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Jewesses with Attitude

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Sally Mack and Rosika Schwimmer

The Women Who Fought for Pacifism

On November 1, 1961, 50,000 women in 60 cities across the United States walked out of their jobs and homes to protest nuclear proliferation. With the slogan “End the Arms Race, not the Human Race,” they communicated their many fears about nuclear war including the threat of irradiated breast milk poisoning their children.

Topics: Activism
Emma Stone

The 21st Century Scarlet Letter: A Look at How the High School Rumor Mill Affects Teenage Sexuality

I was a sophomore when I first stumbled across Easy A on my Netflix browser one lonely Friday night. The green poster, exclaiming in bold lettering, “Let’s Not and Say We Did,” was the first thing to pop up under the “Top Picks For Hannah” banner. It instantly grabbed my attention. Intrigued, I clicked play. 

Topics: Schools, Film, Fiction
Rising Voices Fellow Aliza Abusch-Magder

Radical Feminist Idea: Independent Identity

Her struggles are relatable, and her story is compelling, giving hope that we too can break free from the patriarchy. By talking about her life with such brutal honesty, Liz Gilbert provides a cautionary tale for women about what happens when we define ourselves by our relationships with men. 

Jojo Schwartz Jacobson with Rabbi Rabbi Suzie Schwartz Jacobson

Reimagining ‘Rebbetzin’: On Being a Feminist Rabbinic Partner

This post is a part of the series Reimagining ‘Rabbi’, in which writers reflect on clips from our newly launched online exhibit showcasing women rabbis, and the impact that 45 years of women serving in the modern rabbinate has had on the Jewish world. In this piece, JoJo Schwartz Jacobson, who is married to a congregational Rabbi, responds to this clip:

Topics: Rabbis
The Beautiful Possible Book Cover

The Beautiful Possible: An Interview with Amy Gottlieb

In The Beautiful Possible, Amy Gottlieb traces the lives of rabbis and spiritual seekers who are connected in an intricate web of love and secrets, following them from the ashrams of India to the suburbs of 1950s America. JWA sat down with Gottlieb to discuss how she came to write her first novel, the influence of poetry, and how characters can surprise you.

Topics: Fiction
Activist Linda Sarsour

Are Feminism and Zionism Incompatible? Read Up On the Debate

If you spend any time following hot-button feminist issues on Twitter, you've probably seen the recent debates over whether feminism is incompatible with Zionism. This conversation—or, perhaps, conflagration would be a better word—erupted earlier this month when an op-ed by Bustle editor Emily Shire appeared in the New York Times. Shire questioned whether there was space for Zionists like herself in the International Women's Day Strike, since strike leaders had listed the decolonization of Palestine as one of their platforms.

Topics: Feminism
Penelope and the Suitors

Penelope’s Feminist Odyssey

Throughout The Odyssey, Penelope, Odysseus' wife, is characterized as constant, virtuous, and patient. She’s seen as the epitome of faithful wifeliness for her refusal to marry a suitor and for her belief that Odysseus will return. Her character is two-dimensional and, for the most part, irrelevant to Odysseus' escapades. 

Kubzansky Family Portrait

President Trump's Proposed Budget and The Loss of American Potential

In my journal is a piece of paper that’s older than I am. I’ve been carrying it around for some time and reading it at almost every available opportunity, though at this point, I know it almost by heart.

Logo for The Bachelor

Is "The Bachelor" Here for the Right Reasons?

It’s late Monday evening. I’m snuggled up on the couch in my living room, popcorn rapidly flying into my mouth. My eyes are glued to the TV screen in front of me. I can’t look away from the scene of a handful of girls and one guy bouncing around the beach on some exotic island. It’s Bachelor time.

Topics: Television
Emma Goldman Mug Shot, 1901

Every Emma Needs Her Sidekick

This Women’s History Month, the Jewish Women’s Archive is celebrating the thousands of Jewish women who have participated in activism and resistance in the United States. We all know the names of the most famous women who shaped these movements, from Gloria Steinem to Emma Goldman: the women with the megaphones, with the loud voices and stirring speeches, the women whose names made it into the history books. But one person alone can never make a movement.

Topics: History
Mrs. Sidney Allen

The Challenge of Identification in Archives

This article is part of the series From the Archives. From the Archives highlights primary sources that have changed the course of history, for an individual, a community, or the world.

Denise Eger Reading Torah

Discovering a Feminine Rabbinic Look

This post is a part of the series Reimagining ‘Rabbi’, in which writers reflect on clips from our newly launched online exhibit showcasing women rabbis, and the impact that 45 years of women serving in the modern rabbinate has had on the Jewish world.. In this piece, rabbinical student Alex Weissman responds to this clip:

Topics: Rabbis
Pro-Life Marchers

Why Pro-Life Women Have No Place in the Feminist Movement

Several weeks ago, the New York Times published an op-ed by one Lauren Enriquez, public relations manager at the Human Coalition, an organization whose website refers to legalized abortion as “the worst holocaust in human history” (which: really?). In her article, Enriquez took umbrage with the Women's March organizers' refusal to ally with pro-life feminist groups.

Cast of Orange is the New Black

The Truth Behind Orange Is the New Black

Even though the series successfully portrays many failures of prisons, the show occasionally misrepresents the hardships people face. OITNB may have its viewers talking about feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, and so much more, but the series needs some work when it comes to elevating the voices of less privileged women and portraying the abuse they face.

