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September 06, 1985 - Image 44

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-09-06

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Friday, September 6, 1985 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS


g 6 1111 ary Richards" was
111111the first American
working woman to gain rec-
ognition and to be given ex-
pression in a television series.
Once a week, starting in the
70s, audiences delighted in
the new escapades of a single
and successful career woman,
her family, co-workers and
friends. Yet in all the epi-
sodes of the show, it is dif-
ficult to recall one religious
affiliation or contact — short
of the Jewish jokes about
Rhoda Morgenstern and her
plight as a single Jewish
woman. While Mary repre-
sented the straight-laced,
Midwest epitome of the work
ethic, Rhoda was the flaky,
creative windowdresser from
the Concourse in the Bronx,
in the popular Mary Tyler
Moore show.
Currently, the real life roles
of Mary and Rhoda have
blended, to produce the
1980's Jewish American
Woman Yuppy (young urban
professional). The Jewish un-
married woman is now not
distinguished from her Chris-
tian counterpart. Each has
her work, family, friends and
entertainments. But one con-
stant remains within the por-
trayed life of the unwed ca-
reer woman — her religious
needs are still not being ad-
Jewish women have his-
torically been regarded as
learned wives, supportive
helpmates or "princesses." It
is not just the media which
portray women in such a
manner; actions of the Jewish
community initiate and rein-
force these_ perceptions.
Young professional women
are not encouraged to be part
of this Jewish fellowship
from the day they leave He-
brew High School and the
Youth Group until the day
they enroll a first child in
Religious School classes.
With the recent statistics
indicating the delaying of
pregnancy by working wo-
men, this can easily become a
decade without ongoing 'af-
In our mobile society it
cannot be predicted that such
a woman will then join the
Synagogue her parents at-
tend. If she does, what type
of reception can she expect,
short of being "so and so's
daughter" who doesn't fit in
with any of the established
groups: Youth, Sisterhood,
Men's Club.
Business and the media are
cultivating the Yuppies, for
they are gaining visibility as

The Female Jewish Yuppie:
Single And Equal

Meeting the needs of today's
single Jewish women is of
paramount importance.


Special to the Jewish News

■ 8,...... ■•• ■•■ •••••".


the biggest marketing target
and they will continue to be,
as their buying power in-
creases. There are also single
Jewish women in this baby
boom generation who do not
fit the classification of profes-
sional, and there are many
not in the age group who are
single due to divorce or
widowhood. I believe that all
these women should be inte-
grated as equal members, not
ghettoized. as "singles"
within the larger Jewish com-
As with Rhoda Morgen-
stern, spouseless Jewish
women see themselves with
social desires which can be
met through danees and one-
on-one activities, but this
aspect is only part of the
overall picture. They also
have intellectual, spiritual
and religious needs. Jewish
communal organizations are
classified as "religious" and
"secular" agencies. While
anyone can belong to one or
the other, or both, the unmar-
ried seem to be responding
most frequently to the sec-
The YMHA's and Jewish
Centers appear to be the
most successful in providing
time-appropriate services
through exercise facilities,
which encourage interaction
among people of every mar-
ital status and all ages.
Through cultural activities
such as classes, concerts, lec-
tures and shows, they have
also reached out to the sin-
gles. Some series are aimed
specifically at singles, in
response to a demand. (In one
well-known "Y," the lecture
series for sffigles is so popular
that married people have
been known to infiltrate!)
The Anti-Defamation League
is another popular meeting
place for unmarried women,
because it encourages any-
one, regardless of marital
status or age, to participate
in the New Leadership pro-
gram, community campaigns,
newsletter development and
fund-raising activities. People
are viewed only in-terms of
their individual abilities.
Perhaps it is easier to offer
comaraderie on the tennis
court or as teammates com-
batting anti-Semitism. But
while such activities may be
the calling card to participa-
tion in Jewish life, they
should not be the termination


Art By Wanydon Lee

Single women have attemp-
ted to share in other Jewish
service organizations such as
Zionist and Synagogue wo-

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