 2009, three out of ten were women (and one was Jewish, Amanda Freitag); in 2010, four out of ten were women; and in 2011, three out of ten were women. No women have won Next Iron Chef yet, although Elizabeth Falkner was runner-up in 2011.

Next Food Network Star (NFNS) pits everyday chefs against each other for the opportunity to have their own cooking show on Food Network. NFNS has always had a lot of female competitors, especially as the years have gone on. On Season 1, three out of eight contestants were female (including the runner-up); on Season 2, four out of eight were female; on Season 3, four out of 11 were female (including winner Amy Finley); on Season 4, five out of ten were female (including Corey Kahaney, the Jewish creator of the Off-Broadway JAP Show, which featured Jewish women comedians); on Season 5, five out of ten were female (including winner Katie d’Arabian); on Season 6, seven out of 12 were female (including Jewish Aria Kagan and winner Aarti Sequeira, host of the popular show Aarti Party); and on Season 7, seven out of 15 were female (including Jewish Penny Davidi).

Teams of judges on Food Network shows tend to be approximately half-male and half-female. Of the 18 professional chefs and restaurateurs that have served as judges on Chopped, seven are female, and two out of five judges that have served on every season are female. There’s almost always at least one or two women on the judging panels of Iron Chef, Iron Chef America, and Next Iron Chef. On every season of NFNS, two out of four judges were female.

What interests me a lot is that the pastry and dessert shows have much more women. Cupcake Wars, where competitors have to bake themed cupcakes for an event, is Chopped’s opposite: usually there are three female competitors and one male, and every once in a while there are two men. Sweet Genius, Israeli pastry chef Ron Ben-Israel’s way to find up-and-coming dessert artists, usually features two women and two men. Challenge, an extreme cake competition, also averages out at two men and two women.

If my assumption that Food Network represents reality is correct, it surprises me that there aren’t more women in the professional cooking field. After all, don’t women belong in the kitchen? I have to do more research into this.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Evolution of Disney Princesses

I saw the above graphic and totally fell in love with it. I was raised with all of the Disney princesses above (except for Tiana), and my mom can vouch for the fact that my favorites were always Mulan and Pocahontas, with Ariel as a distant third. As a young female, I had been conditioned by society to like Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty, but my preference was always for Mulan. We went to see the movie in theaters, and I fell in love with her on the spot. I still have Mulan VHS tape, Disney-issued Mulan picture book, and Mulan and Chang Barbie dolls. I was an infant when the Pocahontas movie came out, but my mom loved the movie and bought both Pocahontas and the sequel on VHS tape. I actually dressed like Pocahontas for Purim one year. I wonder if these two movies instilled an interest in women's history in me. (Okay, I'm reading too much into that. But still.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Equal Pay is Still Important

Tuesday, April 17 was Equal Pay Day, celebrating women’s gains in pay equity.

I’ve always felt the equal pay for equal work is one of the most important modern-day feminist issues. It’s just so insane that in the 21st century there’s still a huge wage gap, with women only making 77 cents to every white man’s dollar (and that’s if they have white privilege - African-American women make 62 cents and Latinas make 53 cents). This means that women have to work for 16.5 months to earn what men make in 12 months. If the wage gap continues to narrow at the same rate as it has done since 1960, it will take another 44 years, or until 2056, for women and men to reach pay equity. 

I think part of the reason this frustrates me so much is because it shows how many resources are not being used to better the world. A large part of the wage gap is because unscrupulous employers pay their female workers less in order to cut costs, but some of it is because women tend to make up disproportionate amounts of part-time employees and works in lower-paid fields. It’s crazy that women are shunted to these positions when they could be in the lab discovering the cure for cancer or composing like Mozart or doing something extremely productive that contributes to improving the world. Not sitting behind a desk and making pasta every night. (Not that there's anything wrong with sitting behind a desk - my own mother did that for many years. It's just that most of the women who are stuck in those sort of jobs are capable of accomplishing a lot more.)

The lack of equal pay also showcases the extent of sexism in this country. It’s more than just impacting women’s wallets. It’s a manifestation of how women are viewed in this country. “Oh, she’s just a woman. Pay her less than the man in the office who does the exact same job. If we can get away with it, why not?”

Well, here are a few petitions you can sign to help end this unfair trend in American economics:

Equal pay for men and women was mandated in 1963, with the passage of the Equal Pay Act. Unfortunately, employers found ways to get around this law or outright ignored it. The most recent legislative action taken against pay inequity was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009. The first bill President Obama signed, it was the result of Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., where Ms. Ledbetter sued her employer for a lifetime of unfair pay due to her sex. While she did not win the lawsuit, the Fair Pay Act ensured that other women in her position would not face the same fate.

