Sisterhood Blog

The Yiddish Bard of Modernist Nigunim

By Chana Pollack

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly photo feature in which we sift 116 years of Forward history to find snapshots of women’s lives.

On Saturday night December 14, 1929, the Forverts announced, Malke Locker was scheduled to give a performance of Yiddish, Hebrew, Italian and German folk songs—plus a few Hasidic nigunim.

Born in 1887 in Kuty, to a Hasidic family in the Carpathian mountain range of Galicia (currently Ukraine), Malke’s formal education ended at 12, but having an innate interest in languages, and a talent for music and literary studies, Locker continued to read German and Yiddish literature on her own. She was to become a published Yiddish poet, multi-lingual essayist and writer who though committed to Zionist ideals, chose to remain rooted in Yiddish.

Attending local Socialist-Zionist circles while still in Kuty, she deepened her knowledge of political and social science and met her future husband, fellow Galician native and cousin, Berl Locker. He was a Yiddish journalist, noted Zionist leader and future head of the Zionist Labor Party. They married in 1910 began journeying between various capital cities, moving from Lvov/Lemberg to Vienna, the Hague, Bern, Stockholm,Tel Aviv and eventually New York City. They were sent by Israel’s provisional government to live out the Nazi blitz of World War II in London—and returned to the newly founded State of Israel only in 1948.

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The 'Brotastic' Naftali Bennett

By Shayna Weiss

via YouTube

Naftali Bennett wants you to know he is a man. Really The Man.

Naftali Bennett — leader of the nationalist HaBayit HaYehudi [Jewish Home] party and current Minister of the Economy — kicked off the Israeli election tradition of outlandish and attention grabbing ads this week with a two-minute video clip. In it we see the stereotypical Tel Aviv hipster — he wears flannel! he reads Haaretz! he even has a sweater-clad pug! — in his natural habitat.

A waitress spills coffee on him, a (mysteriously dark-skinned) man rear ends him, a woman steals his bike rental — but he never gets angry. Quite the contrary — he profusely apologizes despite not being at fault. In fact, that is all Mr. Hipster says to everyone he encounters—“Sorry, Sorry.” Finally, he whips off his plastic framed glasses and beard a la Clark Kent to reveal Alpha Male Bennett (complete with chest hair). Bennett promises us that, unlike these Tel Aviv weaklings, he will stop apologizing. Support HaBayit HaYehudi, he tells us, for a Zionism that does not apologize.

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How Will I Teach My Future Son About Race in America?

By Rori Picker Neiss

Creative Commons

When the ultrasound technician told us that we were expecting a boy, I was in complete shock.

After two daughters, it had never occurred to me that I could have a son. I teased my sister-in-law that if the baby was a boy, I would send him to her house to be raised with my three nephews. When people asked me if I knew what to do with a boy, I’d retort, “Give him to you!”

As I reclined in the medical chair and watched the technician move the wand over my protruding belly so that we could see his hands, his feet, his eyes, his heartbeat, I looked at the screen in a state of total disbelief.

I remembered that feeling again this week as I sat in a room with over one hundred other women and a few men. My hands rested protectively on my even-more protruding belly, feeling my yet-to-be-born son roll around and stretch his limbs, as I listened to mothers who described other feelings at learning that they would have a son: fear, anxiety, even regret.

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One Bubbe's Adventures in Online Dating

By Nancy Rips

Illustration by Lior Zaltzman

Some Grandmas play bridge, mahjong, or golf. I play eHarmony, JDate, and In the past two years, I’ve corresponded with shrinks, rabbis, and a man who mentioned he has to be catheterized three times a day, but was very loving.

It used to be women of a certain age, the sweet spot between AARP and shiva, had to be formally invited on a date. They’d hope their friends would set them up with Harold the ancient widower or good old always available Uncle Joe. What a lame system.

As a woman approaching the biblical threescore and ten, oops just did that, I’m not a newbie in life. I work at a great bookstore, write books, even do review segments on radio and TV. And I can be found predawn at the gym lifting weights and catching up on the latest news. Full disclosure, my favorite thing to say there is “good-bye”.

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Female Rabbis Lead Pioneering Prayer Communities

By Anthony Weiss

Clockwise from top left, Rabbi Lori Shapiro of Open Temple, Rabbi Lizzie Heydemann of Mishkan Chicago, Rabbi Sharon Brous of Ikar, Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum of the Kavana Cooperative, Rabbi Noa Kushner of the Kitchen and Rabbi Naomi Levy of Nashuva. (Photos courtesy of the congregations)

(JTA) — A decade ago in Los Angeles, two organizations opened their doors with a call to prayer — or they would have if they had any doors to open.

