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Jewish Women, Amplified

  • Forever Letters
  • Women of Character
  • Me Too
  • A Dance on the Bimah
  • Rabbi Elana Zaiman and Forever Letter Composite

    Writing Forever Letters with Rabbi Elana Zaiman

    Elana Zaiman was the first woman rabbi in a family chain of rabbis spanning six generations. Growing up in a traditional Conservative synagogue where women were not allowed to read from the Torah, Rabbi Zaiman’s decision to become a rabbi and forward a new iteration of her family’s legacy made her a pioneer in her family history.

  • Abby Shevitz, 2004

    Women of Character

    It is a truth that should be universally acknowledged: women are amazing, strong, brave, and resilient. I do not know a single woman who has not had to relive moments of sexual harassment and assault this week, whether they shared their story on social media with #MeToo or spoke privately with friends. As the feminist satire site Reductress succinctly phrased it, women are posting so that men will “learn how to be human beings.”

  • Mitali Holding a Femininjas Sign (cropped)

    To Men Questioning #MeToo

    I want you to see how freaking brave these folks are for coming forward, and I want you to realize that we're doing it *for your sake*, to help *you* see the magnitude of this problem. We are already plenty aware.

  • Woman Reading Torah

    A Dance on the Bimah

    I sensed some apprehension in the sanctuary as we settled into our seats for Rosh Hashanah services. The congregation was experiencing a first: a woman was leading the clergy for the first time in congregational history. Joining her on the bimah was our second rabbi, also a woman. I knew there were some in the congregation who wondered what it would be like to begin this new year without male leadership at the top.

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Rabbi Elana Zaiman and Forever Letter Composite

Writing Forever Letters with Rabbi Elana Zaiman

Elana Zaiman was the first woman rabbi in a family chain of rabbis spanning six generations. Growing up in a traditional Conservative synagogue where women were not allowed to read from the Torah, Rabbi Zaiman’s decision to become a rabbi and forward a new iteration of her family’s legacy made her a pioneer in her family history.

Topics: Rabbis
Abby Shevitz, 2004

Women of Character

It is a truth that should be universally acknowledged: women are amazing, strong, brave, and resilient. I do not know a single woman who has not had to relive moments of sexual harassment and assault this week, whether they shared their story on social media with #MeToo or spoke privately with friends. As the feminist satire site Reductress succinctly phrased it, women are posting so that men will “learn how to be human beings.”

Mitali Holding a Femininjas Sign (cropped)

To Men Questioning #MeToo

I want you to see how freaking brave these folks are for coming forward, and I want you to realize that we're doing it *for your sake*, to help *you* see the magnitude of this problem. We are already plenty aware.

Woman Reading Torah

A Dance on the Bimah

I sensed some apprehension in the sanctuary as we settled into our seats for Rosh Hashanah services. The congregation was experiencing a first: a woman was leading the clergy for the first time in congregational history. Joining her on the bimah was our second rabbi, also a woman. I knew there were some in the congregation who wondered what it would be like to begin this new year without male leadership at the top.

Final Stuffed Pepper Photo

Sukkot Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed foods are traditional for Sukkot, and represent a time of plenty. This immediately made me want to tackle a stuffed pepper situation. Stuffed peppers are great because it allows you to basically put together all your favorite vegetables in unusually fancy packaging.

Topics: Recipes, Sukkot
Sukkot Harvest

A Bicultural Jew Gives Thanks on Sukkot

So, my journey from New York to Texas has resulted in my viewing myself as a bicultural Jew: I have had the luxury and privilege of taking Jewishness for granted and I also know the depths of Jewish illiteracy and intolerance that plague parts of the country and some institutions of higher education.

Betsy Devos, Offical Portrait

Betsy Devos and the Stacked Deck

Maybe the Obama-era policies needed improvement. But DeVos’ new policy is built on the lie that men’s and women’s lived experiences and testimony are seen as equal in the eyes of society.

Tova and The Book of Separation

Tova Mirvis’ Journey from Orthodoxy to Memoir

Tova Mirvis is the author of the recently released The Book of Separation, a memoir chronicling her growing doubts about her Orthodox faith and her ultimate decision to leave after forty years in the community.

Rosh Hashanah Marge Piercy

The Birthday of the World

As we say goodbye to 5777 and come together at the start of 5778, Marge Piercy’s poem “The Birthday of the World” has been resonating through the halls of JWA. Like Piercy, we’re asking ourselves: How have we worked to make change this past year? What have we dared? What will we do in the coming year to further justice, to speak out and take a stand?

