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Gender in Tech, Women of the Wall and Airplane Seat-Switching

In my recap of The Salon last month I left off on a cliffhanger, so for those of you who have been waiting with bated breath…Our co-host, Rachel Sklar, gave birth right before Passover to a beautiful baby girl! Both mom and baby are doing well – so well, in fact, that they both made it to The Jewish Channel’s studio for this month’s taping of The Salon!

Speaking of which, this was a particularly meaty episode, with a panel of particularly sharp women: extremely astute ACLU attorney Ariela Migdal, who specializes in women’s rights cases; the fabulous new Executive Director of The Jewish Women’s Archive, Judith Rosenbaum; and angel investor Joanne Wilson, who blogs at and who I’ve been bugging to come on the show for over a year – I’m so glad we finally managed to schedule this extremely busy and awesomely badass woman!

This was the last episode we’ll be taping before a summer hiatus, and there’s plenty for you to mull over while you sit on the beach sipping daiquiris (which is what I jealously imagine other people do on their summer vacations).

Here are my favorite quotes from this month’s episode:

“Feminism isn’t about changing the world for women, it’s about changing the world” -Judith Rosenbaum on men supporting Women of the Wall in reading from a full-sized Torah for the first time.

“It’s the same thing in every industry and to think otherwise is fooling yourself” – Joanne Wilson on gender discrimination in the Tech world and Ellen Pao’s lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

“I’ve been that family many times, coming on with the kids – sometimes I want them to sit next to my small child instead of me!” – Ariela Migdal, joking about whether asking a random airline passenger to switch seats to be near family members is similar to ultra-Orthodox men asking women to switch seats for reasons of “modesty.”

And this exchange between Jane Eisner and Rachel Sklar:

Jane: So before we launch into our conversation I think we all have to applaud Rachel Sklar, whose baby is just three weeks old, and she looks fabulous.

Rachel: Well, I had some help from our makeup department…

Jane: No, I was talking about the baby, Rachel.

(Hmm, that sounds snarkier written down than it was in actuality — you’ll have to watch the show and see for yourself.)

Joking aside, probably the most provocative part of the conversation was about the rise — or perceived rise — of anti-Semitism on college campuses. In the below clip, amid a discussion about the links between anti-Semitic harassment and sexual harassment on college campuses, Jane wonders if the Jewish community has been making too much of an oft-cited which found that 54% of Jewish college students have experienced or witnessed some form of anti-Semitism. It opens an interesting debate about whether numbers matter or if just the perception of increased anti-Semitism is cause enough for concern.

What do you think? Continue the discussion in the comments, and watch the full episode of The Salon on The Jewish Channel on cable!

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