Ikar, led by Rabbi Sharon Brous, and Nashuva, led by Rabbi Naomi Levy, were conceived separately. But when they launched in 2004, both offered a novel, and in many ways similar, approach to Jewish spirituality and community — regularly scheduled, rabbi-led services that were not affiliated with any movement or institution, that met in rented space, and that were avowedly not synagogues.

“We were trying to walk into the conversation about Jewish identity and community and ritual without preconceived ideas about where we would land,” Brous told JTA, describing the beginnings of Ikar. “What we were trying to do didn’t follow any model that already existed.”

Since then, however, the format pioneered by Nashuva and Ikar has become its own recognizable model, and similar spiritual communities with a noticeably common style have sprung up in a number of other cities across the country.

Prayer is designed to be heartfelt and arouse the spirit. Often there is clapping, dancing and singing without words. Worshipers tend to skew young, informal and hip. The groups don’t own buildings; typically they meet in up-and-coming or already desirable neighborhoods.

The communities are led by charismatic rabbis who stress innovation and outreach to Jews who feel alienated from existing Jewish institutions. They are nondenominational. They often don’t know exactly how to describe themselves.

And most, but not all, have one more common element: They were founded, and are still being led by, female rabbis.

In 2006, Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum launched The Kavana Cooperative in Seattle. In 2011, Rabbi Noa Kushner opened The Kitchen in San Francisco and Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann initiated Mishkan Chicago in the Windy City. In 2012, Rabbi Lori Shapiro started Open Temple in the West Los Angeles neighborhood of Venice.

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Is a Pink Sparkly Barbie Wrong for Hanukkah?

By Allison Kaplan Sommer

Bratz dolls. Courtesy: MGA Entertainment

(Haaretz) — We modern parents do our best to empower our little girls. We assure our daughters that they are strong, smart, capable and can be anything they want to be - doctors, lawyers, athletes, scientists or world leaders. At the same time, we try to teach our boys to be kind, sensitive and nurturing as well as tough - and make sure they understand it isn’t unmanly to know their way around a sink full of dishes and a pile of laundry.

But then they open their Hanukkah or Christmas gifts, and what do they get? The girls received tea sets, fluffy stuffed animals, Barbie dolls, and arts and crafts materials - while their brothers receive cars and trucks, Legos, dinosaurs, trains, model airplanes and science kits. The gifts are often given by well-meaning relatives who are directed to such items in toy stores that delineate the aisles by gender - toys for girls, and toys for boys. A world neatly divided into blue and pink.

A new effort underway this holiday season, called “No Gender December” is making waves in Australia. The push is sponsored by a non-profit group and spearheaded by a senator in the Greens Party named Larissa Waters. The campaign’s web site declares that children “should be free to decide which toys interest them, without being informed by gendered marketing that something is ‘for them’ or ‘not for them.’”

The messages, the campaign claims, give early societal reinforcement to bullies who harass peers who dare to buck the stereotypes - girls who dig science or boys who like to cook. We are encouraged to take a “pledge” against gender-stereotype toy-buying” this holiday season because “gender stereotypes limit children’s imagination and development.”

So far, fairly par for the course. The part of the campaign that grabbed national attention and engendered controversy was the claim by Waters and the campaign that gender-defined toys can have some alarming consequences in the long haul.

Watters asserted that “setting such stark gender roles at such an early age can have a long-term impacts on our children, including impacting self-perception and career choices later in life… Out-dated stereotypes about girls and boys and men and women, perpetuate gender inequality, which can feed into very serious problems such as domestic violence and the gender pay gap.”

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Life, Love and the Proverbs of Judge Judy

By Keysha Whitaker

Illustration by Lior Zaltzman

When I was eight, my mother gave me a little yellow book of Jewish folk sayings: “If Grandma had Wheels.” A strange gift for a Black child, but that didn’t stop me from reading and reciting the wise and witty one-liners. I ate and slept with the tome. So at 35, I’m not surprised that I’m addicted to the Jewish queen of smart and biting remarks, Judge Judith Sheindlin.

