For the last few years I have been aware of a group of people doing some very interesting work putting American Jewish Women’s stories on the Internet. Sometimes that means being the only source of detailed information on someone famous (or famous among women) such as Molly Picon or Emma Goldman or Bella Abzug. Sometimes that means telling the stories of contemporary communities (Baltimore Stories, Seattle Stories, the forthcoming Katrina’s Jewish Voices), contemporary women (Women Who Dared)—including those who have recently passed, and contemporary movements (Jewish women and feminism).
For the last few months, I’ve been on the staff of the Jewish Women’s Archive, so if I was ever unbiased, I am certainly biased now. But it’s really neat to see how the JWA has influenced individuals (most popular pages? people we presume are high schoolers hooking up with the Emma Lazarus pages) and the ways in which the lives of Jewish women are incorporated into teaching history, and Jewish history. Still a lot more to do, but we’re not going anywhere—it’s the day after, and we’re back at work. There will be more birthday parties during the course of the year—probably NYC in November, and some other events tba.
You can hook up to the flickr photo display, or read the online guestbook at birthday.jwa.org. You can also read a great blog post by my predecessor at JWA, Jen Spadafora describing what the event meant to her.
For me, it was great being in a room full of very excited, very energized people, who were as happy to celebrate a 10th birthday of an organization whose work matters so much as to find themselves in the crowded, extraordinarily diverse company of similarly-minded people. My job at the party, in fact, was to find people who looked lost, or bored, and to talk with them. There weren’t any.
So, pardon the boast and shout out to my employers and fellow staff, but a good time was had by all and it’s worth mentioning to the Jewish world (and to the world) at large.