Jewfem Blog

On Teaching Talmud and Sex Toys

Jennie RosenfieldDr. Jennie Rosenfeld is equally at home teaching a page of Talmud and showing women how to use a vibrator. Dr. Rosenfeld, 31, who co-authored the book “The Newlywed’s Guide to Physical Intimacy,” which the Sisterhood weighed in on here, is also an Orthodox Jew, and her expertise in sex education is aimed at an Orthodox audience. The book, which the Jerusalem resident wrote with sex therapist David Ribner of Bar-Ilan University, explores the most intimate topics with no restraint, topics such as female orgasm, masturbation, and varieties of sexual positions. She spoke recently with The Sisterhood. Elana: Sztokman: Why did you decide to write this book? Jennie Rosenfield: My work at The Tzelem Project, which I cofounded in 2005 with Koby Frances in order to address sexual education in the Orthodox community, convinced me of the need for such a book. … Running training conferences for chatan and kallah [grooms- and brides-to-be] teachers and rabbis, hearing the questions that were asked, I saw the need first-hand: Seeing the outpouring of people that came to our conferences, wanting to learn from medical and mental health professionals so that they could do a better job at preparing their students, seeing the way that often the teachers don’t know anything about sex beyond their own experiences, and speaking to young couples who simply weren’t given enough information or accurate information about how to begin their sexual relationship. This was the real tragedy for me. Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/sisterhood-blog/149054/#ixzz1jcVPydLq

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Women-only fertility conference is no answer: Puah follow-up

Pressure against the Pu’ah to abstain from holding a conference for men only on fertility and Jewish law seems to be working. As of this morning, 9 out of 10 Israeli doctors scheduled to speak had withdrawn. In addition, the Ethics Board of the Physicians’ Union announced that from now on doctors will not be allowed to participate in medical events orconferences in which women are excluded, either as speakers or patients. This is an enormous victory by any social activism standards. A roundtable of 30 social justice organizations convened by the New Israel Fund over the past few months to address the exclusion of women seems to be largely responsible for this success. Dr. Hanna Kehat, founder of the religious women’s forum Kolech, brought the Pu’ah conference to the attention of the other members of the roundtable — and several member organizations helped activate pressure. (Full disclosure: I also sit on the roundtable, representing The Center for Women’s Justice. Everything reported here is with permission). Lili Ben Ami and Limor Levy Osemi, of the Lobby for Equality Between the Sexes, have been particularly influential in achieving the support of the physicians’ Ethics’ Board, and have been speaking to doctors, Knesset members and members of the media. Mickey Gitzin, director of Be Free Israel, which promotes civil equality, has also been encouraging doctors not to cave into Haredi pressure. Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/sisterhood-blog/149359/#ixzz1jbWWJRGz

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The Women of Jerusalem dance in the New Year for health -- and peace

The ancient walls of the City of David have never witnessed such a scene. Over four thousand women gathered outside Jaffa Gate last Thursday for the first ever mass festival of women’s athletics in Jerusalem. Women wearing scarves and long skirts shook their bodies alongside women in tank-tops and Lycra shorts to the overpowering thump-thump of dance-music as instructors shouted out motivating instructions like, “Come on, girls! Move those hips!”

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Hudda Naccache and Lilac: When the bikini is a sign of women's lilberation

For Huda Naccache, Israel’s 2011 representative in the Miss Earth beauty pageant, wearing a bikini is important for career advancement.

The 21-year old Christian Arab from Haifa has modeling ambitions, and in order to get noticed, she posed in a bikini for the cover of the Arab Israeli women’s magazine Lilac.

This may not sound like a big deal in a world where everyone from rock stars to child television icons seems to be willing to pose nearly nude for some photo or another. But in Huda’s community, such exposure for women is still taboo.

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Kolech Conference 2011

The sexual lives of religious women will be a leading topic of discussion at a panel at the upcoming Kolech conference. Dr. Naomi Marmon Grumet, a leading researcher on the subject of religious women's intimate lives, will be examining the differences between orthodox men and orthodox women in preparation for marriage, on a panel that promises to open up new arenas of discourse for religious women.

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Watching my Daughter Fly

I have a knack for embarrassing my children.

Like when I sing along while they listen to “Funkytown” with their friends (is it my fault 80’s music is the new retro fad?) Or when I start doing the hip-hop line-dance to Mary J. Blige’s “Just Fine” in the middle of the living room. “Ima, please stop,” is what I usually get in response. (Just for the record, my oldest daughter secretly loved the dance and had me show it to her, but she’ll never admit that to her friends.)

So I speak, sing, and dance to my heart’s delight, but invariably endure that unmistakable look of desperately seeking out the nearest rock to crawl under. Ah, motherhood.

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Hudda Naccache and Lilac: When bikini is a sign of women's lilberation

For Huda Naccache, Israel’s 2011 representative in the Miss Earth beauty pageant, wearing a bikini is important for career advancement.

The 21-year old Christian Arab from Haifa has modeling ambitions, and in order to get noticed, she posed in a bikini for the cover of the Arab Israeli women’s magazine Lilac.

This may not sound like a big deal in a world where everyone from rock stars to child television icons seems to be willing to pose nearly nude for some photo or another. But in Huda’s community, such exposure for women is still taboo.

Continue reading
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