A New York prosecutor and judge with over 20 years in the courtroom, she has dominated the Nielsen charts since her daily court show “Judge Judy” debuted in September 1996. The Emmy Award-winning show remains in the top ten today, famous for her ability to sift through litigants’ dirt and root out the truth, but not before silencing a babbling defendant with a stern, “Don’t tell me what the judge said. I just read what the judge said. Sit down,” or warning a plaintiff, “If you’re winning, keep your mouth shut.”

Judge Judy doesn’t just dole it out from the bench. She’s the producer of the new show “Hot Bench” and author of four bestsellers including “Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining.”

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3 Women on Top (and How They Got There)

By Martyna Starosta

Women On Top from Jewish Daily Forward on Vimeo.

“It was a shock to come into a prominent leadership position in the Jewish community and realize that the Jewish community was behind all of those other systems,” remembers Ruth Messinger who was named to lead American Jewish World Service in 1998.

I interviewed Messinger about gender equality in Jewish not-for-profits and contrasted her voice with the insights of two younger women who had just become CEOs this year: Naomi Adler who is heading the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, and Stosh Cotler, who was recently named head of the social justice organization Bend the Arc.

All three women believe the Jewish community is still lagging behind the general population when it comes to gender equality in the workplace, despite paying lip service to equal treatment.

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What Would Tevye Say (About Santa Claus)?

By Kate Haas

Illustration by Lior Zaltzman

When a grown woman and her seventy-something mother engage in yearly debates about the existence of Santa, I think we can agree: there’s a problem. Of course, my mother believes the problem is mine, while I tag her as the source of the annual angst. But who’s telling this story?

My mother, a bookish only child, grew up yearning for a house full of kids and a big, old-fashioned Christmas, like the ones Louisa May Alcott wrote about. My father, who had ditched his nominal Judaism by the time he married my mom, was willing to comply with her yuletide agenda.

And so began my mother’s strictly secular, Euro-inspired holiday extravaganza. It started early in December each year, with the cookie baking. Buttery Swedish stars; Viennese crescents, rolled warm in vanilla-scented powdered sugar; gingerbread men; Swiss chocolate crisps; linzer cookies, each with its shiny pocket of raspberry jam. Over a three-week period, with her three children as floury assistants, my mother rolled out as many as fifteen different varieties at our Formica kitchen table, carefully packing the finished batches between layers of waxed paper in tins to be stowed in the basement freezer. By my mother’s decree, the cookies would emerge for the first time on Christmas Eve; sampling them before that date was verboten.

Later in the month, we adorned the house with simple pine cone decorations (no tacky plastic Santas in my mother’s home), and we kids fashioned homemade gifts to stash in secret hiding places. The holiday rituals continued with the tree selection (December 20, not a day earlier) and, on the evening of the 23rd, the decoration: while classical music played softly on WQXR, we took out the ornaments while my mother related the story behind every wooden Waldorf gnome, vintage glass ball, or lumpy, pre-school-made button string. The next night, we ate fondue in front of the fireplace, dunking warm pieces of baguette into the melted Gruyere, before hanging our stockings. Finally, there was the ceremonial, dramatic reading of A Visit From St. Nicholas (that’s The Night Before Christmas for you non-literary sticklers).

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Gertrude Weill Klein’s Socialist Yikhes

By Chana Pollack

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly photo feature in which we sift 116 years of Forward history to find snapshots of women’s lives.

If Socialists borrowed more from Jewish dynastic traditions, and had been in the habit of producing a yikhes briv charting one’s pedigree, Gertude Weil Klein’s would be pretty impressive. Her father, Joseph Weil created the emblem for New York’s Socialist Party. It featured an arm holding a torch symbolizing liberty, and can be still seen on the original Forward building at 175 East Broadway here in the city, and on our early mastheads.

A committed multi-tasking labor lawyer, Joseph Weill was known as someone willing to perform any task necessary, from sweeping meeting halls to writing and lecturing on socialism. Reportedly, when Forverts founding editor Ab Cahan gave his first outdoor address, he did standing on a platform constructed by Weil. Her mother, similarly, taught political science at Columbia University, the New School for Social Research and the Rand School for Social Science. To support the 1912 tailor strike, Weil was instrumental in organizing what was considered the largest emergency kitchen, at the Brooklyn Labor Lyceum, where the entire Weil family worked.

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The Women of 'Letters to Afar'

By Chavi Moskowitz and Menachem Wecker

Oszmiana, Poland. Still from Polish home movie c. 1920s-30s. From the Archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Most of the figures who appear in Péter Forgács’ collages of films, which American Jews took in the 1920s and 1930s of family and friends in Poland, are men. They don and remove hats; they horse around during family photo shoots; they drive horse-drawn buggies down streets; they juggle; they smoke; they look thoughtfully at books.

