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Spirituality and Religious Life

Finding My Place

When the second half of 8th grade arrived, I was faced with what my 13-year old self believed was the most important decision I would ever have to make in my entire life. I had to choose a youth group to join. Even though Denver has fewer options than most cities, I was still overwhelmed by my choices. 

B'nai Jacob Synagogue

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View over the mechitza (divider between men and women) from the women's balcony of the B'nai Jacob Synagogue (Ottumwa, Iowa).
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View over the mechitza (divider between men and women) from the women's balcony of the B'nai Jacob Synagogue (Ottumwa, Iowa).

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Jill Hammer

Jill Hammer co-founded the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute to offer women alternative ways of connecting with Jewish tradition by focusing on the sacredness of the body and the earth.

Can Jewish Pluralism Be Salvaged?

Every Thursday, the Jewish Standard, a community newspaper catered to the diverse North Jersey and Rockland County Jewish populations, is delivered to my house just in time for Shabbat. When I was younger, I used to look forward to its arrival. I would straighten out the pages and perch on the couch like the adults I saw on television, immersing myself in the cultural happenings of my local Jewish community. 

Deborah Brin

Deborah Brin, one of the first openly gay rabbis, led the first prayer service for Women of the Wall at the Conference for the Empowerment of Jewish Women in 1988.

Pam Grossman

By curating stock photos of women in settings from construction sites to the boardroom, Pam Grossman has helped Getty Images change the perception of women in the media.

The Music In Us All

I grew up singing. My family sang songs every holiday, and we even listened to fun Jewish family songs in the car. My favorite part of Hebrew School every week was when we got to sing, and I looked forward to coming home and serenading my parents with the latest song that I had learned. 

Ruth Fredman Cernea

While she spent her career studying Jewish communities from Washington, DC to Myanmar, Ruth Fredman Cernea may be best known for her part in creating the annual Latke Hamantash Debate at the University of Chicago.

May You Be Blessed In All That You Are

Each Shabbat my parents bless me with the words, “Be who you are and may you be blessed in all that you are.” These words have been embedded in my mind as my family’s traditional blessing, signifying the start of Shabbat.  While other families bless their children saying, “May God make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah,” this alternative prayer has been our way of welcoming the Sabbath for as long as I can remember. 

Marcia Falk

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Marcia Falk.
Photograph by Stephen Damon, courtesy of Marcia Falk.
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Public Domain

Marcia Falk.

Photograph by Stephen Damon, courtesy of Marcia Falk.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Spirituality and Religious Life." (Viewed on May 3, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/spirituality-and-religious-life>.

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