Sisterhood Blog

Helen Broza Helped Israeli Women Fly

By Chana Pollack

Forward Association

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

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Throwback Thursday, Yiddish, archives, Jewish

Reclining and Leaning In Aren't Only Options

By Elissa Strauss

Getty Images

Foreign Policy columnist Rosa Brooks wrote a call to arms last week inciting women of the world to recline. In the piece, Brooks explains that she tried to lean in, a la Sheryl Sandberg, stepping up at work, volunteering more at school, pushing, pushing, pushing as hard as she could until, finally, she realized that while she was indeed more successful she was also totally miserable.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Rosa Brooks, Sheryl Sandberg, Lean Out, Lean In, Jewish, Harvard

How Pat Boone Saved My Jewish Soul

By Sarah Seltzer

Memoirist and abuse survivor Sue William Silverman tackles her relationship to “the tribe” in her latest book.

Sue William Silverman is nothing if not a courageous memoirist. Her first two books, “Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You” and “Love Sick” were each taboo-breakers, detailing in turn the author’s sexual abuse at the hands of her father and the ensuing compulsive behavior she later overcame. Silverman’s third memoir, “The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew”” (University of Nebraska Press) is a series of essays and vignettes linked by Silverman’s youthful infatuation with the clean-cut, uber-goyish crooner Pat Boone, who she hoped would adopt her and take her away from her family, her faith and particularly, her father. Eventually, of course, Silverman found her way back to her Jewish identity, but not after several run-ins with Boone, a trip to a kibbutz, road trips, and several failed relationships.

Silverman spoke to the Sisterhood on the phone the week before “The Pat Boone Fan Club” was released, discussing memoir, her fluctuating Jewish selfhood, and the reason she sees her younger self as a gefilte fish.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sue Silverman, Pat Boone, Jewish

Haredi Wives to Sara Netanyahu: 'Be Our Esther'

By Frimet Goldberger

Mazal Tov! Sara Netanyahu has been crowned Queen Esther of Israel.

Eighteen wives of Haredi Members of Knesset penned a letter to Mrs. Netanyahu urging her to use her powers as Queen of the Israeli empire to influence her husband, Benjamin Netanyahu, Emperor of all Israelis. According to Israel National News, the women pleaded with Mrs. Netanyahu to appeal to her husband to strike down a pending law being drafted by a Knesset committee. This law is set to criminalize Haredi non-enlistment in the IDF, further exacerbating the tension between Haredim and the general public.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Queen Esther, enlistment, Purim, Jewish, Israel, IDF, Haredi

Abortion Belongs in TED Talks, And Beyond

By Sarah Seltzer

Last week, feminists launched a flurry of actions demanding the inclusion of abortion rights as a topic tackled by trendy TED talks. A representative from TED, interviewed by Jessica Valenti for her column in the Nation, had deemed the subject too political and controversial. This admission was followed by a petition from NARAL and general online outcry (digital feminism! it works!) which then prompted a lot of backpedaling from TED. So far, so good. We’ll just have to wait and see whether abortion-themed talks emerge from the slick-wisdom factory of TED in the future.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: feminism, Jewish, TED, Jessica Valenti

How To Interview a Man About His Wedding Night

By Frimet Goldberger

Like every member of the female species, I read Tuvia Tenenbaum’s interview with Racheli Ibenboim, an up-and-coming female Hasidic politician, with great excitement. This is the interview in which Ms. Ibenboim answers deeply personal questions, thereby revealing everything Tuvia ever wanted to know about Hasidic sex.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Jewish, Racheli Ibenboim, Tuvia Tenenbom

The Rebbetzin Behind the Golem

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.

Pearl Loew was the wife of magical Rabbi Yehudah Leib ben Betsalel, known as Rav Loew of medieval Prague, and thought to be the creator of the Golem. Like her husband’s creation, the story of Pearl Loew has been imbued with mystery — but most of it due to ignorance. Born to the Reich family, a wealthy merchant Jewish family from Prague, Pearl enabled her husband to pursue his scholarship without worry. She raised seven children, while the rabbi became a highly creative esteemed leader in Jewish law who successfully pioneered scholarly use of source materials based on legends, folklore and aphorisms. Reportedly an intellectual in her own right, Pearl supported her family and her parents while the rabbi traveled frequently to support the yeshiva he established.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Yehudah Leib Ben Betsalel, Throwback Thursday, Pearl Loew, Jewish, Golem

BRCA1 Women Told To Remove Ovaries

By Tamar Fox

We’ve long known that the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations commonly found in Ashkenazic Jewish women are linked to higher rates of breast and ovarian cancer. A new report published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology provides more details about ovarian cancer risk.

The report notes that women who have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation and have their ovaries removed (oophorectomy) have an 80% reduced risk of developing ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer. They also see their chances of dying before age 70 reduced by 77%. The best results were achieved by women with the BRCA1 mutation who preventively underwent an oophorectomy before age 35.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: ovarian cancer, Jewish, BRCA2, BRCA1, Angelina Jolie

Wear Makeup, Get Expelled From School

By Frimet Goldberger

Last week, I reported that women who wear makeup are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, according to the findings of the Satmar Rebbe, Aaron Teitelbaum, a highly revered doctor from the IOBW (Institute of Blame Women, in case you didn’t read it). Well, sure enough, as his son promised in an announcement of the finding, it didn’t take long for the ban on makeup to follow.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: makeup, cancer, Satmar, Jewish

Jewish Moms Responsible for Making More Jews

By Elissa Strauss

Ah, Jewish continuity. We want it. We need it. We have to have it. And yet, we have no idea how.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: moms, continuity, Jewish

'Broad City' Lady Stoners a Feminist Triumph

By Sarah Seltzer

I love the pot-puffing Jewish broads of Broad City (both of whom the Forward recently interviewed about their very raunchy new Comedy Central show.) The show’s protagonists are “Abbi” (left in the photo) and “Ilana” (right), heightened versions of their creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. These gals are not “strong female characters” in the classic sense, but they are strong female characters in another sense that is too absent from our pop culture: they are total screw-ups.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Jewish, Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, marijuana

Will Millennial Moms End the Mommy Wars?

