Saturday, January 12, 2013


Recently, I watched an episode of Sofia the First with my eighteen-month-old niece (who is the cutest, smartest, funniest, most stubborn kid on the planet). Now, I will freely confess that I ended up setting down my biography of Catherine the Great (which is amazing) and paying attention to the show. What? I'm a sucker for Disney.

In this particular episode, Sofia was throwing her first royal slumber party with the help of her stepsister, Amber. Some other princesses from nearby kingdoms were invited, but so were Sofia's non-royal friends from the village, much to Amber's dismay. As you can imagine, there was some tension between the two groups from the start. Most of the princesses, Amber included, were looking down their royal noses at the intruders who were refusing to follow royal protocol and at least act like the princesses they so obviously weren't. Poor Sofia was stuck in the middle! On one hand, she loved her friends from her pre-royal life. But she was also embarrassed by how they looked to the princesses, and she couldn't help wishing they would talk less and not laugh so loudly, as was befitting royal company.

My niece and I were on the edge of our seats. Actually, she had a box of yogurt-covered raisins and seemed pretty detached from the outcome. Cue Sofia's mom to come in and help her daughter sort it out. The new queen gently explained that princess behavior wasn't all about protocol or acting aloof and dignified, but kindness and friendship. Hmmm sound familiar?

The term "Jewish Princess" gets thrown around a lot in one form or another. Some say JAP, others, "bas melech," but both can be incredibly narrow and restrictive definitions of Jewish women if used in the wrong sense. Being a Jewish "princess" isn't about marrying a doctor or carrying a Louis Vuitton bag, but nor is it reduced to covering collarbone, elbows, and knees. I know this because like Sofia, I'm new to the fold, except I've had the privilege of observing true royal behavior from many of my Jewish sisters. These women exemplify the warmth, love, and light that Judaism is all about, and I am constantly taking notes. It is thanks to them and with their representation in mind that I'm really proud to be a JAP every day.


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