Sisterhood Blog

Our Barbra

By Sarah Seltzer

  • Print
  • Share Share

This week Barbra Streisand released “Love is the Answer,” her first studio album in four years. This new album is a collection of old-timey jazz standards like “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” produced by Diana Krall, meant to recall Streisand’s early days as a club singer. The one small, intimate show she did to promote the album last week at the Village Vanguard is another such throwback, although the ratio of attendees (less than 100 of them) to media coverage (articles everywhere!) surely must have set some sort of record.

I can’t confess myself a major fan of her music, but I have always admired Streisand for more than her extraordinary pipes. For one, she succeeded as a diva and a sex symbol without ever renouncing her Jewish looks or identity. No nose job, and she’s played Jewish characters galore — one of whom was a Yeshiva boy, no less. For another, she’s never shied away from her gay fanbase, one major part of her adoring throng of listeners. Streisand got her start in gay clubs long before Lady Gaga was even born. And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, like her beloved character Katie in “The Way We Were,” Streisand has never backed down from expressing her political views, loudly and unabashedly. (This NFSW remix of Streisand’s famous shut-down of a heckling fan reacting to the singer’s anti-Bush skit is still a YouTube favorite).

In a cultural climate that often punishes women in entertainment, particularly beautiful ones, for having opinions or being outspoken, she has stood firm. And because of all of the above characteristics, mixed with her outsize fame and massive sales, Streisand has been subject to the expected smears and mockery. But she continues to do things her way and thrive, a symbol of triumph for all outsiders.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Barbra Streisand

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.


Comments
Suzie Thu. Oct 1, 2009

What's to admire about Barbra Streisand? (from a Jewish perspective, that is). She either created, or at the very least firmly cemented, a brutal stereotype of Jewish women that's certainly still around today, and is probably going to be around long after she's gone.

Maybe she's the Jewish Tupac Shakur in that sense.

Maria Gatti Fri. Oct 9, 2009

How many of you know the other Barbara, one of my favourite singers? The French Barbara (with three As), birth name Monique Serf. I thought she was a much deeper and more complex singer and songwriter than the US Barbra, and she also famously refused any nose job or other renouncement of Jewish identity. Her stage name Barbara (Brodi) was an homage to her Russian grandmother Varvara Brodsky.

There are many homages to Barbara now, including the name of the town square of St-Marcellin in Isère (Alps) where her family took refuge under the Occupation. A red rose with an almost-black border has also been named after her.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.