Topics: Television
Fania Mindell and Joyce Antler, Composite Photo

The Translators and Spies of the Reproductive Rights Movement

This Women’s History Month, the Jewish Women’s Archive is celebrating the thousands of Jewish women who have participated in activism and resistance in the United States. We all know the names of the most famous women who shaped these movements, from Gloria Steinem to Emma Goldman: the women with the megaphones, with the loud voices and stirring speeches, the women whose names made it into the history books. But one person alone can never make a movement.

Pussy Hat New Yorker Cover

Grabbing Back the Pussy: An Interview with Jayna Zweiman on the Pussy Hat Movement

In less than six months, pink pussy hats have taken over America. If you’ve never seen one, you’ve probably been living under a rock since the election (not that I could blame you). These hats—knitted or crocheted from pink yarn, with two iconic points—are a staple of today’s marches and protests, worn by hundreds of thousands of women to protest a president whose blatant misogyny would be laughable if it weren’t so terrifying.

But where did these hats come from? It turns out that they’re the creation of three Los Angeles women: Jayna Zweiman, Krista Suh, and Kat Coyle. The Jewish Women’s Archive talked to Zweiman to get the story.

Topics: Feminism
Disney's Zootopia

Zootopia: An Empowering, Feminist Tail

Zootopia actively addresses the struggles associated with being a woman in a modern, though patriarchal, society. Let’s just say, this isn’t your grandmother’s Disney movie (but maybe she would like it). 

Topics: Feminism, Film
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Jewish-American Witches

Despite my positive feelings about them, I was disappointed that Tina and Queenie didn’t acknowledge their Jewishness, that the movie left this part of their identity ambiguous. Sometimes it’s fun as a Jewish viewer to get winks that fictional characters may be members of the tribe. The hints of Judaism in Fantastic Beasts, like Tina’s middle name being Esther and a glimpse of a challah, made me smile. But since having two Jewish women starring in such a global, mainstream fantasy film would be monumental, I wished that Tina and Queenie had claimed their heritage proudly like I do.

Topics: Film, Judaism, Fiction
Melbourne in the 1920s

Find Me More Like Miss Fisher

This show isn’t something you can find on most American TV, or on TV, period. I normally have to unplug my feminist brain when I settle down to consume media. Otherwise there’s just too much to get angry over: the one-dimensional female characters, the unrealistic beauty standards, the male gaze of it all. But when Netflix gently pushed me towards Miss Fisher last year, I found that I didn’t have to be upset all the time. 

Invitation to Fancy Dress Ball, Purim Association of New York City, 1881

On Purim and Women Teachers of Text

The holiday of Purim, whose observance centers around the public chanting of the Book of Esther, is a yearly opportunity to reflect on women in the Jewish textual tradition, and women’s relationship to this tradition. A woman, after all, has top billing as one of the story’s two heroes, a true rarity within the Bible. With courage and humility, Esther skillfully maneuvers the nuances of her socio-political context to save her people. The story is riveting and her role is prominent.

Topics: Purim
Fearless Girl Statue on Wall Street

Let's Not Forget the Real Fearless Girls

At best, the statue is a bland, banal monument to the kind of white feminism that deifies the needs of upper and middle-class women who harbor corporate ambitions. At worst, it's an advertisement, the kind of commodified feminism that gives the whole movement a bad name and erases its working-class origins.

Topics: Feminism
Labor Demonstration, 1915

A Day Without A Woman Isn't Just For the Privileged

There was a particularly puzzling perspective floating around the Internet leading up to today’s A Day Without a Woman. It showed up as a question on our social media sites; in a widely shared article in the LA Times; and in another widely shared article in Quartz.

Clara Lemlich in a Shirtwaist, circa 1910

Writing a Revolutionary

Authors are often asked about the inspiration behind their books. Usually, that question is a tricky one to answer. But in the case of my historical novel for young adults, Audacity, it’s easy. The life of labor activist Clara Lemlich was all the inspiration I needed.

Topics: Labor, Poetry
The Disney Princesses

The Disney Princess Phenomenon

From an early age, I learned that diversity in mainstream media was seriously lacking. I grew up in an era when mainstream media was mostly dominated by white, heterosexual people. One example of this is the Disney princesses

Pauline Newman and Josephine Goldmark

The Organizers and Researchers of the Labor Movement

This Women’s History Month, the Jewish Women’s Archive is celebrating the thousands of Jewish women who have participated in activism and resistance in the United States. We all know the names of the most famous women who shaped these movements, from Gloria Steinem to Emma Goldman: the women with the megaphones, with the loud voices and stirring speeches, the women whose names made it into the history books. But one person alone can never make a movement.

Topics: Labor

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blog." (Viewed on March 29, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog>.

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46 min
Tired of reading about the monsters of WW2? Check out this book about the female Polish resistors who saved lives. https://t.co/YABYrFQEpL
1 hour
Yes! We're starting to tell girls they can be "tomboys," but also need to tell boys that they can like "girl stuff." https://t.co/TXAa3qLpA0
2 hr
It's sad that these are "remarkably progressive views," but, there you go. https://t.co/Csz4Ysym73