Archive for the ‘About’ Category

A little while ago, Shira posted the bio she wrote for Jewesses with Attitude about herself and her blogging career. This is my own; while there is already an “About” section on this site, I believe that this post reflects how I have grown since that “About” was first written when we started “from the rib?” The entry is cross-posted at JWA:

I’m a junior at a Jewish day school in Washington DC, and have attended Jewish school since I started my schooling in kindergarten. My writing and opinions on Judaism have been undoubtedly shaped by the traditions I have been taught in school, both inside and outside of the classroom, from formal Torah study to organizing celebrations of the Jewish holidays to using my teachers as resources for books on Jewish feminism. As my involvement in Judaism and the Jewish community has gone up and down over the years, I’ve been lucky to have my school as somewhat of a constant in my Jewish life.

While I had my Bat-Mitzvah at a Conservative synagogue, my family, still egalitarian, now attends an Orthodox synagogue, but I do not feel tied to either denomination. However, I feel strongly Jewish, and believe that to be enough, at least for me.

My blogging career started somewhat by chance—I’d call myself a victim of circumstance. I started reading feminist blogs last summer after an internship at NARAL, but had not really thought about using feminism as a lens through which to look at Judaism until I was introduced to Shira and from the rib? through a mutual friend. Since then, I’ve grown to love blogging, not just for the interactive community it creates, but also because it has forced me to look critically at Judaism and to question aspects of Judaism that I had always simply accepted: I believe that I’ve become more of a thinking Jew. At the same time, blogging has also made me realize how attached I am to and how much I value tradition in Judaism. The nuances in my beliefs and writing come from the fact that many times, what I believe in theory comes into direct contradiction with what I’m comfortable with in practice. Luckily, I don’t believe that I’m the only one with this problem, as the Jewish world is still struggling today to balance tradition with the evolving world.

I think the best part of sites like Jewesses with Attitude is the connections they create between different people and ideas. Blogging has both forced and enabled me to read and discover a multitude of other websites that I now read on a daily basis. I have become aware of and interested in subjects that I had never thought of as having anything to do with my modern life, from the ordination of women as rabbis to depictions of women as the “Other” throughout Jewish tradition. I am not only excited, but grateful, to be a part of this interconnected world, as it has shaped me into a more involved feminist and Jew.


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Why I Blog

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot about blogging. It’s the hot topic du jour. There was an article in the Styles section featuring the editor of Jewcy this morning about it and I’m also reading The Happiness Project, which is giving me some new incentives as to why I blog.

from the rib? is not a gossip blog. It is not a journal (though I occasionally write posts detailing everyday experiences). It is, rather, a vehicle through which I intend to learn more about the intersection of Judaism and feminism and to share that knowledge with those who share my interests.

Here are a few reasons why I blog:

  • To learn how to research. I need to develop my research skills and not for any type of collegiate level either. I need to learn how to research what I am passionate about so I can argue my point better at the Seder table.
  • To learn how to persuade. I’m not talking propaganda. I’m talking writing in a coherent way that makes my point in favor of Jewish feminism sound not only sensible, but like the proper thing to think.
  • To share my thoughts. A huge part of feminism is giving women a voice, giving us the space we were so long deprived of. Blogging is not only an easy, but also an accessible way to do that. It’s an instant voice, read automatically, providing spontaneous understanding.

Why do you blog? Why do you comment? What do you think from the rib? can do to build a cyber-community?

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My Story

You may have noticed that from the rib? has been linking to JWA’s blog Jewesses with Attitude quite a bit lately as part of a Jewish feminist collaboration of goodness that we in the blog-o-sphere call cross-posting. Last week, I was encouraged to get in touch with my roots so I thought I’d share them here:

I’m a born-and-bred New Yorker and high school senior who actually takes advantage of all the feminist goodness my city has to offer. If not for living in Manhattan, I’m actually unsure of whether or not I would label myself as a feminist today, seeing as for me, the community is what strengthens all my ideologies. As for Judaism, I would have probably embraced it sooner had I lived somewhere where Judaism was not as strong or thriving; growing up, I did not choose my Judaism – I was thrust into it through sitting through high holy day services in a language I could not comprehend and forced to go to Hebrew School while many of my friends were having extended recess. But how my actual experience with Judaism and feminism turned out really isn’t so bad. Actually, it’s pretty amazing because through my struggles with both, I have formed intersections between the two that have made my interests more cohesive than I could have ever imagined.

My passion for feminism seemed to spike when my willingness to have a Jewish identity faltered. I was always searching for something to believe in and it was a whole lot easier to believe in the feminist literature of my cyber-centric generation than the monotonous mumblings in a foreign tongue where the only names referred to were those of patriarchs. That began four years of dropping out of Hebrew School, ending all ties with religion, and vigorously writing for and checking out the feminist blogosphere. I thought feminism and Judaism were mutually exclusive. I did not realize that I needed one to truly value the other until this past summer in Israel on a Bronfman Youth Fellowship.

Read the rest here.

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Last Thursday I was sitting in one of my favorite cafes with my friends and doing what seniors say they hate to do yet secretly love: talking about college acceptances. In lieu of discussing my college acceptance and the criteria I must have somehow arbitrarily met, I was told that I was a “cliche” in being a writer, feminist, white Jewish girl from New York City (i.e. all of the labels that explicitly define who I am…and who about a thousand other people are as well).

I admit that I was at first taken off guard by the cumulative label. I mean, who wants to be a cliche? Who wants to have all the attributes they thought made them unique make them so similar to others?

Actually, I do. A cliche is a series of interests that string together through the intersection of ideas. I am a cliche because the various movements I am passionate about are connected by media, geography, and ideals. Being a cliche allows me to tap into all these aspects of my life to benefit the whole. I write about Judaism and feminism. Living in New York City allows me to openly embrace both. Not to mention that I started this blog on the basis of that intersection so you can say this blog is an expression of a cliche.

So yeah – I am a total cliche. And I love it. And I will continue to embrace it with writing and with analyzing the various aspects of my life with a critical eye so that I do not compromise one interest in favor of another.

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