For two summers during college, I interned at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, an organization whose mission is to develop new ways of thinking about Judaism and gender via academic research and art. Their internship program is amazing, an example of  a rare and genuine  commitment to empowering young women’s creativity and scholarship.
614: :HBI Zine, the Institutes’s online magazine, is invested in the idea that in order for Judaism, and Jewish women, to continue to grow and flourish, there must be an intentional space for challenging conversations to happen. In the fall 2010 issue, five Jewish women non fiction authors were interviewed about their perspectives on their complicated topics. I’m going to mention one I found particularly salient here, but you should read the entire issue.
Seeking Happily Ever After began as a documentary by Kerry David and Michelle Cove, 614’s Editor in Chief, but became a book when Cove decided to further delve into the motivations and questions of single women, specifically, why do they remain single, and how they cope with, subvert and redefine the traditional constructs of happiness (husband + babies= perfection and satisfaction).
In Cove’s interview in 614, she describes the book as a place where she seeks to help women access their feelings, assert them, and understand them, unlike most books, which Cove says “assume that singles all have the exact same needs and wants.”
In a bold and refreshing statement, Cove tells us that “Marriage is not “the answer. Learning how to tap into your own needs—which shift all the time—and figure out how to fulfill them is the answer.” Instead of concentrating on men (the book seems to be geared towards hetero ladies) women could be claiming our own power, challenging ourselves in other ways, and not being afraid of what we need and want? Outstanding.
Another disclosure: I haven’t read the book. I actually have never read a book about being single, because I suspect, probably rightfully, that most of those books are about how to “fix” your singleness, and I don’t need fixing. I would read this one, though, because I’ve never heard anyone talk about being single this way. Instead of pathologizing the single woman, Cove seeks to help us connect more deeply to ourselves, and to encourage us to examine the myths that surround and impact us.