3: Cartoon, "A makeh" ("An Assault") from the Interwar Warsaw Yiddish humor magazine "Der Blofer," 1929.
This 1929 cartoon depicts a Jewish divorce proceeding. It presents a stereotypical image of a large and imposing Jewish woman and her smaller husband in a Rabbinical court. This image appears in a Tablet Magazine article by Eddy Portnoy, which teachers may also wish to consult, about divorces in Warsaw's Rabbinical court.
Suggested activity: Ask students to create a list of the stereotypes present in the cartoon. Then discuss: Is this cartoon funny? If so, why? To what extent are traditional gender roles reinforced or disrupted in the image? What does the cartoon suggest about the causes of divorce among Jewish couples? Who has power? Who do you sympathize with? Would you say the image is empowering or disempowering for women?
Ask students to think about the gender dynamics in contemporary divorce and to create their own cartoons highlighting those dynamics.
Source: "A makeh" from Der Blofer, 1929. (Photo by Eddy Portnoy)