L’Shana Tova/Happy New Year

Something that many people don’t know just by looking at me is that I am Jewish. Although I am no longer a practicing Jew and don’t currently identify heavily with any organized religion, I was raised in a conservative synagogue and Bat Mitzvah’d as a teen. Being a Jew of color has been for me a very complicated and interesting thing. Recently, after much thought and internal debate, I  signed up for a birthright trip to Israel, and I’m headed there for the first time ever in the Spring. But my thoughts on that are best saved for another time!

This is a post to wish all our Jewish readers, and even the non-Jewish ones, a very happy Rosh Hashanah ( Jewish New Year)!! Even though I am no longer practicing, I still sometimes join some members of my family for a Rosh Hashanah dinner, blowing of the shofar, and of course apples and honey.

Not that I would miss an occasion to bring in a feminist analysis! As this article points out, all holidays, this holiday included, can sometimes be “a test of femininity” for women in their household:

“The holiday, says Dr. Miri Rozmarin, a lecturer in philosophy and gender studies at Tel Aviv University, is perceived as a test of women. “The woman’s connection to the private space and to the family is rarely cracked, even when she is more involved in the public space. It’s still considered the essence of femininity and the holiday is the height of it all. So even someone who can afford to pay another woman to cook and clean for her during the week will, when it comes to the moment of truth (on the holidays ), do the cooking herself in order to ‘show that she is also a woman.’ And here the men’s masculinity is also evaluated: Are they free from the obligation of having to cook? Does the boss loosen his pants and sit down?”

This dynamic requires reassigning gender roles in the family, continues Rozmarin.”

I think there are some interesting points there. But for now, I’m more interested in celebrating a new year and a new beginning than focusing on the complicated gender dynamics at play. Please enjoy the video below, which appeared in my Facebook news feed this morning courtesy of Jill Filipovic and Jaclyn Friedman.  Happy new year/L’shana tova!!

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