JWA News Release: October 3, 2005
Online Exhibit Connects Jewish Feminism and American History in Landmark Project from Jewish Women’s Archive
Brookline, MA, October 3, 2005 —At the Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA), losing history means losing ground. That’s the impetus behind a pioneering initiative called “Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution” that examines the phenomenon of Jewish women’s significant contributions to a movement that has changed our world.
JWA historians and educators worried that with the passage of time, vital information about Jewish women’s contributions to the movement called Second Wave feminism was being lost. “We needed to stem that tide,” says JWA Executive Director Gail Twersky Reimer, Ph.D.
The result is a multi-vocal, inspirational, and egalitarian online exhibit at jwa.org that is consistent with the Web itself as a medium. The exhibit marks a major stage in the evolution of JWA as a virtual archive.
Feminism of the late 1960s and 1970s was one of the most dramatic social movements in American history, with many Jewish women among those who led the movement and worked to advance its ideals.
“Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution brings the story of Jewish feminism into the story of American feminism for the first time, connecting their histories in a landmark project,” explains curator Judith Rosenbaum, Ph.D. “Our goal has been to create an interactive exhibit that is multi-layered and rich in content – one that vividly exploits the potential of the Internet to educate and inspire young people today.”
Visitors to jwa.org/feminism will experience the web in a new way. In a single site JWA has preserved for future generations artifacts, documents, video clips, radio news reports, images, art, sounds, and fragments of memories that convey Jewish women’s roles as activists and the impact of feminism on the Jewish community.
“With it we’ve begun to invite women to become their own historians and help build a virtual collection out of privately-owned materials that document an important chapter in Jewish women’s history. This represents the crux of JWA’s identity and growth as an organization,” Reimer notes.
Jewish women whose lives were transformed in that era, and who themselves transformed society, are aging – some gloriously so. Sadly, some are also dying. Along with the loss of these vibrant, brave women, material letters, notes, papers and other items that documented their experiences are also disappearing or in danger of disappearing.
The artifacts come from 74 Jewish women who have played significant roles in American and Jewish feminism. Curated by Rosenbaum, JWA Director of Education, with exhibit designer Cindy Miller, the exhibit delves into the meanings of feminism and its legacies to contemporary and future generations of Jewish women.
They have been working together on the project since May 2004. The exhibit now serves as the foundation upon which additional project components will be built to educate the public, and promote participation and dialogue concerning American feminism and feminism in the Jewish community past, present, and future.
The JWA is a national, nonprofit organization with headquarters in Brookline, MA. Its mission is to uncover, chronicle, and transmit the rich legacy of Jewish women and their contributions to the world. Since 1995, JWA has been an innovator in its use of the virtual world for academic, cultural, archival, and educational purposes
Among the women featured in the exhibit are Reform Rabbi Sally Priesand and Conservative Rabbi Amy Eilberg, the first American women to be ordained rabbis in their respective movements. Among others included are: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first Jewish woman to be named a Supreme Court Justice; Gloria Steinem, pioneering feminist activist and founder of Ms. Magazine: Blu Greenberg, pioneer in Orthodox Jewish feminism and a founder of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA); Judy Chicago, feminist artist and creator of feminist art projects including The Dinner Party; and Gerda Lerner, a pioneer in the field of women’s history and founder of the first graduate program in women’s history at Sarah Lawrence College.
A complete list of participants is below.
About Judith Rosenbaum, Ph.D, Exhibit Curator, JEWISH WOMEN AND THE FEMINIST REVOLUTION
Judith Rosenbaum, Ph.D., is Director of Education at the Jewish Women’s Archive. Rosenbaum earned a B.A. summa cum laude in History from Yale University and a Ph.D. in American Civilization, with a specialty in women’s history, from Brown University. The recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, she has taught women’s studies and Jewish studies at Brown, Boston University, Hebrew College and the Adult Learning Collaborative of Combined Jewish Philanthropies.
Contributors to JEWISH WOMEN AND THE FEMINIST REVOLUTION
Rachel Adler: feminist theologian of Judaism, author of Engendering Judaism: An Inclusive Theology and Ethics (1998), and Professor of Modern Jewish Thought and Judaism and Gender at Hebrew Union College-Los Angeles.
