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Columbia University

Empowerment 101

Throughout my life the word “feminist” has come to take on many meanings. It’s a word I’ve both heard and used infinite times growing up in the heart of one of New York City’s most politically liberal neighborhoods. Now, the very word “feminism” is one that brings gratification. However, by the time I reached the ever-menacing years of high school, I knew that the sense of affinity that came with the word “feminist” was not shared by the general whole of the New York high school students. 

Kathryn Wasserman Davis, 1907 - 2013

Having skied into her 80s, played tennis into her 90s, and kayaked, swum, painted, traveled and taken on all comers at croquet until this year, Kathryn Wasserman Davis remained a wonder and inspiration to those around her. Recently asked by one of her great-grandchildren to name her favorite day, she instantly replied, “Tomorrow.”

Paula Hyman, 1946 - 2011

 Despite talking on occasion about death, and Paula telling me that rarely did a day go by that she did not think about her own mortality, like most people I preferred to imagine that we all would live forever, or at least long enough.

Paula crammed so much life and accomplishments into her 65 years. She tasted many pleasures, including some—like grandchildren—she had not assumed that she would experience.

Jenny Slate

Jenny Slate has refused to be pigeonholed in her comedy, from the controversial film Obvious Child to the quirky YouTube series Marcel the Shell.

Sharon Brous

Sharon Brous founded IKAR (essence), a community blending innovative spirituality and strong social justice values to reengage disaffected Jews.

Jill Jacobs

Jill Jacobs, the executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, has pushed for Jews to take an active role in social justice, from supporting health care and environmental reform to condemning torture and human rights violations.

Alexandra Fine

Using crowdfunding and cutting-edge technology, Alexandra Fine helped create the first successful hands-free couples’ vibrator in 2014 to overcome the difficulties women face in achieving orgasm during sex.

Anya Cherneff

A longtime opponent of human trafficking, Anya Cherneff found a new way to literally empower women in Nepal by founding Empower Generation to teach women and girls to become clean energy entrepreneurs.

Danielle Butin

Danielle Butin created the Afya Foundation to bring much-needed medical supplies to crisis-stricken communities, providing aid after the 2010 Haitian earthquake, the 2011 Japanese tsunami, 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, and the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.

Sivan Borowich-Ya'ari

Using Israeli innovations in solar technology, Sivan Borowich-Ya’ari created Innovation: Africa to bring more reliable electricity to developing communities throughout Africa.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Columbia University." (Viewed on July 30, 2016) <http://jwa.org/tags/columbia-university>.

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