A version of this article originally appeared in the Forverts.
In the infinite race to inform Americans of “why Trump won,” commentators have started to home in on a bit of academic theory that was, until recently, obscure: “intersectionality.” It is “political poison,” Damon Linker said. It will cause the Women’s March on Washington to “eat itself from within,” offers Heather Wilhelm in The National Review (which no doubt has only the best interests of liberal protesters at heart). Shira Wolosky blames the idea for the BDS movement. And for some Jewish writers, these recent fulminations are behind-trend: David Bernstein and James Kirchick were complaining about intersectionality months ago.
Fears or hopes or whatever they were of Ivanka Trump serving as a behind-the-scenes first female president can probably be set aside. Donald Trump went to Jared rather than Ivanka for assistance: “‘She is busy buying a house,’ he said [in an interview quoted in the Forward]. ‘She has children so Jared will be engaged as we announced.’”
If a picture is worth a thousand words, the photograph of Muslims and Jews gathered around an unfurled Torah in the sanctuary of Temple Shalom Emeth, Rabbi Susan Abramson’s suburban Boston congregation, says volumes about her ongoing and notable interfaith outreach. The picture above was taken during an “Evening of Fellowship” with the local Muslim community that included a Shabbat evening service followed by Salaam prayers. “There were 120 people in our sanctuary and I opened the Torah scroll. Our Muslim guests asked a lot of questions and we even picked out words from the Torah that are similar to words in Arabic,” says Abramson.
Riki Wilchins has written a fascinating article about her recent work addressing sexism and self-image as they impact Jewish girls. This focus, she explains, took some prompting, even though she herself is Jewish and familiar with these concerns. As she explains in the piece, she hadn’t spontaneously thought of Jewish girls as a group in need of special attention: