Jewfem Blog

Pantsuits, Petitions, and Politics: Why I am still fighting the fight.....

The depths of anguish, depression and despair over the past two weeks (has it only been two weeks?) are unlike anything I have ever experienced. I think that a lot of people who were rooting for Hillary Clinton are in a similar state. Some have joined or created Facebook groups for support and actions. Others have gone off social media altogether. And many are wandering around in a half-daze, getting through their lives in the way one does after having been unexpectedly punched in the gut.  It is hard to know what to do next. The realization that so many seemingly normal people have put this person in office, a person who is an admitted cheater, racist, and sexual predator, a guy who is a textbook narcissist and demagogue, the one who surrounds himself with the worst of humanity -- white supremacists who believe that white men are literally genetically superior to everyone else -- is really too much to wrap your head around.  How do you walk through your life knowing that these are the beliefs of so many people you have connections with?  And it's not abstract. There is a very real trickle-down trump effect. My feeds are filled with stories of everyday aggression and violence. People are sharing stories of racism and homophobia at check-out counters, in malls, in parking lots, at the gym, and at home. I have read about several divorces that resulted from the election -- that is, from the outing of trumpism in real life. People who like trump because he gives them permission to air their dark sides, their abusiveness, and their hatred, are now let loose on society. Anyone who complains about "pc police" -- basically saying that they are tired of having to consider other people's feelings and experiences -- have been given the legitimacy to now speak without restraint. It is as if all those great lessons from kindergarten -- be nice, be kind, be considerate, don't bully, don't name-call, don't mock others, treat everyone as equals -- are all thrown out the window.  it is a truly frightening time.  And it has been, in many ways, paralyzing.  But I have made a conscious decision to keep on fighting. My words are my tool of choice. I will keep on writing and sharing words. You can read more about this here.    If you want to be part of the discussion, if you want to work together to figure out how to stop the spread of hate in our world,     

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"I'm FED UP!" New FB group for Orthodox feminists has taken off

frum ryan gosling
im also fed up

The new FB group I started in March called "I'm fed up with the way women are treated in Orthodoxy", also called "A home for Orthodox feminist and friends", has quickly taken off, with over 750 members and a constant buzz of activity. Yesterday's hot topic, for example, was a discussion of the Ryan Gosling pic you see here, a critucal satire of women in Parnership Minyan, part of the "frum Ryan Gosling" Tumblr. (The pic was created by Danya Lagos who joined the heated debate on the FB page!). The group has women and men of all ages from around the world, and not just Orthodox Jews either. Interestingly, there have been several posts from people who began with, "I'm not Orthodox so I'm not sure if I'm in the right group...." but all members have been welcome to share their stories, experiences and insights. The group is intended to be a place where people can safely express their own feelings and perspectives on women in Judaism. This has clearly met an important need given the rapid growth of the group. We had an intense debate last week about the title of the group, with some people saying that "I'm fed up" is too "angry", and that the group risks being just a kvetch-fest. The debate also included the question whether to make the group open or closed, since an open group risks becoming fodder for attack ("unsafe"), while a closed group has that risk of becoming an echo chamber. After lots of weighing in, we decided to keep the name because we really do need a place where we know it's okay to be angry or frustrated without being immediately told that we have to be perky, and to keep it open so that whoever needs to find us will. At the same time, we created a way to post anonymously as "plonit almonit" for particularly delicate postings. And we wrote very clear guidelines for discourse to ensure that nobody feels attacked or shamed or unwelcomed. That is a very challenging task on FB, since we all know how quickly passions can rise and tempers can flame. But it's really, really important to maintain this group as a safe-space for sharing. And by the way, the group is not "just for kvetching", although I don't want to minimize the value of sharing. There is a lot of support, empathizing, and analysis as well. Another interesting discussion currently going on is about "Why I'm still Orthodox". Jacqueline Nicholls, Leah Sarna and I all recently wrote blogs on this subject (unbeknowst to one another!), and so it seems to me like this is something that the people of the group grapple with as well. The group can help people figure out how to answer that question for themselves. The group is partially inspired by the success of the Hebrew group, "Ani feministit datiya..."("I"m a religious feminist and I also have no sense of humor), which has become a really important place for...

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Advice for the '$1.6 Billion Woman'

Sheryl Sandberg is about to become a very rich woman — and I’m really happy about it. The world needs more rich women, especially women who understand the importance of empowering other women.The New York Times called Sandberg the “1.6 billion woman,” based on the anticipated public offering of Facebook, where Sandberg is COO. Sandberg, who has been a strong, vocal advocate for women’s advancement in the workplace, is actually one of the few women on top in Facebook. Tellingly, there are no women on the Facebook board, and Sandberg is the highest ranking woman in the company — number four from the top. Of the 10 most senior positions in the company, only three are held by women. Certainly Sandberg has a reputation for promoting women’s successes at work — helping working mothers to find creative schedules and day care, encouraging women to be powerful and assertive, building a culture in which women’s real, complicated lives and concerns are welcomed rather than dismissed as signs of women’s lack of professionalism. But when it comes to women’s equality all the way to the top, the Facebook record remains mixed.   Read the rest at The Forward

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