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Houston Breakthrough 1976-10
Page 9
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Houston Breakthrough 1976-10 - Page 9. October 1976. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. July 13, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3590/show/3578.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(October 1976). Houston Breakthrough 1976-10 - Page 9. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3590/show/3578

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough 1976-10 - Page 9, October 1976, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed July 13, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/3590/show/3578.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Compound Item Description
Title Houston Breakthrough 1976-10
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date October 1976
Description Vol. 1 No. 8
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 20 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 9
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_521i.jpg
Transcript By Linda May Mother, career woman, student, lover, feminist, Jew-how can the Jewish woman juggle the roles and still retain her individuality? Ann Wolfe, a community relations specialist from the New York office of the American Jewish Committee, was the keynote speaker at the first of eight lectures dealing with the "Jewish Woman: Who Is She? Where Has She Been? Where Is She Going?" (see box for October schedule.) Wolfe's topic was "To Be Female and Jewish: Double Jeopardy?" Over 75 women from ages 20 to 80 came to explore, assess and re-examine themselves. Wolfe's thesis: "laws and values and behavior patterns have shaped woman's self- image and the way men see her and relate to her." Wolfe indicated that the Jewish woman is influenced by her Jewish traditions, whether or not she has chosen to practice or live by them. It is what Wolfe called the "collective Jewish memory" that might, indeed, put the Jewish woman in jeopardy. Wolfe turned to Biblical text as the source for stories regarding the esteem and respect the Jewish community accorded its women. She referred to the ritual cleansing required after menstruation and childbirth, noting that if a girl child was born, the mother required two cleansings. She recalled the daily prayer by men, thanking God that they were not born a woman. If a woman touched the Torah, the sacred scrolls had to be burned. Wolfe retold the story of Lilith, Adam's first wife, who wanted equality, and became vengeful when that was denied her; and of Eve, who succumbed to temptation, and was viewed as a defiler and weak. Thus were women perceived as willful, devious and foolish. Amendment. Economically, in terms of equal pay and advancement, the women favor the ERA. However, in terms of socialization, they oppose it. They feel that family structure would suffer; further, the women strongly believe in differentiation of the male and female "Even Golda Meir is referred to as a loving grandmother. . ." Wolfe reviewed the names of the many famous Jewish men who were writers, scientists, and musicians, and wondered aloud where the Jewish women had been. She noted that it was only when "rebellion and change occurred that women broke through," mentioning Anna Freud, Henrietta Szold and Golda Meir. Szold's activities (founder of Hadassah and resettler of homeless children) are rationalized in history books in sexist terms: "God made her childless, so that she could be the mother of thousands." Even Meir is referred to as a "loving grandmother," nurturing qualities emphasized to make their non-traditionalism "kosher." A re-examination of religious textbooks is urgent. Some books refer to the most significant religious event in a boy's life as his I ewish study and consequent bar mitzvah, and a girl's as her marriage. The sabbath is seen as the woman's responsibility, and she is pictured baking the traditional challah (bread). The collective memory Wolfe speaks of is woven throughout the fabric of orthodox conservative and reform Judaism. A better understanding of it is seen through the eyes of some orthodox women who have begun to speak out regarding ratification of the Equal Rights roles. This reminder of the traditional Jewish woman's role as helpmate tells the Jewish feminist something about herself. Not embracing the tradition does not relieve the struggle. The Orthodox woman and the ardent feminist have the same roots. Even divorce, Wolfe explained, was on a man's terms: disliking a woman's cooking or seeing someone more beautiful were legitimate grounds for divorce. And, financial settlement depended on the "offense." It was marriage and motherhood that gave woman status, for it was then that "man transformed woman into a useful vessel." With such a history, is it any wonder why the Jewish woman may be having some difficulty today? As descendants, both women and men carry with them many of those values, myths and traditions. Moving away from Biblical writings, Wolfe told of the woman's role in shtetl life, where she handled the family finances, became the home manager, and worked in the marketplace, while her husband perused Jewish studies—considered the more worthy endeavor. As Jews immigrated to the United States, many pushed up and out of their ghetto existence. The woman began to LILITH, THE QUARTERLY FOR INDEPENDENT JEWISH WOMEN. $«/YR. LILITH PUBS.. 800 E. 63RD NO. ISO. NY. NY 10021. SAMPLE COPY $2. value staying home, housekeeping and mothering. Wolfe asks "did the Jewish woman change, or were values changing to change our perception of Jewish women?" Within the larger Jewish community, women have additional conflicts. As young women look forward toward role they see the women still functioning largely away from the decision making process, except for the wealthy. The women continue to play a "subsidiary role, with less visibility, yet are the structural support," says Wolfe. Statistical evidence supports her observations: of the Jewish Federation Boards, for example, 21% of the members are women, 16% of whom serve on the executive committees, mostly as secretaries. Wolfe made it clear that "the use of a strong feminist movement can be a force for change within the Jewish community." Throughout the talk, women in the audience were noticeably agreeing and disagreeing with Wolfe. Now it was their turn. The women formed three discussion groups, and ideas instantly began pouring forth. Guilt, seemingly the prerogative of the Jewish woman, evidenced itself early. Many women shared the fact that they had, indeed, sublimated their needs. By opening their minds, however, they admitted that if their "inner time bombs" weren't defused early, the eventual explosion would be catastrophic. The problem remained of how to communicate this urgent sense of personal fulfillment to the family. Be honest with yourselves, said one woman, "and face it, you only do what you really want to do!" Responses came, one on top of the other. Options was the key word of the day—it was allowing for options that enabled the women to hear each other without being critical. Some women were perplexed over the fuzzy line between "decision maker" and "guide" in terms of their children. How to guide without instilling guilt within the children became a theme with which most women identified. As one person said, "I tell the boys they can be anything they want, but I'm not sure I really mean it." Wolfe concluded the morning by suggesting that the women have an honest confrontation with themselves. "Sit down- alone-and think hard about what's going on around you. Be honest ... if what you are doing is not fulfilling your potential, then it's not OK." The collective consciousness of the women was, indeed, being raised. There is a far more profound discussion going on today than ever before. Who Is She? THE JEWISH WOMAN: Where Has She Been? Where Is She Going? Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m.—12:00 noon Jewish Community Center, 5601 S. Braeswood Individual Lecture $6.00 Oct. 6: "The Jewish Mother and the Jewish American Princess: Where are the Stereotypes?" Julia Wolf Mazow, Ph.D. Oct. 13: "The Houston Jewish Woman: The Unprinted Chapter" Sheila Sheinberg, Ph.D. Oct. 20: "The Jewish Women and Their Healers: Their Pediatrician, Gynecologist, Psychiatrist" Helen Schaffer, M.D. Carl Levinson, M.D. Virginia Davidson, M.D. Oct. 27: "Women and Their Intimate Relationships" Nanette Bruckner, Ph.D. Nov. 3: "Woman's Views of Herself" Janet Saltzman Chafetz, Ph.D. Sponsored jointly by: The American Jewish Committee The Jewish Community Center