Sisterhood Blog

The Gold Lining of Israel’s ‘Housewives’

By Allison Kaplan Sommer

nana10.co.il
The cast of ‘HaMeusharot

Let’s get something straight: I believe that the world would be a far better place, and women would be far better off, if Bravo had never invented the “Real Housewives” television reality show genre. But unfortunately for women — especially those of Orange County, Beverly Hills, New York City, Atlanta, New Jersey and Washington, DC — there is obviously some deep human need for a glimpse of the lives of the rich and ostentatious, and what better, albeit sexist, prism than the lives of the privileged women? And so the endless viewing of luxury living and staged catfighting, where men are either non-existent, or as interesting than the furniture, became a staple of American television.

Then just as nearly every successful reality series from “Survivor” to “The Voice” has made aliyah to Israel, so came the “Housewives” concept. The staged reality series about wealthy Israeli women, “HaMeusharot,” (“Wealthy Women”) and the timing couldn’t have been more unfortunate. Right around its premiere last summer, Israeli social protesters pitched their tents on Rothschild Street and the ‘tycoons’ become public enemy number one. It was as if the series premiere of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” coincided with the emergence of Occupy Wall Street.

You’d think people wouldn’t have been in the mood for the rich and famous. But the show quickly drew an audience and received relatively strong ratings for the financially struggling television channel that airs it.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Wealth, Reality Television, Real Housewives, HaMeusharot, Israel

Searching for a Safe Place To Talk About Jews, Wealth and Class

By Chanel Dubofsky

I have a particularly vivid memories of visiting New York City as a small child. We’d take a bus, my mother and grandmother and I, early in the morning, from Western Massachusetts, where we lived. We took this trip every year from third grade until high school, planning our consumer attacks on Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s to buy school clothes. We’d eat dinner in the basement of Macy’s, where it was dim, bustling and smelled like coffee. Then we’d pile our shopping bags onto the bus for a long, cramped ride home.

It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I learned that some people thought that all Jews were rich. In my world, they weren’t. Growing up, it had been painfully obvious to me that some Jewish communities had money, and my mother wanted to associate with people in those communities. If we didn’t actually have money, we at least had to appear to have it.

American Jews have built identity around the idea of making it, to the degree, I believe, that we push those who have not achieved academically and financially, to the margins. But money remains a source of deep shame for me, my lack of it growing up, a still-fresh wound. Because of this, I keep it close.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Wealth, Money, Class




Find us on Facebook!
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • This deserves a whistle: Lauren Bacall's stylish wardrobe is getting its own museum exhibit at Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • How do you make people laugh when they're fighting on the front lines or ducking bombs?
  • 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.