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Role Models

Women of Valor: an Evolving Role Model

JWA has an enlightening poster series dedicated to 16 women tagged as Women of Valor. The exhibit introduces itself explaining, “Women of Valor recognizes and highlights the lives and accomplishments of sixteen trailblazing Jewish women, each of whom had the courage and conviction to overcome the social, cultural, and religious barriers she faced in creating a more just and equitable world.”

The exhibit has me thinking—about the concept of valor, about the traditional hymn, and about whom we might tag as contemporary Women of Valor.

The word itself, valor, can be defined as personal bravery—when I think of valor I think of someone who not only speaks, but also acts with a just intent, who is able to keep the needs of others in perspective to her own needs, and is dedicated to improving the world in both small and large ways. But, valor hasn’t always held this connotation in traditional Jewish Biblical literature. To understand how we define women of valor we must first take a look back at where the phrase originated.

Women in Science: Reflecting with Dr. Joan Feynman

Dr. Feynman fought an uphill battle—she had the smarts and the ability, but she was living in a world that wasn’t able to support or encourage a woman in science. Realizing the realities of the academic culture, she relegated her ambitions to being an assistant to a male physicist. Luckily for all of us—and for the field of theoretical physics—the support of her brother helped her set her goals at being a “high-medium physicist.”

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Role Models." (Viewed on September 2, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog/role-models>.

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Today in 1990, the Jewish Press profiled Rabbi Bonnie Koppell, the first female rabbi to serve in the U.S. military http://t.co/JaJvIc0U20
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Today in 1984, Judith Resnik became the first American Jewish astronaut and second woman in space http://t.co/Gslg9RCAAQ
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This is SOOO jwa!! What a great idea #MissPossible http://t.co/UgyLkQWJ6A