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Jewish Women, Amplified

  • Loving Judith
  • My Mom Used To Say...
  • Ordering Coffee in Tel Aviv
  • RVF Responds to Pittsburgh
  • "Judith Slaying Holofernes" by Artemisia Gentileschi, circa 1614-20 (cropped).

    Loving Judith

    Gentileschi’s rendition of Judith is a self-portrait—allowing her to wield a sword and take revenge, if only in fantasy. Judith Slaying Holofernes was the first piece of feminist art that really moved me. Even now, I get chills when I view it. I thought a lot about Judith this week, after dusting off my menorah and dutifully buying candles and gelt.

  • Ruth Zakarin and her mother crop

    My Mom Used To Say...

    It was her go-to statement whenever she was cajoling me into doing something she considered a mitzvah, especially when I wasn’t exactly jumping at the opportunity. She would look at me with that, you know, mom look, and say, “Do good things and tell people you’re Jewish.”

  • Caitlin Wolper Cover Crop

    Ordering Coffee in Tel Aviv

    Caitlin Wolper’s first poetry collection, Ordering Coffee in Tel Aviv, is a powerful account of a young Jewish woman’s first trip to Israel. In this chapbook, Wolper powerfully grapples with themes of gender, identity, and “the leash of Israel’s legacy.” Exclusively for JWA, Wolper reflects on her inspiration and creative process for two selected poems.

  • Memorial at Tree of Life Synagogue

    Rising Voices Fellows Respond to Pittsburgh

    In the wake of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting, the 2018-2019 Rising Voices Fellows came together to reflect, respond, and call people to action. In these pieces you will find connection, sadness, outrage, courage, and compassion. You will find the strength of today’s teens who are growing up in an age of so much senseless gun violence.

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Let’s Talk about the C-Word

While I can understand why some feminists want to reclaim this word, I personally believe it’s one of the vilest things you can say to or about someone. It’s indicative of our society’s contempt and disgust for the female sex.

Topics: Feminism
"Judith Slaying Holofernes" by Artemisia Gentileschi, circa 1614-20 (cropped).

Loving Judith

Gentileschi’s rendition of Judith is a self-portrait—allowing her to wield a sword and take revenge, if only in fantasy. Judith Slaying Holofernes was the first piece of feminist art that really moved me. Even now, I get chills when I view it. I thought a lot about Judith this week, after dusting off my menorah and dutifully buying candles and gelt.

Ruth Zakarin and her mother crop

My Mom Used To Say...

It was her go-to statement whenever she was cajoling me into doing something she considered a mitzvah, especially when I wasn’t exactly jumping at the opportunity. She would look at me with that, you know, mom look, and say, “Do good things and tell people you’re Jewish.”

Emily Axelrod at L'Taken

Stirred and Spurred to Action

Judaism never seemed to offer anything that stoked my social justice fire. I didn’t hear many calls to action in services; partly because I wasn’t looking, and partly because services felt mundane to me.

Caitlin Wolper Cover Crop

Ordering Coffee in Tel Aviv

Caitlin Wolper’s first poetry collection, Ordering Coffee in Tel Aviv, is a powerful account of a young Jewish woman’s first trip to Israel. In this chapbook, Wolper powerfully grapples with themes of gender, identity, and “the leash of Israel’s legacy.” Exclusively for JWA, Wolper reflects on her inspiration and creative process for two selected poems.

Topics: Poetry
Hannah Downing's Extended Family

Photographic Memory

I never paid much attention to our history when I was younger. I felt very disconnected from my Jewish past, as I had little grasp of what the Holocaust really was and what it meant to be Jewish, especially growing up in an area with few Jews.

Memorial at Tree of Life Synagogue

Rising Voices Fellows Respond to Pittsburgh

In the wake of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting, the 2018-2019 Rising Voices Fellows came together to reflect, respond, and call people to action. In these pieces you will find connection, sadness, outrage, courage, and compassion. You will find the strength of today’s teens who are growing up in an age of so much senseless gun violence.

The Personal is Political

Politically Personal: Personally Political

To me, being a feminist means working to achieve equity for all members of society, confronting personal bias, alleviating institutional sexism, and prompting others to do the same. There are so many ways feminism manifests itself in my life, but until freshman English class, I didn’t even think to consider one of the most significant ways that I’m involved in political feminism.

Topics: Feminism, Schools
Abbi Jacobson / I Might Regret This

You Won't Regret This

During the summer of 2017, after filming the fourth season of Broad City, Abbi Jacobson embarked on a three-week solo road trip across the country. On the road, she listened to music, took photos, kept notes, and visited parts of the United States that, believe it or not, are good for more than just flying over. Out of these odds and ends, I Might Regret This was born.

Topics: Memoirs
Anti-Semitic Graffiti

May the Faith Be With You

Because I didn’t have support, because I felt alone, I didn’t confront my teacher about his words that day or about the lack of Holocaust education. I didn’t take a stand, either, when I found the words “JEW HUNTER” scrawled on the leg of a desk. Nor did I speak up when I found the same horrifying phrase on a different desk a few weeks later.