Feminists today mostly agree that one of the most effective ways to end equal pay would be if the president would issue an executive order to protect employees of federal contractors against retaliation for disclosing or asking about their wages. This would greatly aid women, since they would be able to ask others about their salaries and learn where they stand as compared to their male coworkers. As far as my research could go, I could not find any information that indicates that Obama signed such an executive order.  

Another way equal pay activists are trying to narrow the wage gap is through getting the Paycheck Fairness Act passed. The PFA would help bring an end to pay discrimination by closing a set of loopholes in current labor laws that make it near impossible for workers to expose and fix pay discrimination. It would ban employer retaliation against workers who seek to expose wage discrimination, make it easier for workers to join together in class action suits to fight it and give victims full compensation and back pay. By signing the petitions that I included the links to above, hopefully the PFA will fare well in Congress. With legislation like the PFA on the books and a presidential executive order announced, our daughters will not suffer from pay inequality the way our mothers did (and do).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Never Forget

“Where’s your bubby?” my seven-year-old camper, Kayla, asks me on Bring Your Bubby to Camp Day.

“She died a few years ago,” I explain.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” Kayla says.

“It’s okay. She died at an old age, considering she was a Holocaust survivor,” I say.

Kayla looks at me blankly. “What’s a Holocaust survivor?”

I’m shocked at Kayla’s ignorance. Why has the Jewish education system glossed over such an integral part of Jewish history, of Jewish identity? How is it possible that a second grader attending a religious school is so unaware of her roots?

“It’s…it’s a long story,” I say, trying to think of how to react. I think back on everything my grandmother and mother told me. Kayla’s face begins to spin before me, bringing me back…

I open my eyes and find myself in the middle of a bustling town. I look to my side and recognize a much-younger version of my grandmother, Feige, as she watches her brothers and father assemble a sukkah. Every year during Sukkos, she would tell me all about how her family’s sukkah frame stayed up all year. Until the Nazis came, at least.

“Feige, could you bring us some lunch from the store?” her father asks.

“Of course, Apu,” she says. I follow her into her family’s store next door. The interior is vibrant and warm, full of colorful local and international produce and potential buyers browsing through the wares. Feige heads straight to the counter. I recognize the woman behind it as my great-grandmother Ita, a savvy businesswoman who exponentially increased her family’s fortune. I never met her in person, but I know her face from my aunt’s wedding album.

As Feige walks through the store to get lunch for her father and brothers, she greets almost every customer. I know that the Jewish community in Beregszasz, Hungary has a huge Jewish community, so it impresses me that she knows everyone. I imagine that she figures someone from her family will always run the store, live in the house next to it, put up the sukkah every autumn.

Suddenly, the scene before me becomes fuzzy. When everything becomes clear again, I realize that I’m no longer inside my great-grandmother’s store. I am witnessing a hell unlike any I have seen before, a hell called Auschwitz. There are hundreds of women, skeletons of people wearing filthy rags, lined up in perfect rows. It’s dark, sometime before sunrise, and freezing cold.

“Anyu, eat the meat, don’t trade it,” I hear a Hungarian whisper. I turn around and see two women standing next to each other. At first I think I don’t know them, but when I walk closer I can recognize what used to be Feige and Ita in their faces.

“I’m not eating this treiferei,” Ita responds to her daughter. She spits on the ground, looking truly disgusted at the thought of letting non-kosher pass her lips. As she spits, her skin stretches even tighter across her bones. “You won’t eat it either, so don’t be a big shot.”

“You’re older than me, you need the nutrients more than I do,” Feige says desperately, trying to cajole her mother into eating the meat.

“No. You know you want me to trade it,” Ita responds.

“Well…” Feige wavers.

“I need to go. I said I would meet her at sunrise,” Ita says. “It’s starting to get light now.” Before she can change her mind, she walks off. I notice a bulge underneath her clothing and assume it’s the offending meat.

Even though she’s gone for what feels like hours, my great-grandmother’s absence isn’t noticed. As the sky gets increasingly lighter, the women just stand in their perfect rows, waiting for roll call to begin. When the sun reaches a certain place in the heavens, I notice some women mumble the morning blessings and thank God for giving them one more day.

Finally, Ita comes back. I notice the bulge in her clothing is larger, and a different shape. “You got them?” Feige asks.

“I got them,” she says.

“Oh, thank you,” Feige responds, looking relieved. “I wish I could smoke right now, it really calms me down.” She reaches out to touch the bulge under her mother’s shirt. I realize that Ita traded her meat for cigarettes for Feige to smoke. I almost feel like laughing. Well, that’s the Berger women’s spirit for you.