Women appear less prominently in the films, which are on view in “Letters to Afar” (through March 22, 2015) at the Museum of the City of New York. In some instances, they literally circumventing male counterparts who (seemingly unintentionally) obstruct the camera’s view of them. The women blow kisses here and wave there, and, as a catalog essay notes, “cast seductive glances … an elderly woman turns away her wig-covered head.”

Of the former group, one film’s male narrator adds in a description of Lodz: “It’s exciting to swim through this teeming crowd. These women in furs. Their heads drawn in between their shoulders. Their hats in their faces. The slender girls with a touch of perversity. Big dangling earrings. Heavy overshoes. Black gazes. They are starting to dress up their faces.”

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Learning to Conquer My Daughter's OCD — And My Own

By Abby Sher

Photograph via wikicommons

(JTA) — As I lay in the hospital bed with my new daughter Sonya’s slippery skin pressed to mine, I knew this would be the scariest day of my life. It was the first day in 25 years that I ever willingly skipped prayers.

I’d been in treatment for severe obsessive-compulsive disorder for most of my 34 years. I’ve cut myself, starved myself and scrubbed my hands raw. I kiss our apartment mezuzah one, two, sometimes 50 times, and our family is hardly observant. But daily prayer is the one healthy practice I’ve kept the longest, and it’s grounded me when I feel most unmoored. It’s also been the hardest to explain.

Growing up, we belonged to a Reform synagogue and had chicken soup and challah for Shabbat every week. My mom taught my brother, sister and me to say the Shema prayer before bed each night. It gave closure to each day and made my mom smile, and that was all I needed.

But soon one Shema wasn’t enough for me. When I was 11, my aunt and father died in short succession. I was sure it was my fault, and I had to atone before I struck again. After my mother would tuck me in, I added five, 10, 20 recitations, a song of thanks and a list of sick people I needed to heal. I remember nights when I woke up frantic and hot, furious that I’d fallen asleep despite more prayers to say, kisses to blow to the heavens.

In high school I snuck into dark closets not to kiss boys but to chant Psalms. I went on medication briefly in college, but took myself off fearing it was blasphemous and my mom would die next. When I moved in with my future husband, Jay, he watched me kiss my mezuzah urgently.

“I just wish you felt like you had to kiss me 250 times when you walked through that door,” he said, his sadness palpable.

Now in the hospital with a newborn crying for milk, I had someone I could actually take care of with my hands instead of my prayers. I looked through the hospital window and smiled shyly at the sky: I wanted Him to know I was so wildly grateful for this child that no words could suffice. I held Sonya tightly and babbled at her to fill the empty space that was my fear.

Those first 24 hours were a terrifying relief. No one died.

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Embrace Changing Jewish Family — Don't Denigrate It

By J.E. Reich

Illustration by Lior Zaltzman

In last week’s editorial, Jane Eisner once again fretted about the state of contemporary American Judaism, most pointedly about the purported declining fertility rate amongst non-Orthodox Jews as touted by the infamous (and frankly overplayed) 2013 Pew survey. While she proposed no actual, feasible solution to this problem (or rather, this set of statistics presented as a problem), she exhibited a paranoia about the extinction of American non-Orthodox Jewry mainly due to her arbitrary rubric of what an appropriate Jew can and should be.

Read: Jane Eisner on Be Fruitful and Multiply

Eisner severely delineates between Orthodox Jewry and non-Orthodox Jewry, the latter characterized as “progressive Jews,” ostensibly Jews that are a part of the Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist movements as well as the unaffiliated. In her piece, she points to comparisons of fertility rates between American Orthodox Jewry and the aforementioned subgroups of non-Orthodox Jewish strains, citing one analysis that “there are 5,000 more Orthodox Jews and 10,000 fewer non-Orthodox ones in America, every year.”

What Eisner fails to illustrate is the significance of how or why this is problematic.

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Why Do We Skip the Sex in the Bible?

By Rachel Rosenthal

Lot And His Daughters by Joachim Antonisz Wtewael (c.1600)

If you ever wonder why a movie got the rating it did, there’s a box at the bottom of every movie poster that explains not only what the rating is, but also its reason. So, if you object to violence but not sex, or drugs but not foul language, you can know whether that movie is likely to offend your sensibilities. These little boxes allow us to selectively choose our vices, while avoiding those we find unappealing.

