The Sisterhood, Evolved

By Jane Eisner

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.

So I’d like to return the favor.

Welcome.




Find us on Facebook!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • 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.