Little Girls, Big Questions

user submitted picture“I am not at all tired of matzos though they seem tired of me for they feel just now as if they were all sticking in a lump in my throat.”
That’s a quote from Amelia Allen, a middle-class Jewish girl writing about Passover—in 1876. The quality of matzah hasn’t improved much over the past century and a half, and neither have the challenges of being a Jewish teenage girl in America, according to Melissa Klapper, who has compiled journal entries, scrapbooks and photo albums of into a book called “Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920”.
Even back then, Jewish girls obsessed about boys, pestered their parents about attending the school play on a Friday night and tackled biggies like “What is women’s role in Judaism? How important is formal religious education to the development of strong Jewish identity? How do we balance commitment to tradition with interest in modernization?”
Klapper writes: As the 350th anniversary of Jewish life in America continues, it is worth pausing to take note of how even previously ignored groups of historical figures contributed to the encounter between “Jewishness” and “Americanness.”
Definitely. And in another hundred years, Gd willing, scholars will contemplate the paradox of pink iPods containing haftorah portions and Gwen Stefani tracks,

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