Joyce Antler: abortion rights activist in 1970s, Professor of American Jewish History and Culture at Brandeis University, and the author of The Journey Home: How Jewish Women Shaped Modern America (1998) and the editor of America and I: Short Stories by American Jewish Women Writers (1991). A Founding Board member of the Jewish Women’s Archive, Antler also serves as Chair of the Jewish Women’s Archive’s Academic Advisory Council.
Helene Aylon: eco-feminist artist and creator of Jewish-themed installations including “The Liberation of G-d” and “My Bridal Chamber.”
Gay Block: feminist photographer, whose projects include an exhibit on girls at summer camps, portraits of women spiritual leaders, and portraits of Holocaust rescuers.
Heather Booth: founder of the Jane underground abortion counseling service in Chicago and organizer of Women’s Radical Action Program, the first campus women’s group in the country. Booth was the founding Director and is now President of the Midwest Academy, a national center that trains leaders building citizen-based organizations.
Marla Brettschneider: feminist theorist and activist for multicultural Jewish feminism, and Associate Professor of Political Philosophy and Feminist Theory at the University of New Hampshire. She is the author of The Narrow Bridge: Jewish Views on Multiculturalism (1996).
Esther Broner: writer, lecturer, and Jewish feminist ceremonialist. Her books include A Weave of Women (1978) and The Telling (1993).
Shifra Bronznick: founding president of Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community (AWP), her work focuses on cracking the glass ceiling of Jewish communal and professional life.
Susan Brownmiller: journalist and activist on issues of feminism and violence against women, and author of Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape (1975), Femininity (1984), and In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution (1999).
Aviva Cantor: early Jewish feminist activist, co-founder of Lilith magazine (1976), and author of Jewish Women/Jewish Men The Legacy of Patriarchy in Jewish Life (1995).
Nina Beth Cardin: a Conservative rabbi and Director of Jewish Life at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore; the former editorial committee chairperson and former editor of Sh’ma: a Journal of Jewish Responsibility and author of books including Tears of Sadness, Seeds of Hope: a Jewish spiritual companion to infertility and pregnancy loss (1999).
Kim Chernin: feminist writer and psychoanalyst, author of books including In My Mother’s House (1983) and The Flame Bearers (1986).
Phyllis Chesler: feminist psychologist, co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology and the National Women’s Health Network, and author of Women and Madness (1972), among other works.
Judy Chicago: feminist artist and creator of feminist art projects including Womanhouse, The Dinner Party, and the Birth Project.
Tamara Cohen: community activist and an innovator of feminist rituals and liturgy.
Dianne Cohler-Esses: first female rabbi from the Syrian community. She is currently senior educator of the Bronfman Youth Fellowship, a member of the Skirball Institute faculty, and a member of the think tank Common Judaism.
Rachel Cowan: a Reform rabbi, former Director of the Jewish Life program at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, and a founder of the Jewish Healing Network.
Barbara Dobkin: founder of Ma’yan, The Jewish Women’s Project at the Jewish Community Center of the Upper West Side in New York City, and founding Chair of the Jewish Women’s Archive.
Ellen DuBois: feminist scholar of 19th century women’s history and Professor of History at UCLA. Her books include Unequal Sisters: A Reader in Multicultural U.S. Women’s History (1990).
Ophira Edut: Third-wave feminist activist and co-founder of HUES (Hear Us Emerging Sisters), a national magazine for young women, and author of Body Outlaws: Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body Image (2000).
Amy Eilberg: first woman ordained as a rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Rabbi Eilberg currently serves as Co-Director of the Yedidya Center for Jewish Spiritual Direction. She offers spiritual direction to individuals and groups in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Sue Levi Elwell: a Reform rabbi, Director of the Pennsylvania Council of the UAHC, and the founding director of the American Jewish Congress Feminist Center in Los Angeles.
Eve Ensler: playwright and author of The Vagina Monologues, and activist on issues of violence against women.
Marcia Falk: Jewish feminist liturgist, poet, and translator. She is the author of The Book of Blessings (1996), a bilingual re-creation of Jewish prayer in poetic forms, written from a nonhierarchical, gender-inclusive perspective.