“After roll call,” Ita says to her daughter. I see a twinkle in her eye.

I stand with them for hours, holding vigil with my ancestors. When I hear the sound of Nazi boots stomping, my vision begins to cloud yet again.

When I can see clearly again, I’m standing in front of little Kayla. She looks at me expectantly, waiting for an answer to her question.

“What’s the Holocaust?” she repeats impatiently.

“Let me tell you a story,” I tell her. “In the 1930s, there was a girl named Feige…”

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tell Your Senators: Support the ERA!

I received the following email from Jacqui Ceballos, the extremely amazing early NOW member and founder of Veteran Feminists of America.

On March 22, 2012, nine Senate Democrats proposed that states be given another chance to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. This is the 40th Anniversary of the Senate's passage of the ERA and the first time the Senate has ever considered an ERA bill other than the "Start-over."

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD.) and eight other Democrats proposed a joint resolution that would remove the 1982 deadline for getting 38 states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). By 1982, the ERA had been ratified by 35 states, three short of the 38 needed to become an amendment. Cardin said that Congress "should give the states another chance," and said passage of a joint resolution by both the House and Senate extended the deadline once before, in the late 1970s.

Cardin noted that last year, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that "certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't."

Cardin also stated that the 27th Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits congressional pay raises from taking effect immediately, was ratified in 1992 - 203 years after first being proposed in 1789 by James Madison.

In 1992, following passage of the 27th Amendment, the ERA Summit, a national coalition working to jump-start a new ratification effort, sought a legal analysis as to whether the ERA's time limit could be removed. The conclusion of this study: "Why the Equal Rights Amendment Remains Viable and Legally Before the States" pointed out that there was: No time limit in the Constitution, the time limit has already been changed once from 1979 to 1982 and, the ERA's time limit is in the proposing clause not the Amendment.

Therefore, it was entirely up to Congress whether or not to remove the deadline

Following this analysis, in 1993, ERA activists were successful in getting a Resolution in the US House that would authorize Congress to recognize and accept the ratification by three more states. This bill, known as the "Three-state Strategy" was introduced into every Congress through 2008. During this time, efforts were made by ERA supporters to obtain a companion bill in the US Senate but they were never successful.

In 2009, Carolyn Cook, DC Coordinator for ERA Campaign Network, authored a bill that would remove ERA's ratification deadline in support of the Three-State Strategy. Jean Landweber, WI Coordinator for ERA Campaign Network, convinced Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to sponsor the House bill HJ Res 47. It was introduced on the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day. March 8, 2011.

Since then, Carolyn Cook worked tirelessly to get a companion bill introduced in the Senate.

SJ Res. 39 was introduced by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) on March 22, 2012 to mark the 40th Anniversary of when both Houses of Congress first approved ERA and sent it out to the states. SJ 39 Res. is the companion bill to HJR 47.

Co-sponsors of Cardin's resolution to eliminate the ERA deadline are: Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Frank Lautenberg (DJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Barbara Mikulski (MD).

Your help is needed! In order to have a hearing, more co-sponsors are needed.

Please call your senator toll free (1-877-762-8762). Ask him or her to become a co-sponsor of HJR 39. You can also email him or her at this link.

You can say:

Please co-sponsor the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Thirty-five states have already ratified. Asking them to start over takes us all back 40 years as if the ERA had never happened. The fact that Senator Durbin, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary where an ERA hearing will be held, signed on from the beginning should be sufficient justification for you to become a co-sponsor. With the War on Women going on, it is unacceptable for our senators not to help us get a hearing for this approach to ratifying the ERA. Women and girls deserve the ERA after more than 200 years of fighting. The ERA is a matter of simple justice long overdue.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Shining Stars of Davida: Shelley Berkley

Shelley Berkley (D-NV) is just an all-around awesome Jewish woman in Congress. Born Rochelle Levine, her working class family moved to Nevada when she was a teenager because of the increased economics opportunities in the West. She was the first member of her family to graduate from college. To put herself through school (both her undergraduate and law degrees), she worked as a keno runner and cocktail waitress in the casinos in Las Vegas. After graduating from law school, she worked for Vegas casinos as legal counsel.

Berkley’s political career began in 1982-1984, when she served in the Nevada Assembly. In 1990, she was appointed as the Vice Chair of the Nevada University and Community College System Board of Regents by the governor of Nevada, and was reelected to the position twice, serving until 1998.

