Even More Mayim

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Just in case you missed her guest stint as a Hasidic Jew on Saving Grace last night — or, like me, you’re just too damn Orthodox to own a television* — there’s still plenty of Mayim Bialik love to go around. On the Jewish Wedding Network yesterday, she talked about her first experience going to a mikveh (and name-drops Aryeh Kaplan!). And she collaborates with Allison Josephs, better known as Jew in the City, to disspell some myths about Orthodox Jewish women:

It’s pretty awesome how Bialik is playing with her ’80s iconoclasm, but isn’t allowing herself to be a prisoner of it. And how she’s playing with her religious identity (dammit, I want to see Mayim in Hasidic drag on TV*) without making it as simple as a non-Orthodox person playing an Orthodox one, or an Orthodox person playing a non-Orthodox one.

* — but not to watch Buffy. OK, we just don’t have room for one. Caught.

Posted on July 15, 2009

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3 thoughts on “Even More Mayim

  1. Pingback: Mayim Bialik: The Press Blitz | Jewschool

  2. Naomi24

    Very cute! Jew in the City is great at giving quick, easy answers to questions about Judaism and Orthodoxy. Sometimes, though, I find too simplistic and frustrating. Are Orthodox Jews sexist? Well, it depends who you ask. As both an Orthodox Jew and a feminist, I find that while it’s unfair to say that Orthodoxy is sexist (I don’t think that sexism is inherent in the religion), it’s also dishonest to deny that sexism is rampant, in various guises, within Orthodoxy. There are PLENty of Orthodox Jews who are uncomfortable with, even hostile towards, feminism. Why must feminists by default be “rebelling because they want to be like men,” instead of wanting to expand their religious opportunities in a world where the secular community already believes that women can reach for the stars? Anyways, Jew in the City’s answer is good for a quick answer – it just left me starving for something a little more complex and meaty.

    By the way, have you guys at MJL been following what’s been happening in Israel with the Kolech conference? (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1246443811053&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter) I’d LOVE to hear your take on it – you guys have such interesting opinions on these issues.

  3. matthue Post author

    Naomi: Ay-freakin’-men. To every part of what you said. It’s really, really hard to discuss or dissect sexism within Orthodoxy when, any time you try, 99% of the people who leap to reply are going to say that Orthodox Judaism can’t be feminist, stet. In other words: it’s hard to find a dialectic among a group of people who honestly care.

    Of course, there’s JOFA! Although most of the advanced dialectics happening among women in the right-wing parts of the communities, at least as far as I’ve heard, are at Shabbos tables or divrei Torah or social events or, ironically, in kitchens. I think it’s a pretty profound sentiment to the rest of the world’s tuning out that most Haredim, and Hareidot, have lost whatever interest they first had in discussing sexism in any sort of public forum.

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