Merle Feld: widely published Jewish feminist poet, award-winning playwright, activist, and educator who has pioneered teaching writing as a spiritual practice. Her memoir, A Spiritual Life: A Jewish Feminist Journey (2000), explores personal religious search, the life of the family, social justice work and heightening awareness in our everyday lives. She is founding director of the Rabbinic Writing Institute.
Debbie Friedman: singer, songwriter, and guitarist whose music has deeply influenced Jewish song and liturgy.
Sonia Pressman Fuentes: first female attorney in the Office of the General Counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a founder of the National Organization for Women (NOW).
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: first Jewish woman to serve as a United States Supreme Court Justice.
Maralee Gordon: Rabbi of McHenry County Jewish Congregation in Illinois, founder and editor of Lilith’s Rib and a founder of Chicago’s radical Jewish collective Chutzpah.
Sally Gottesman: founder of Kolot: The Center for Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies, and a management consultant to not-for-profit organizations. She now serves as the Founding Chair of Moving Traditions: The Jewish Gender and Lifecycle Initiative.
Lynn Gottlieb: a Jewish Renewal rabbi, storyteller, and Jewish feminist activist.
Blu Greenberg: pioneer in Orthodox Jewish feminism and a founder of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA). Her books include On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition and How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household (1981).
Gloria Greenfield: a founder of Persephone Press – a leading feminist publisher of the 1970s-80s – and coordinator of a national conference on women’s spirituality in 1976.
Rivka Haut: founder of the International Committee for Women of the Wall, and director of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance’s Agunah Advocacy Project, she a co-edited Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue (1992).
Nancy Miriam Hawley: a founder of the Boston Women’s Health Collective, the authors of Our Bodies, Ourselves.
Diana Mara Henry: feminist photojournalist who served as the unofficial photographer of Bella Abzug and the official photographer of the first National Women’s Conference held in 1977 in Houston.
Susannah Heschel: Jewish feminist activist and editor of On Being a Jewish Feminist: A Reader (1983), and the Chair of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth.
Nicole Hollander: cartoonist and creator of Sylvia, an internationally syndicated cartoon strip.
Florence Howe: A founder and emerita publisher/director of The Feminist Press at the City University of New York.
Paula Hyman: a founding member of the Jewish feminist activist group Ezrat Nashim and pioneer in Jewish women’s studies. She was the first woman to hold an academic chair in Judaic Studies and remains the Lucy Moses Professor of Jewish History at Yale. Her books include The Jewish Woman in America (1976); Gender and Assimilation in Modern Jewish History (1995); and the two-volume encyclopedia Jewish Women in America (1998).
Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz: social justice activist and Jewish poet and writer. She currently teaches in Urban Studies at Queens College. Her books include The Issue Is Power: Essays on Women, Jews, Violence, and Resistance (1992), and (co-edited) The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women’s Anthology (1986).
Evelyn Fox Keller: Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at MIT, and pioneering scholar in issues of gender and science. Her books include Secrets of Life/Secrets of Death: Essays on Language, Gender and Science (1992) and Reflections on Gender and Science (1985).
Loolwa Khazzoom: An advocate for multiculturalism within the Jewish community, and the editor of The Flying Camel: Essays on Identity by Women of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish Heritage (2003).
Clare Kinberg: A founder and managing editor of Bridges: A Journal for Jewish Feminists and Our Friends.
Francine Klagsbrun: author, editor, and columnist, who often writes and lectures on women’s issues. She was editor of the best-selling book Free To Be...You and Me (1974).
Sharon Kleinbaum: Rabbi of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, the largest Lesbian and Gay synagogue in the world.
Madeleine Kunin: the first female governor of Vermont, and former U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland.
Lori Lefkowitz: founder of Kolot: The Center for Jewish Women’s and Gender Studies and the Sadie Gottesman and Arlene Gottesman Reff Professor of Gender and Judaism at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
Gerda Lerner: A pioneer in the field of women’s history and founder of the first graduate program in women’s history, at Sarah Lawrence College.