By Elissa Strauss

Welcome to motherhood, millennials. According to a new report from the parenting website BabyCenter, the newest crop of moms, ages 18-32, are rejecting the helicopter parenting they experienced as children and are opting for a more relaxed approach.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: parenting, motherhood, millennial, helicopter parenting, Jewish, Gen X

Cheryl Crawford, Acting Coach to the Stars

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.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: archives, Throwback Thursday, Jewish, Forverts

In Search of My Ethel Mertz

By Nancy Kalikow Maxwell

I never seriously considered becoming Orthodox. I like shrimp too much and Florida is way too hot for wigs. But I was tempted twenty years ago by one phone conversation. The Orthodox woman who coordinated the chevra kadisha (burial society) I participated in was calling to request my assistance at a taharah, ritual preparation of a body. Obviously, these events cannot be scheduled in advance. Often, frantic calls such as this one are placed to recruit volunteers at the last minute.

“Can you come now? We really need you.”

“I’m sorry, but I can’t,” I said. “My husband is out-of-town and I have no one to babysit my daughter.”

A long period of silence followed. Struggling to understand my response, she said, “You don’t know anyone?”

My predicament was so unfathomable to her, she must have assumed I was lying.

“Really? No one?”

“No,” I admitted sadly.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: neighbors, Orthodox, Jewish

Orthodox Feminists Are Not Conservatives in Disguise

By Elana Sztokman

There is a rumor going around that Orthodox feminists are just Conservative Jews in disguise, or perhaps in denial.

I’ve heard this idea in many settings. I was at a dinner last year honoring Jewish feminists when a woman at my table — a Conservative rabbi and prolific writer whom I greatly admire — reproached me. “Why do all you Orthodox feminists think that what you’re doing is so amazing?” she demanded. “The women in the Conservative movement have been fighting these battles for 40 years. You are just barely catching up.” Last month, my dear friend Hillary Gordon echoed similar sentiments in a blog post she wrote about my recent book event in Jerusalem. “Why can’t the Orthodox recognize that other women have come before them and fought the same fight?” she asks. “Why is it that because it was done by Conservative or Reform Jewish women it is not legitimate according to the Orthodox?” Almost the exact same line appeared a couple of weeks ago in the comment section of Frimet Goldberger’s blog post about Orthodox feminists. Frimet dared to write that Conservative Judaism is not an option for her, to which a commenter replied, “Do I detect some judgementalism in those words?? ….Is there a suggestion here that the Conservative observance of Shabbat is less ‘full’ or somewhat deficient from the more authentic Orthodox one??”

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: feminist, Orthodox, Jewish, Conservative

Why My Son Underwent Metzitzah B'Peh

By Frimet Goldberger

The controversial and potentially life-threatening practice of metzitzah b’peh, the oral suctioning of a baby’s circumcision wound by the mohel, is back in the news. As the controversy continues to brew in the secular media, and as Bill de Blasio takes his time coming up with an approach that is “much more effective at protecting the lives of our children,” Hasidic babies the world over are subjected to this dangerous practice each and every day.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: metzitzah b'peh, Jewish, Hasidic, Bill de Blasio

Jill Soloway's 'Transparent'

By Elissa Strauss

Jill Soloway, who has written and produced shows like “Six Feet Under,” “United States of Tara” and, her directorial debut, the movie “Afternoon Delight,” isn’t afraid to get a little Jewy and a little feminist in her latest work. She goes there, straight there, and for this, we love her.

She has a new pilot out on Amazon called “Transparent,” with a brilliant ensemble cast, including Jeffrey Tambor and Gabby Hoffman, playing a Los Angeles Jewish family with secrets to tell. (If you don’t want to know what those secrets are yet, read this interview after you watch the show.)

The Sisterhood’s Elissa Strauss spoke with Soloway about L.A. Jews, how becoming a Jewish mother made her a better artist and what you can (okay, should — again, this is a Jewish, feminist comedy!) do to help “Transparent” get turned into a full series.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: los angeles, United States of Tara, Six Feet Under, Los Angeles, Jill Soloway, Jewish, Afternoon Delight

Satmar Rebbe Blames Cancer on Makeup

By Frimet Goldberger

Ladies, there is a cure for breast cancer! No more pink Octobers, Angelina Jolie op-eds on mastectomies and suffering the world over.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: makeup, breast cancer, Satmar, Jewish, Angelina Jolie

A Man in an Apron Is Neither Sexy Nor Unsexy

By Elissa Strauss

There was a whole article about how the more equal a marriage is the more sexless it is by Lori Gottlieb in the New York Times and it didn’t quote one woman in her late 20s or early 30s — the generation for whom equal marriage is most institutionalized. So, Gottlieb, here is what one of us thinks.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: men, cooking, having it all, Lori Gottlieb, Jewish

Throwback Thursday: The Jewish Wonkette of Harlem

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.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: archives, Jewish, Forverts



Find us on Facebook!
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • 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.