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8 Jewish Ladies of Instagram

Instagram, the artsy-fartsy photo-sharing app owned by Facebook, skews young. If one were to build a composite of the average Jewish female Instagrammer snapping away with her iPhone, she’d probably be a 16-year-old Jersey girl who collects and distributes “likes” with her #besties (best friends) of #selfies (self portraits) taken posed in front of a bathroom mirror.

I’ve lost many hours mining Instagram’s search feature for hashtag keywords in an attempt to figure out just what types of photos and behaviors Jewish girls and women are offering up on this particular social network. The popular hashtag #jewishgirlproblems (and its variants, like #jewishgirlsprobs and #jewishgirlprobz) yields more than 1,000 photos. Add another thousand for #jewishgirls, and another 500 for the predictable #jewishamericanprincess. Most of the photos with these tags are taken by girls who are almost certainly younger than 18, so I won’t highlight them here, but the point is that girls are using Instagram hashtags to tie their faces and bodies to their self-identified Jewishness.

Some celebrities have taken to the app as well, usually as a complement to their Twitter accounts. Among these are Jewish women with household names who are giving their fans brief glimpses into their private lives via mobile phone photography. Somehow, viewing a celebrity’s Instagram feed feels far more personal than following him or her on Twitter.

Follow The Forward on Instagram at @jdforward!

And so I present you with eight Instagram photostreams by Jewish women that are notable for the photographic talent, celebrity, entertainment or cultural currency they display.

  1. Lena Dunham
    Username: @lenadunham
    Followers: 170,732
    The “Girls” creator and Hollywood star Instagrams with frequency and describers her feed this way: “Feeling feelings since 1986 I enjoy taking iPhone photos of wallpaper, bad dogs, bad dads, my ‘process’ and my face in private situations.” See her show off a crown of tinseled Stars of David, her grandma’s Sketcher-ensconced feet, and her latest shade of nail blue nail polish.

  2. Bar Refaeli
    Username: @barrefaeli
    Followers: 423,503
    The Israeli supermodel uses her Instagram account less as a photojournalistic view of her lifestyle and more as a portfolio of some of her more racy modeling shots. Indeed, that’s how she racked up over 400,000 followers. There are, however, plenty of candid shots of Bar alternately being athletic and pigging out. Here’s an old photo she posted of herself with her dad.

  3. Jessica Zollman
    Username: @jayzombie
    Followers: 212,865
    Jessica Zollman actually works at Instagram as a community manager, but as one of the app’s first users, she figured out a photographic style that works very well in the tiny format. More than 210,000 followers agree that her precious and thoughtfully composed photos of life in San Francisco are worth looking at every day. Here’s her Hanukkah tableau.

  4. Nicole Talia Tehilla Abitbol
    Username: @nicoletalia770
    Followers: 558
    Nicole isn’t a celebrity or a professional photographer. She’s just an 18 year-old girl from Jerusalem attending a seminary in Tzfat who has managed to capture some beautiful, moving and hilarious scenes of Israeli religious goings-on. There’s the Santa Claus wearing tefillin, for instance, and the picture of the “Moshiach” Post-It note on the rear view mirror that states, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.”

  5. Jenny Slate
    Username: @jennyslate
    Followers: 8,942
    Its tough to describe comedian Jenny Slate’s (Saturday Night Live, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, Bored To Death) Instagram oeuvre; it doesn’t seem like any of the wacky scenarios she’s captured are staged, but they might be — hitting a small cake with a mallet, sleepwalking with a pumpkin yarmulke on her head, wearing her Bat Mitzvah jewelry for the first time at age 30.

  6. The Jewish Hostess (Marlene M.)
    Username: @thejewishhostess
    Followers: 4,728
    The Jewish Hostess started as a popular blog about Kosher recipes and holiday table decorations, but the Instagram feed presents some of the same stuff, and re-posts from other cooks, in a much more mouth-watering fashion. Check out this Hanukkah challah, which The Jewish Hostess Instagrammed for user @emilymassry.

  7. Joan Rivers
    Username: @Joan_Rivers
    Followers: 39,321
    So, she’s only Instagrammed 21 photos in six months, but the 79 year-old Fashion Police co-host makes them count. The comedy queen poses with shirtless male dancers in a fur stole, shows off rainbow colored hair and fresh manicures, and hangs out with Sarah Silverman.

  8. Aly Raisman
    Username: @alyraisman
    Followers: 388,828
    Forward 50 honoree Aly Raisman shares a mix of gymnastics and Olympics-related shots along with pictures from her regular life as an…Olympian. Check out Aly goofing around with friends doing the “not impressed” face with friend and teammate McKayla Maroney, and here she is palling around with — who else? — Joan Rivers!





    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

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