Ruby Russell at the Kotel

Am I Welcome at the Wall?

The first time I visited the Kotel (Western Wall), I cried. I know, this is nothing unusual. This historic place often invokes intense spiritual connection or deep reflection from its visitors, moving them to tears. I was certainly overcome by emotion, but for a completely different set of reasons.

Judith and daughter at the 2017 Women’s March in Cambridge

Ten Thoughts About Antisemitism and the Women’s March

Judith Rosenbaum, Executive Director of JWA, shares her thoughts on the Women's March leaders and their associations with Louis Farrakhan. She writes, "I don’t have any easy or solid answers, but here are 10 brief thoughts to add to the conversation."

Justine's Babka

Baking Babka, Taking in Tragedy

My pocket buzzes again. “Did you not see the news?” I feel my entire body tense, my fingers shaking as I struggle to open Twitter. In a moment, I am inundated—11 dead, maybe more.

When I wake up, I decide to make a babka.

Zioness Movement

Don’t Fence Me In

I feel proud of my Jewish and feminist beliefs as separate and intersecting parts of my identity and yet, especially after what happened at the march, I shy away from labeling myself a “Zionist.” Maybe it’s because I’m really not a Zionist, or maybe it’s because I’m afraid of the consequences that come with such a label.

Topics: Feminism, Israel
Mirabel Sandler at her Bat Mitzvah

My Big Fat Feminist Bat Mitzvah

The very idea that I would have to proudly chant and accept this story, this version of Judaism that so obviously conflicted with my feminist sensibility, forced me to question my Jewish identity in a very real way, and for the first time.

Lydia Kertz's Family 1930s Cropped

A Refugee Tale

I have told myself that these strangers, whose microaggressions have plagued me for years, do not deserve my life story. It is usually strangers who demand it, who scrutinize my accent, singling me out as someone who does not belong in the only country that has granted me citizenship. I am an American, and I am a refugee.

Topics: Immigration
Lila Zinner at Consecration

Growing Up Jewish

I made the decision to continue Hebrew school after seventh grade when my friends informed me that they signed up because it “sounded fun.” That decision, although not well thought out, was one of the best choices I’ve ever made.

Peaches in Seattle

Playlist: Jewish Ladies Who Rock

Allow the comfortingly familiar piano chords of track one, Vanessa Carlton’s certified jam “A Thousand Miles,” to transport you. Whether you’re “making your way downtown, walking fast,” or just “lying here,” there’s a song in this playlist for everyone.

Naomi Bethune Wearing Grandmother's Ring

La Rosa

When I think of something that represents my Jewish and female identity, I often go to a ring that my grandmother, who I call my abuela, gifted me. It had belonged to her before, and I had always admired it whenever she wore it.

Migrants from South America 2018

The Land of the Living

I want to be in a world where all those around me get to not just exist, but fully live. I want to raise my children in an environment that allows folks to breathe deeply, function without fear, and be who they truly are. But it takes more than just wanting.

Phoebe Chapnick-Sorokin and Family at Disneyland

Leaving My Liberal Bubble

Because of my upbringing, the gender separation at my cousin Zoe’s bat mitzvah came to me as a shock. Why couldn’t I stand with my dad and all my male cousins? Why wasn’t Zoe reading Torah like all the other girls I knew did at their bat mitzvah services?

Memorial outside Tree of Life Synagogue

A Rabbi Revisits Terror: Reflections on Pittsburgh

Despite the despair that comes easily these days, we must continue to believe that change is possible and that we have the responsibility to bring it about. Thankfully, we find ourselves at a moment when there is one obvious way to exercise this responsibility—in these final days of the election season, we must dedicate ourselves to getting out the vote.

Promotional Poster for Wonder Woman

The Wonder of Representation

Watching Patty Jenkins’s 2017 film Wonder Woman was nothing short of a transformative experience. It was a victory, glorious and all-consuming, and it was my victory. I was the hero. And as I sat in that theater, tongue dry with over-buttered popcorn and stale air, I cried.

Topics: Film
Western Wall

Looking at the Kotel Through a Feminist Lens

I remember being four years old and writing notes to God to put into the fake Kotel we had constructed at my preschool. It was about three feet tall and made out of colorful building blocks, but to me, that was as good as it got.

Trans Jews Belong Here

Community Worth Fighting For

And then it hit me: I could change my Jewish community. I wasn’t going to be silent anymore about the ways my Jewish community was failing me; I had already done that for nineteen years.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women, Amplified." (Viewed on December 9, 2018) <https://jwa.org/blog>.

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4 hr
, Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" topped the charts. I am 💪 I am ✊ I am 🚺 https://t.co/gAEu9yMDdJ
8 hr
So proud to see , , and more on this awesome list honoring activists, art… https://t.co/yDIyrEOg1N
22 hr
“I thought it a miracle that I, the granddaughter of Raphael the Russian, born to a humble destiny, should be at ho… https://t.co/EVg0k6i61L