The Torah has no such warning labels. The holiness of standing at Mount Sinai is juxtaposed with the plague of idolatry, and the sordid tales of the sexual escapades of the Israelites and Midianites immediately follow the blessings of Bilaam. Genesis is especially diverse, interspersing stories of blessings given and covenants fulfilled, with war, murder, and sex both permissible and illicit.

These juxtapositions are especially clear in Genesis 34, where Jacob’s daughter Dinah is taken and raped by a foreign prince. Upon hearing of the violation of his daughter, Jacob remains silent, leaving the response to his sons. And two of those sons, Simeon and Levi, use the rape as an excuse to commit genocide against the city of Shechem, killing all of the men and reaping the city’s spoils. Surely, this is not a story for children.

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Forward Welcomes Sisterhood Editor Sarah Breger

By Jane Eisner

Ever since our Naomi Zeveloff moved to Israel in August to be a full-time Forward correspondent, we have been looking for the right person to take over one of her important duties: editing The Sisterhood blog.

I’m happy to announce that we have found that person in Sarah Breger.

Sarah is a skilled journalist — she’s the managing editor of Moment magazine — with a deep professional interest in the lives of and challenges facing Jewish women today. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia School of Journalism, Sarah has written on issues of religious divorce, reinventing ritual and Jewish women in popular culture.

Just in the last few weeks, you can see Sarah’s personality emerge, as The Sisterhood has jumped on all sorts of news, ranging from a quick, poignant response to the Har Nof murders in Jerusalem to the tough issues of campus rape and the sexualization of young girls.

Feel free to join The Sisterhood’s unique and essential conversation by contacting Sarah at

5 Stories About Dinah Way Crazier Than 'The Red Tent'

By Sarah Breger

Seduction of Dinah, Daughter of Leah by James Tissot

For some, Anita Diamant’s retelling of the biblical Dinah story — and adapted Lifetime miniseries — takes too many liberties with the biblical text. But Diamant’s version of events is almost banal compared to stories regarding Dinah found in midrash and other biblical commentaries. Here are five such tales that may deserve their own Lifetime movie:

1) When Leah — Jacob’s wife, Rachel’s sister — was pregnant for the seventh time, she became worried that Rachel had only one son while she had six. She prayed to God and God turned her fetus from male to female and Dinah was born. (Rashi)

2) Dinah is the only daughter of Jacob mentioned in Genesis. The midrash acknowledges that unlikelihood and explains that each of Jacob’s twelve sons was born with a female twin who would become their wife in the future. This also solved the quandary of who the brothers married if Canaanite women were forbidden. (Genesis Rabbah)

3) When Jacob went to his showdown with Esau, he was so nervous Esau would claim Dinah as a wife, he hid her and locked her in a trunk — an earlier midrash claims the same thing happened to Sarah in Egypt. (Genesis Rabbah)

4) Dinah had a child named Osnat from her relationship with Shechem. Osnat was so resented in Jacob’s camp that she was sent to Egypt via the angel Gabriel or Dina herself. Osnat was taken in by the wife of Potiphar and eventually married Joseph when he found himself in the Potiphar household. This again solved the problem on one of Jacob’s sons marrying out of the family. (Midrash Yalkut Shimoni)

5) After the Shechem story, Dinah marries Job (as in Book of) and has ten children — other sources say 20. (Bava Batra)

I Don't Want Kids, Thanks for Asking. And Asking.

By Chanel Dubofsky

Creative Commons

I know you said “please,” Jane Eisner. But the answer is still no, I will not have a baby because you’re nervous about Jewish birthrates.

I’m not going to have a baby, period, which I’ve said about 1 million times, on this site and others. This is the thing about people who don’t want to have kids, we end up having to say it over and over because people don’t get it, or refuse to get it, and believe it or not, we have other places to put the energy we haven’t spent on raising kids we don’t want.

People who don’t have kids have all kinds of reasons for not having them, and as a planet, we don’t deal with any of those reasons well. If you have trouble getting or staying pregnant, it’s because you waited too long, or you aren’t trying hard enough. But a lot of sympathy is still directed towards you – after all, you are a woman and at least you want kids, at least all of your woman feelings are in the right place.

If you’re a woman who doesn’t want kids, you’re just a monster, and the Jewish community is coming for your plump, wasted ovaries.

