The Sisterhood blog and the “frankly feminist” Jewish magazine, Lilith, are jointly producing a series of podcasts about Jewish women’s issues. In our inaugural discussion, Forward and Lilith editors weigh in on what Sara Hurwitz and other Orthodox women serving in rabbinic roles should be called, revitalizing the word “yenta,” and the growing role food is playing in Jewish love stories.
By her own admission, Merissa Nathan Gerson’s qualification as an advice columnist is mainly “10 years of talk therapy.” “Add a few rabbis, a Buddhist-inspired education, monks, stupas, shrine rooms and the like, stir, and you get a 28-year-old Yenta,” writes the former farmer, waitress, teacher, lamp-maker, and creative writing teacher at a juvenile detention facility. But bona fides aren’t the point of her burgeoning site AskYourYenta.com. The site riffs on traditional advice columns to provide distinctly feminist perspectives on local, global and personal issues. Gerson answered the Forward’s questions via email from Johnson, Vt., where she is at a writing residency at the Vermont Studio Center.