Italy as a country is nothing if not traditional. Many of its cobblestone streets existed long before the U.S. gave so much as a birth cry and the Italian Jewish community boasts roots that go back to the second century B.C.E. The Renaissance is almost a modern phenomenon in comparison.
Here’s a really short history lesson. In 1880, a 21-year-old Jewish Viennese woman went to Sigmund Freud’s colleague, Dr. Josef Breuer, for help because she felt suicidal. Breuer diagnosed Anna O — whose real name was Bertha Pappenheim — with hysteria, a common label for distressed women in the late 1800s. I suspect that given how many of Freud’s patients labeled as hysterical were actually sexually abused, Pappenheim was victimized as well. But since she didn’t write anything about herself, we only have others’ unreliable accounts to go by. All we know is that Pappenheim was sent away to a sanatorium for several years; after her release, she went on to form the largest organization for Jewish women in Germany. She became the most outspoken Jewish leader against the trafficking of Jewish women who were sold into prostitution in what was known as white slavery, and opened a shelter for former prostitutes and their children. Pappenheim wrote articles, stories, prayers and plays — but nothing about her past.
The hardest part about getting arrested was when they took away my necklace.
In the opening scene of the 1988 Oscar nominated film “Working Girl,” Tess McGill mentions she has speech class that evening. Her friend Cyn responds, “Whaddya need speech class for, ya talk fine!” The question of whether women “talk fine” is not a new conversation. But this summer, women’s language choices and speech patterns have come under serious attack from a surprising source — other women.
In light of the recent spate of Jewish terrorism in Israel, a friend of mine compiled the following list of names: Yisrael Lederman, David Ben Shimol, Haggai Segal, Yona Avrushmi, Raphael Solomon, Ami Popper, Baruch Goldstein, Yigal Amir, Eden Natan Zada,Jack Teitel, Asher Vizgan, Yosef Chaim Ben David, Yishai Shlisel. Some of these names should be familiar, some are relatively unknown, all are Israeli Jews who carried out shocking acts of violence against random Arabs (or in some cases against Jews). And all of them, as it turns out, are men.