I remember the day my mother was asked to be president of our synagogue sisterhood. She was making chopped liver — yes, chopped liver — when the phone rang, and in hurrying to answer it, she accidentally spread the brown, smelly meat everywhere. No matter. She was thrilled to accept! After her own wedding, and before her two daughters married nice Jewish men, this definitely was one of the most exciting days of her life.
I thought of this happy memory earlier this week on my way to speak to that same sisterhood. The synagogue of my youth in Mount Vernon, NY merged with another synagogue, and merged again, and is now housed in a smaller building adjacent to the old one, which was torn down and rebuilt as an assisted-living facility. I hadn’t been to either site in more than 20 years. But when I moved to New York to become editor of the Forward, a woman whose name I still recognized called me immediately to address the group.
How could I refuse? The sisterhood was everything to my mother, a classic immigrant homemaker whose life revolved around family, synagogue and the occasional game of tennis. Never able to access the education her brothers received, never thinking that larger leadership roles would be open to her, she made the sisterhood her expression of Jewish identity.
And that’s why we decided to name this new blog “The Sisterhood.” The traditional Sisterhood was — and in some places, still is — the place where Jewish women came together to do good and have fun, to bridge family and communal life, to share and debate and learn and lead. Our virtual Sisterhood has much the same aim, except that it builds on the Forward’s national status and independent streak to connect Jewish women across generations, denominations, geography and politics for a vibrant and, we hope, entertaining conversation.
The women (with a smattering of men) in attendance at Sinai Free Synagogue earlier this week asked terrific questions. They insisted on feeding me, of course. They told me I reminded them of my mother. High praise! They made me feel so welcome.
Oh no! A sapling that came from the tree that stood outside Anne Frank's hiding place in Amsterdam was cut down and stolen.
Share this sad news: http://jd.fo/p1jmu
With Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to skip Nelson Mandela’s funeral, Israel lost an opportunity to honor the Jewish role in the anti-Apartheid struggle.
Read Jane Eisner's editorial: http://jd.fo/c1YDN
Fans of The O.C., rejoice!
Someone has created the show's famous #Chrismukkah Yamaclaus. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a red yarmulke complete with fluffy white Santa trim: http://jd.fo/s1iv5
Share this with hybrid-holiday fans!
"‘There are no online reviews for hospices,' I said to my 79-year-old brother shortly after he announced he was stopping dialysis."
Comedy writer Sybil Sage on facing her brother's death with laughter.
Share this touching story!
So sad: One year ago, six-year-old Raphael Elisha Cohen was diagnosed with malignant brain/spine cancer. Now, desperate to save their son, his family has turned to the internet.
40,000 supporters have signed a petition to the FDA to allow him to receive experimental treatment.
Find out more: http://jd.fo/s1isz
Swarthmore College’s Hillel voted to defy Hillel International’s restrictions on BDS programming, claiming the rules repress free speech and constrict Jewish student debate.
Do you agree?
"I think he might be the king of the Jews. When he picks up the phone people answer and they do him favors.”
The 10th annual Saban Forum brought together the highest ranking Israeli and American officials under one roof for a whole weekend: http://jd.fo/s1iCz
The Cronut has a new rival in town.
Introducing the Cr'nish (really!) a croissant-knish hybrid filled with potato, caramelized onion and Portuguese sea salt available for $4 at the bakery at Bubby’s High Line
Would you try one?
Should not believing in God be an impediment for conversion?
Rabbi Andy Bachman says no: http://jd.fo/t1iAg
Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that he will be absent from Nelson Mandela's memorial service this week, citing the high cost of travel.
Is it all about the taxpayers' best interest? Or is there something deeper going on?
"Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg!"
The famed “Molly Goldberg Cookbook” is one of the volumes on display at an exhibit of culinary literature the University of Michigan.
Details here: http://jd.fo/h1f3S
What are your favorite Jewish cookbooks?
Juice cleanses fill the need that people have for old-fashioned religious staples like ritual, order, deprivation and ultimately, hopefully, transcendence. http://jd.fo/q1hDQ
Have you tried one?
Thousands of Jews packed into a Johannesburg shul to pay tribute to Mandela, the 'Joseph of South Africa.'
The current NFL season demonstrates the great flaw of pro football: The quarterback has become too important. How did this happen? It all goes back to Sid Luckman.
A quiet revolution is taking place among ultra-Orthodox women in Jerusalem. They have discovered the power of mascara.