Sisterhood Blog

Women's Messy Name-Change Situation

By Elissa Strauss

Nate Lavey

Dear Abigail,

You end your recent essay about changing your last name after you get married in a state of ambivalence.

Simply put, there is no easy answer to the age-old and hugely common dilemma of how to preserve one’s family while simultaneously creating a new one. Just as surely as I want to share my last name with my future husband and future kids … I also want to hold on to my personal and professional identity.

The day before your piece ran, New York magazine had a piece about how more women are taking their husbands last names, kind of. Inspired by Beyonce’s decision to title her new tour “The Mrs. Carter Show” (Carter is her husband, Jay-Z’s, last name), Chloe Angyal writes about how surname choices have become “situational” for many women. This means that sometimes, most often professionally, they use their maiden name, and others times, their husband’s name.

I think the “situational” last name might be the answer to the ambivalence you are feeling, and is probably the answer to mine, too.

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NY Times' Jodi Rudoren on Covering War in Gaza

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Jodi Rudoren, Jerusalem bureau chief for the New York Times

Jodi Rudoren, the Jerusalem bureau chief for The New York Times, is currently covering Operation Pillar of Defense from inside Gaza. Rudoren, who was appointed to her post in May of this year and who had previously reported on presidential campaigns, education and the Midwest for the Times, is covering a war for the first time in her career.

Upon the outbreak of hostilities, Rudoren left her husband and five-year-old twins at home in Jerusalem and headed to Gaza, arriving there Thursday late afternoon. Despite “spotty Internet,” as she put it, Rudoren was able to communicate with The Sisterhood by email from Gaza on Friday evening.

Here is what she shared about being a female reporter among other women war correspondents, what she has seen so far, and juggling being a mother and a bureau chief on the front lines.

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In Defense of Jewish Tattoos

By Johnna Kaplan

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a Jew with a tattoo. Those thoughts resurfaced last week when I read Jodi Rudoren’s New York Times story about the “handful” of Young Israeli Jews, children and grand-children of Holocaust survivors, who have decided to tattoo their older relatives’ death camp identification numbers on their own skin.

A number on my arm isn’t really my style, but the idea of getting a controversial and very Jewish tattoo is one I’m quite familiar with.

I wanted a tattoo from the moment I moved to New York and encountered thousands of young women showing off the delicate, indelible body modifications that were, at the time, finally becoming mainstream. I was 17 and didn’t know what my eventual tattoo would be, but making a permanent statement with an image both beautiful and meaningful to me instantly made perfect sense.

I went through several ideas in my head over a period of years. Each was personally significant and each would have looked nice, but for some reason I couldn’t commit to any. Then one day I overheard a girl working in a jewelry store explaining the Celtic pattern inked on her skin to a customer. “So I figured,” she said, “I’ll always be Irish.”

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