The thing is, the childfree (childfree meaning someone who does not want kids as opposed to childless which connotes someone who wants them, but does/cannot have them) have reasons for being childfree. I know that’s shocking. It’s easier to just think of us all as not caring about the Jewish community or the future at all. (Here is where, if I was writing another essay, I would mention that pushing people to procreate is guaranteeing an irreversibly huge carbon footprint, which is bad for the world.)

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Her Yiddish Majesty

By Chana Pollack

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly photo feature in which we sift 116 years of Forward history to find snapshots of women’s lives.

In 1926, Berta Gersten was photographed to publicize a play she was starring in called ‘Gevald—When Will He Die?’ a three act comedy by Forverts humorist Khone Gottesfeld, produced by the Yiddish Art Theatre of Second Avenue.

Born in Krakow, Poland in 1895, Berta Gersten immigrated with her family to America as a child where she began performing in Vaudeville. It wasn’t long before famed theatre impresario Kessler spotted her there and hired her for his Yiddish theatre. After several years there, she made her way over to the acclaimed Thomashefsky’s theatre.

Moving on once more, she became a founding member of Maurice Schwartz’s Yiddish Art Theatre, and the rest, as they say, is Yiddish theatre history. She was one of those few rare performers who was on stage from early in youth, until the very end of their lives.

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7 Things To Know About Helena Rubinstein

By Elyssa Goodman

Helena Rubinstein reads in her bed in the late 1930s. Copyright Getty Images

My first introduction to Helena Rubinstein came in the form of a small, white tube with a red and fuchsia logo that was no bigger than my thumb. It was waterproof mascara, hidden away in my mother’s bathroom drawer. She never actually used it, and it looked different, older than all of the other mascara she had. As a 5-year-old in the early ‘90s, I was fascinated by its unique packaging, clearly from another era.

“Why don’t you use that one?” I asked.

“It’s old,” she said. “They don’t make it anymore.”

It wasn’t until I visited “Helena Rubinstein: Beauty is Power,” the current exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York, that I learned that my mother was wrong. Helena Rubinstein cosmetics haven’t been sold in the United States since 1985 (that is one old tube of mascara, Mom) but the company continues to thrive in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Because of this, many people under the age of 40 don’t know who Helena Rubinstein is, and many people over 40 may not remember her impact. “She had this incredible influence but has been pretty much been erased from history, so this exhibition is an effort to rectify that erasure,” curator Mason Klein said about his inspiration for the show at the Jewish Museum.

Madame, as she was known, literally and figuratively changed the face of the beauty industry. Throughout her over 60 years of work in the cosmetics industry, she encouraged women to embrace their individualism. She didn’t believe there was one kind of beauty, and this was reflected in the way she lived her life as not only an entrepreneur but also as a patron of the arts and a philanthropist.

If you are among those who have not had the pleasure of being acquainted with Madame thus far, or if you’d simply like to remind yourself of her amazingness, here are some things you should know.

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Sari Botton Still Loves New York

By Susie Kantar


“Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York,” is the exciting new follow-up anthology from Sari Botton. The 49-year-old Long Island NY native secured mega-talented writers including, Adelle Waldman, Whoopi Goldberg, Stephen Elliott, Adam Sternbergh, Amy Sohn, and others. In addition to editing, Botton also contributed an essay depicting her own East Coast trauma.

When the rent doubled on Botton’s former-yeshiva-turned-apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the freelance writer, cultural Jew and daughter of famed Sephardic retired Cantor and musical director Richard Botton, moved to upstate New York with her musician husband. This incident sparked her surprise, best-selling first anthology, “Goodbye To All That.” These essays, by well-known writers who also had trouble affording New York, discuss a deep love for the city, but also the challenges one faces when rent becomes unaffordable and the struggle becomes overwhelming. “It’s an anthology about the idea of leaving New York,” Botton said at a recent interview in the Village.

Batton spoke to the Forward’s Susie Kantar about her adoration and continuous love affair with her of her former home. After she published, “Goodbye To All That,” critics wondered if she still possessed the same admiration she once did for New York. She absolutely does, and that’s clear when one reads her piece, “New York Cool,” in her incredible second anthology.

Susie Kantar: You no longer live in Manhattan. Are you inspired to write outside of New York City?

Sari Botton: I needed to go away and being just to the side of the city is great. I lived on the Lower East Side, on 8th street and Avenue B, for a dozen years in an orphan center, turned yeshiva, turned my home. I lost that apartment when the rent became unaffordable. I’m not a house person, and I wanted an unconventional space. I now live in a loft with my husband in Kingston, in Upstate New York.

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