This year was my third helping to decide the Forward 50; the annual list of people who most influenced the American Jewish story has been a Forward tradition since 1994.
In my short tenure at the Forward, the process has been relatively similar year to year. Editors and writers with various expertise throw their suggestions into the ring. Readers send in their submissions. The editorial staff debates the names, adding people on and striking others off until a list — including the top five influencers — starts to take shape. Then the senior editors make the final call.
On November 4, I celebrated the 25th anniversary of Women of the Wall with over 600 women at the Kotel — a joyous event that went off with little of the usual chair-throwing, whistle-blowing and megaphone-enhanced cursing that the group normally endures during its monthly prayer protests. Two days later, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman donned a tallit and celebrated his acquittal on corruption charges at the Kotel.
I was struck by the juxtaposition. For 25 years this group of pious, multi-denominational, serious women have tried to gain the right to pray at the Kotel with tallit, tefillin and Torah, and have only recently won the tenuous right to the first two but not the third. Lieberman can swagger right up to the front with his kippot-clad guards and be sure he will be welcome.
Right now in Texas, women are getting turned away from abortion clinics thanks the set of targeted regulations aimed at abortion providers once filibustered by Wendy Davis (pictured below), eventually upheld by a conservative appeals court.
The scene on the ground is not a pleasant, or a fair one. The Austin Chronicle reported “tears” and confusion at Planned Parenthood. Andrea Grimes, reporting for RH Reality Check, described a chaotic situation as Texas facilities attempt to “shuttle” patients with now-cancelled appointments for procedures to other, open, providers. Of her patients, CEO of Whole Woman clinics Amy Hagstrom Miller, said at a press conference, “They get really angry, asking, ‘Who decided this?’”
Israeli women want in on the peace process, and they think they can help.
As Haaretz’s Eetta Prince-Gibson reports, Israeli feminists recently got together to demand that the government include women on all decision and policy-making bodies, including those in charge of negotiating peace.
Citi and LinkedIn recently published the results from their third Today’s Professional Woman Report, a national survey exploring women’s thoughts on their careers and work-life balance. For this round, they decided to pose their questions to men, too.
They asked each gender to define what “having it all” means to them. The vast majority of the men, 79%, said it included a “ strong, loving marriage” vs. 66% of women, and 86% of men factor having kids into their definition of success compared to 73% of women. Also, the number of women who say their definition of success is not linked to marriage or relationships has doubled since the survey was first conducted in July 2012, jumping from 5% to 9%.