She has been a member of the US House of Representatives ever since 1998, the first time she ran for Nevada’s 1st congressional district seat. (The 1st district includes most of Las Vegas and its surrounding area, which is the home to a large Jewish community.) Berkley won the Democratic primary with over 80% of the vote, and took the general election, too. She has been reelected in every election since, serving in Congress for seven terms (about fourteen years).

She is the first female congressperson from her district and the second from Nevada as a whole, and she is the first Jewish woman and second Jew to serve in Congress from Nevada.

I think it’s safe to label Berkley as a friend of women’s rights. NARAL rates her as a 100% supporter of the pro-choice movement. She is also endorsed by the Feminist Majority PAC, EMILY’s List, the Women’s Campaign Forum, and the National Women’s Political Caucus. She is also a NOW supporter and spoke at the 2004 NOW conference.

Described as a “pro-Israel hawk” by the Jewish Week, Berkley has ties with AIPAC and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA). She has said that “Israel has the right to continue building in its capital, inside an area that has always been a proposed part of a future State of Israel. As Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said, ‘Jerusalem is not a settlement.’ It is the eternal, undivided capital of Israel.” Berkley has cosponsored several pieces of legislation to protect Israel and recognize its right to self-defense.

Berkley is now running for the US Senate. After Senator John Ensign (D-NV) resigned because of a scandal about an extramarital affair he had with a staffer’s wife, Republican Dean Heller was appointed to take Ensign’s vacated position as senator. Berkley will be up against Heller, who has consistently showed his pro-life stripes and is against gay marriage. It looks like it will be a tight race, since polls have the two within a relatively small margin.

The election will be in November, the same time as the presidential election. I think there will be many very interesting and significant results of this election, and I’m certainly looking forward to it!

I dub Shelley Berkley an inductee into the Shining Stars of Davida - strong women and men who make us feminists proud.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Jewish Women Songwriters

Women have always been important in music. In biblical times, women like Deborah and Hannah composed songs of thanks for God. In more recent times, women have consistently been a hugely important presence in the music industry (for the good and bad). There have been dozens of Jewish women performers who went out on stage and entertained the masses, but there were also many Jewish women who preferred to stay behind the scenes and write the songs.

Dorothy Fields was born in 1904 to vaudeville comedian Lew Fields (born Moses Schoenfeld), half of the comedy duo Fields and Weber. Ms. Fields’ songwriting career began in 1928, when she wrote lyrics for Blackbirds of 1928, a wildly successful Broadway revue. She wrote over 400 songs throughout several decades, from “On the Sunny Side of the Street” (1930) and “The Way You Look Tonight” (Academy Award 1936) to “I Feel a Song Coming On” (Judy Garland, 1956) and “Big Spender” (1966). Her lyrics were also featured in several Broadway shows, including Annie Get Your Gun (which ran for 1,147 performances), Up in Central Park, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Swing Time (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers), Sweet Charity, and Seesaw. Her most successful play was Redhead, which won five Tony Awards. In 1971, she was the only woman of the first ten inductees into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Betty Comden was both a performer and a songwriter. She was born Basya Cohen in Brooklyn, New York in 1917 to observant Russian immigrants. Sadly, she was never fully comfortable being a Jew: when she was five, she changed her name to Betty, and at age nineteen got a new nose and last name. As Betty Comden, she partnered up with performer and writer Adolph Green in 1938, a duo that would last for decades. At the beginning, the two wrote and performed their own material as a nightclub act. The first play Comden and Green wrote, On the Town, became a smash Broadway hit. They also penned several screenplays, including Good News and The Barkleys of Broadway. Their most successful show was cult classic Singin’ in the Rain, which won the Best Written American Musical award from the Writers’ Guild of America. Another hit of theirs, The Band Wagon, features a husband and wife musical writing team based on themselves. In addition to writing, Comden also acted. Between 1953 and 1990, Comden and Green were nominated for or won 13 Tony Awards. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and American Theatre Hall of Fame in the 1980s.

Sylvia Fine was also half of a duo, as she was Danny Kaye’s wife, partner, and producer. She was born to a well-off Jewish family in Brooklyn in 1913. Already writing parodies and humor in high school, she taught piano after graduating from college. While playing piano at a rehearsal, she met Danny Kaye, a Catskills tummler, and history was made. She wrote dozens of humorous songs for Kaye to perform, including “Anatole of Paris” from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, “The Inspector General” and “Happy Times” from The Inspector General, and “(You’ll Never) Outfox the Fox” from The Court Jester. She was also nominated for an Academy Award in Best Original Song for “The Five Pennies” from the play of the same name and “The Moon is Blue,” also from the play of the same name. Fine gave birth in 1946 to a daughter, Dena, who Kaye and Fine named their own production company after. The two separated shortly afterward, but still worked together on a professional level. In 1979, Fine received a Peabody Award for Musical Comedy. In her final years, she donated millions of dollars to the CUNY system for the musical arts and refurbished auditorium.

Carole King, today a household name, began as a middle class Jewish girl born in Brooklyn in 1942. While attending Queens College, she met her first husband and songwriting partner Gerry Goffin. Goffin and King’s first song, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” became a success by the Shirelles (who were managed by Florence Greenberg). After that, the two wrote dozens of chart-topping songs throughout the 1960s, including “The Loco-Motion,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” In the 1970s, King began a solo career in music, making several diamond, platinum, and gold records and number one hits. Goffin and King were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and were given the National Academy of Songwriters Lifetime Achievement Award in 1988. The two also became members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for songwriting.

Are there any major modern Jewish women songwriters? Only time will tell if their contributions to the music industry will become part of history.

Passover begins Friday night. May everyone celebrate a happy, kosher holiday. Next year in Jerusalem!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Yiddish Women Poets

Most people mistakenly think that Yiddish literature and poetry was solely written by men. It’s unfortunate that this gross misconception exists, because there were hundreds of female Yiddish writers and poets, all of whom had their own distinct biographies and writing styles.

Edith Kaplan Bregman was one of these women. She was born in a Russian shtetl in 1899 to a Hasidic family, immigrating to New York when she was thirteen. In America, she was exposed to literature that hadn’t been available in Europe, so she became a voracious reader. Bregman went on to write poetry in her native tongue, Yiddish. Her love of language led her to meet many Yiddish literary giants, like Avrom Reyzen, a poet who became her mentor. While she wrote poems throughout her early life, her works weren’t published until 1939, when a Yiddish newspaper had a poetry contest that she entered and won. Her victory gave her the confidence to publish more of her written work. Some of the themes that recur throughout her poems are a love of Judaism and God, life in Europe, and Holocaust remembrance. In addition to writing poetry, Bregman sang and played the mandolin and piano. Bregman’s last poem was published in 1997, a few years before her death at age 99.

Another Yiddish woman poet was Celia Dropkin (1887-1956). An eager student, she was formally educated for most of her youth in Belarus. She began writing poetry in Russian at age ten, and was encouraged to keep writing by Uri Nissan Gnessin, a Hebrew poet who she became close with. After getting married, Dropkin immigrated to New York. She began translating her Russian poems into Yiddish and published them in several leading Yiddish literary magazines. While some of Dropkin’s works were about her life experiences and children, she is famed for her passionate poetry about sex, eroticism, love, and relationships, themes that resonate with readers today. In the early 1900s, most people thought that Jewish women only wrote tkhines, Yiddish prayers often concerning domestic matters and childrearing; Dropkin challenged that. While a number of critics felt that her works were too personal and too overtly sexual, her contemporaries were generally positive about her writings. Modern-day Yiddish enthusiasts have not forgotten Dropkin’s contributions to Jewish literature, as her poems have been published in several contemporary Yiddish anthologies and set to song by klezmer bands.

Some female Yiddish poets went out of their way to address women’s issues in their poetry. Kadya Molodowsky was one such woman. Born in 1894 in a Russian shtetl, her poetic career began in 1920, when she published her first poem. She married and moved to Warsaw shortly afterward, where she became active in the Yiddish Writers Union. Many of her works celebrate and discuss Jewish women and their role in the world. Her first book of poetry, Nights of Heshvan, is written from the point of view of a Jewish woman in her thirties who moves throughout Eastern Europe, like Molodowsky herself. It was received to wide acclaim. Another book of poetry, Freydke, features a narrative poem about a Jewish working-class woman. After immigrating to New York, Molodowsky wrote From Lublin to New York: Diary of Rivke Zilberg, a book of poems about a Jewish woman immigrant. She also wrote a column for The Forward about great Jewish women, as well as publishing a long poem about Gracia Mendes, a Portuguese Converso who saved innumerable Jews from the Inquisition. Molodowsky also cofounded and edited a Yiddish literary journal, Svive. Other themes that she wrote about are poverty, children, Judaism, the Diaspora, Zionism and Israel, and the Holocaust. Her lifetime of achievement in poetry was recognized when she received the Itzik Manger Prize, the most prestigious award in Yiddish literature, in 1971.

Yiddish women poets paved the way for modern Jewish women writers, impacting aspiring poets from Gertrude Stein to Adrienne Rich to Vanessa Hidary. May we learn from the legacy they left us and make the world a better place because of it.