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I Don’t Wrap Tefillin But I Like That I Could

I don’t like praying on the women’s side of the divider. I’ve only done so once but once was enough. 

Ritualizing Riot Grrrl

In a religion that can seem inaccessible to those who aren’t cis men, it’s hard to be observant when you feel as if no one gives a crap about you. Over the course of my life, I have experienced exclusion by the wider Jewish community for various aspects of my identity and ideologies. Rather than turn away from Judaism, a religion and culture that is an intrinsic part of who I am, I made the active choice to reshape it into a Judaism that reflects my feminist and activist values. I chose to redefine my Judaism rather than give it up—that would have been too easy. Plus, now I get to freak people out with the sheer force of my GRRRL POWER.

Open Eyes at the Western Wall

My parents met at JTS. Both are committed feminists, and passionately observant Jews. As a young child, feminism and Judaism came easily to me; they were so natural that although I went through the motions of Judaism, and always believed in equality between the genders, I wasn’t particularly passionate about either one. I just knew them to be inherent truths in my life.

Raising My Hand

At sixteen years old, I’m entering that phase of my life in which I have to state my personal qualities fairly often, whether in a personal essay for school or in a conversation at a Yom Kippur break-fast. Depending on whom I am speaking to, my answer varies, but it almost always includes a few basic attributes: I am a reader, a writer, an athlete … and I’m a feminist Jew.

Icons for the New Year: Maud Nathan

In Maud Nathan’s second life as an activist, she became president of the New York Consumers League, vice president of the Woman’s Municipal League of New York, and chair of the industrial committee of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. Her husband, once her companion at parties and fundraisers, began marching beside her at suffrage parades.

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.

Tamar Eshel

A lifelong diplomat with a strong record of defending women’s rights and human rights, Tamar Eshel capped her career with two terms as a member of the Knesset from 1977–1984.

Ruth Dreifuss

In Switzerland, where women did not get the right to vote until 1971, Ruth Dreifuss made history when she became the country’s first woman president in 1999.

Gusta Dawidson Draenger

Defiant to the end, Gusta Dawidson Draenger wrote Justina’s Diary, her account of the partisan struggles against the Nazis, on toilet paper in a Gestapo prison and inspired others to persevere when all hope seemed lost.

Kindness Wins: An Interview with Galit Breen

Galit Breen is a writer who works to combat body-shaming and create safe conversation spaces on the Internet. We chatted about cyberbullying, her new book, and how Judaism informs her activism. 


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Activism." (Viewed on October 10, 2015) <>.


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