Farewell and reflections from a Jewess with Attitude
After three invaluable years, I’m signing off as Communications Specialist and Blogger-in-Chief at the Jewish Women’s Archive.
In the three years since I started on my journey with Jewesses with Attitude, this blog has undergone a transformation. Its readership has grown from around 6,000 unique viewers per month to nearly 16,000 per month. A dedicated, passionate, and diverse group of writers have joined us, lending their voices to create a chorus of commentary on topics of interest to Jewish women. Jewesses with Attitude has grown from a small, niche blog to a national, competitive blog—a destination for thoughtful analysis, courageous opinions, and stories of all kinds of trailblazing Jewish women.
I’ve grown too. When I started here in 2009, I had never taken a Women’s Studies course. I didn’t yet identify as a feminist (even though today I understand that I always have been one). I had never heard of Bella Abzug, Emma Lazarus, or Gertrude Elion. But I learned about those notable Jewish women and so much more—not from seminars or books, but through writing every day for Jewesses with Attitude, with jwa.org as my teacher and road map.
In the past few years I’ve written about historical Jewish women who changed the world or improved their corner of it. I’ve written about hot-button women’s issues in the news. I’ve written about representations of Jewish women in pop culture and the mainstream media. I’ve written about contemporary Jewish women fighting for social justice and for the environment, and about the fight for women’s equality in the workplace, the military, politics, healthcare, sports, on the bima, and at the Kotel. And as I’ve done so, feminism has become a core part of my identity as Jewish woman.
In 2010 I started a graduate program in Health Communication at Emerson College. The intersection of health and social justice has been my passion for as long as I can remember, but thanks to the past three years at JWA, I’ve discovered a new dimension of meaning in this work. Today, I understand that I am part of the legacy of Lillian Wald, Emma Goldman, Barbara Seaman, Rose Kushner, and the authors of Our Bodies Ourselves. I now claim a Jewish framework as the root of my activism.
My experience at JWA made an immeasurable impact on my identity as a Jewish woman, a health activist, and a feminist. It is hard to leave a place that has come to mean so much to me. But now that I’ve finished my degree, I’m moving on to pursue new opportunities. The first of those is a six-week trek through South America. I’ll be blogging about my trip at http://grrrltrek.wordpress.com.
Please, keep in touch.
Your "Jewess with Attitude,"
How to cite this page
Berkenwald, Leah. "Farewell and reflections from a Jewess with Attitude." 20 June 2012. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on December 19, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog/farewell-and-reflections-from-jewess-with-attitude>.