Ann F. Lewis: Director of Communications for Senator Hillary Clinton and former Counselor to President Clinton and Director of Communications at the White House.
Belda Lindenbaum: Orthodox feminist activist and influential philanthropist.
Ruth Messinger: former Manhattan Borough President and New York City mayoral candidate, and current president of the American Jewish World Service.
Deena Metzger: a writer, teacher, and healer, and author of books including Tree: Essays and Pieces (1997) and What Dinah Thought (1999).
Cheryl Moch: a founding board member of the Jewish Feminist Organization, and a writer and playwright.
Sheryl Baron Nestel: conference coordinator for the first National Conference of Jewish Women, held in New York City in February, 1973. She now teaches in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.
Joan Nestle: writer, lesbian activist, and founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives. Her books include The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader (1992) and A Fragile Union (1998).
Marge Piercy: poet, novelist, and activist, and author of books including: Small Changes (1973), Woman on the Edge of Time (1976), He, She, and It (1991), and The Art of Blessing the Day (1999).
Judith Plaskow: feminist theologian, a founder of the B’not Esh Jewish feminist spirituality collective, and author of Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective (1990) and The Coming of Lilith: Essays on Feminism, Judaism, and Sexual Ethics 1972-2003 (2005).
Letty Cottin Pogrebin: writer, activist, and a founder of Ms. magazine. Her books include Deborah, Golda, and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America (1991) and Three Daughters (2002).
Sally Priesand: first woman to be ordained a rabbi in America. She has been spiritual leader of Monmouth Reform Temple in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, since 1981.
Joan Roth: photographer whose images depict a powerful and unique portrait of Jewish women worldwide. Her published books include Jewish Women: A World of Tradition and Change (1995) and The Jews of Ethiopia: Last Days of an Ancient Community – A Photo Journey (2004).
Susan Weidman Schneider: a founder and editor of Lilith Magazine, and author of Jewish and Female: Choices and Changes in our Lives Today (1984).
Barbara Seaman: women’s health activist and journalist, a founder of the National Women’s Health Network, and author of books including The Doctor’s Case Against the Pill (1969) and The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women: Exploding the Estrogen Myth (2003).
Lynn Sherr: news correspondent and investigative reporter, specializing in women’s issues and social change. Her books include Susan B. Anthony Slept Here: A Guide to American Women’s Landmarks (co-author, 1994) and Failure is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words (1996).
Alix Kates Shulman: feminist writer and activist, and author of books including Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen (1969) and Burning Questions (1979).
Joan Snyder: feminist painter, first known for her series of “Stroke” paintings completed in the 1970s. These were included in the Whitney Museum 1973 Biennial and the Corcoran Gallery 1975 Biennial, and were the basis of her first solo shows in New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
Marcia Cohn Spiegel: author and community activist who works to create change in the attitudes of the Jewish Community towards addiction, violence, and sexual abuse.
Gloria Steinem: pioneering feminist activist, spokesperson, and writer, and a founder of Ms. magazine. Her books include Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983) and Revolution from Within:A Book of Self-Esteem (1992).
Catherine Steiner-Adair: a clinical and consulting psychologist; Director of Education and Prevention at the Klarman Eating Disorders Center at McLean Hospital, and former director of education, prevention, and outreach at the Harvard Eating Disorders Center.
Meredith Tax: writer and activist and author of books including Rivington Street (1982), and The Rising of the Women: Feminist Solidarity and Class Conflict, 1880-191I (1980).
Savina Teubal: a biblical scholar and founding president of Sarah’s Tent: Sheltering Creative Jewish Spirituality; she created Simchat Hochmah, a Jewish eldering ceremony. Her books include Sarah the Priestess: the First Matriarch of Genesis (1984).
Nina Totenberg: legal correspondent for National Public Radio.
Ruth Weisberg: visual artist and Dean of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California, and the artist for the Central Conference of American Rabbi’s (the Reform Movement) new Haggadah.
Naomi Weisstein: a founder of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union, the Chicago Women’s Liberation Rock Band, and American Women in Psychology, and psychology researcher and author of the groundbreaking article “Kinder, Kuche, Kirche as Scientific Law, or Psychology Constructs the Female” (1968).