Each month on Can We Talk?, the Jewish Women’s Archive features stories and conversations about Jewish women and the issues that shape our public and private lives. Alternating between a documentary style and a roundtable format, Can We Talk? includes profiles of historical and contemporary Jewish women, frank discussion of culture, politics, and current events, and little-known stories from our past and present. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us what you think of the podcast! Take our survey at https://jwa.org/podcastsurvey.
Episode 49: Jewish Women Vote
As history unfolds in this election season, we talk with Jewish women about their voting stories—past and present. We hear from a poll watcher in Georgia, a young voter whose name was nearly wiped from the voter rolls, and a rabbi who said a blessing as she slipped her ballot in the ballot box. We'll also hear from a 92-year-old voter in Florida who remembers meeting suffragist Alice Paul in the 1970s, and a candidate for US Congress who talks about the dilemma she faced in sixth grade—whether to vote for herself for class president.
Episode 48: A Ceiling Made of Eggshells
Gail Carson Levine is famous for writing retellings of classic fairy tales with a modern twist—like her best-selling novel Ella Enchanted—but her most recent book, A Ceiling Made of Eggshells, takes readers back to a real time and place. It's set in Spain in the decade leading up to the expulsion of the Jews in 1492. It's a tenuous time for Spanish Jews: They're being scapegoated for the Black plague, taxed out of economic viability, coerced into converting to Christianity, and threatened with torture and sometimes death. Ten-year-old Loma's Jewish family is in a unique position. Her financier grandfather has a special, though tense, relationship with the king and queen, and Loma soon finds herself at the center of events that determine the Jewish community’s future. In this episode, we talk with Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine about how she did her research for the book and what motivated her to write it.
Episode 47: RBG in Her Own Words
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first Jewish woman to sit on the nation’s highest court, died on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. Justice Ginsburg was an American and feminist icon and a Jewish hero. Her experiences as a Jew and as a woman helped her identify with outsiders and see the gap between American ideals and the realities that so many people live every day. Justice Ginsburg was a role model... and she had her own role models too. In this episode, we dig into JWA's archive and share some of the Justice's own words about a Jewish woman who inspired her.
Episode 46: Virtual Holidays: Lessons from our Muslim friends
Back in April, many of us celebrated Passover with a virtual Seder, or two. Now, five months later, we enter the High Holidays in much the same predicament. It’s hard not to feel disconnected when we can't be at our synagogues or share big festive meals with our communities. But, of course, Jews are not the only ones who have experienced this. Our Muslim friends have already gone through several major holidays, including the month of Ramadan, in quarantine. In this special Rosh Hashanah mini-sode, three Muslim women—Bintou Fall, Sukai See, and Angelica Lindsey-Ali—share advice about getting through a holiday season while social distancing.
Music for this episode: "Waves" and "Canada" by Pictures of the Floating World.
Episode 45: Shofar in the Desert
No sound is more iconic for the Jewish New Year than that of the shofar blast. This year, many Jews will hear the sound of the shofar virtually. Can We Talk? producer Sarah Ventre is one of hundreds of shofar blowers who will share their shofar blasts with their congregations over Zoom. In this special Rosh Hashanah mini-sode, Sarah ventures into the urban desert in Phoenix, Arizona to practice blowing her shofar. She shares her thoughts on what the shofar blast means to her this year, during the global pandemic.
Episode 44: The Nineteenth Amendment Turns 100
One hundred years ago on August 26, 1920, Congress adopted the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. After many decades of determined activism, American women had won the right to vote. Despite this victory, racist laws still prevented many people from voting. And even now, a century later, we are still working to achieve true democracy in America. In this episode of Can We Talk?, Judith Rosenbaum talks with historians Ellen Dubois, Martha Jones, and Melissa Klapper about persistence, the role of African American and Jewish women in fighting for the vote, and the racism, classism, and antisemitism that undermined the movement's impact.