Plated Spaghetti Squash

Rosh Hashanah Spaghetti Squash

It’s been a tough year, and 5777 perhaps didn’t bring with it all the promise and renewal we thought it would. I hope that, in this new year, we all have opportunities for positive change and growth. May we also have the strength and opportunity to create change in the world at large.

Dimona Twist Movie Poster

A Review of Dimona Twist

Upon arriving at the theater, I realize quickly that I am the youngest person in attendance by decades.This night of the film festival is titled “An Evening of Empowering Sephardi Women,” and I’m here to see Dimona Twist, an Israeli film created by documentarian Michal Aviad. Dimona Twist recounts the history of North African and Eastern European immigrants to Dimona, a development town in Southern Israel, told through individual stories of seven women.

Topics: Israel, Film
Susan Goodman Headshot

Acting Our Age with Susan Goodman

While her life’s work is a testament to her commitment to helping people grow older with dignity, respect, and independence, Susan Goodman’s latest project is remarkable in both its scope and specificity. Currently, in order to be interviewed on Susan’s blog Acting Our Age, you must be a woman 85 or older.

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Maya Jodidio Pipetting DNA into a Gel

To Girls Taking Their First STEM Classes

If you’re a female-identifying teen and you attend high school, chances are good that you take, or will take, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) class. Physics, biology, and chemistry are the usual suspects. We’re writing to share some collective wisdom with you from our own high-school experience.
Young and Feminist Cover

Young and Feminist

Abby Richmond has published four books, written for various publications, donated over $5,000 to nonprofits, and led a grassroots campaign for Hillary Clinton. Oh, and she’s seventeen.

Topics: Feminism, Schools
Abigail Pogrebin (Media Object Resized)

Abigail Pogrebin On Her Jewish Year

Abigail Pogrebin was Jewish, but not that Jewish. That is, like many Jews she knew, she expressed her religion more through culture than through traditional practice. A few years ago, Pogrebin started wondering whether she was missing out on something important and decided to find out by celebrating eighteen Jewish holidays in twelve months.

Books Stock Photo

In Charlottesville’s Wake, Avoiding the “Ivory Tower”

Here is how I will respond to the horrors of Charlottesville as a student activist. Discussion is great, activism (in this case) is better.
Composite of At The Well Logo and Sarah Waxman

At The Well with Sarah Waxman

Menstruation: A little over half of all bodies do it, have done it, or will one day be doing it, and yet we are encouraged to not be curious about this physical process that literally makes life possible. At The Well (ATW), a Jewish women's wellness nonprofit, is seeking to bridge that artificial (and patriarchally imposed) gap between women, their bodies, and spirituality.

Women's Equality Day Composite Photo

Three Thought Leaders Reflect on Women’s Equality Day in 2017

This Women’s Equality Day, we asked three Jewish feminist thought leaders to reflect on this moment in history, to help us better understand where we are, where we need to go, and how we can pick up the mantle, again, from the suffragists and Bella Abzug, and keep marching.

Topics: Feminism
Emma Goldman Sign

On More Perfect Unions

We have always been this bad. And we have always been better than this. Grappling with this contradiction has always been hard for us as American Jews, sometimes able to “pass” or be folded into the comforts of white privilege, sometimes abruptly and painfully othered

Kesha Praying

The Anthem I Needed

Amidst all the glitter and alcohol, I knew Kesha was an actual talent. A friend directed me toward an NPR interview in which she talked about her deep love of Bob Dylan, the fact that she does most of her own songwriting, and her deeply artistic spirit. I was smitten.

Bella Abzug at a Women Strike for Peace Protest

#JWAmegaphone: Voices of Power and Protest

At JWA, we believe that history is not only about the past; it is about the present. The events of the past year have made us more keenly aware than ever that we’re living through history in the making. And not just witnessing it—we are part of it, makers of history with each action we take.

Indecent Chat

Indecent Says Goodbye

Indecent, the play about the scandal-causing early twentieth-century Yiddish play The God of Vengeance, closed this past weekend. Originally scheduled to close in June, an outpouring of support allowed this play about Sholem Asch’s incendiary work (which featured the first onstage lesbian kiss in Broadway history) to stay open until the beginning of August.

"The Liberation of G-D Proclamation," by Helene Aylon, 1990-1996

Helène Aylon: Rescuing G-d from the Patriarchy

As far as I was concerned, religion was a conservative cult, and Abrahamic faiths didn’t seem to be interested in powerful women expressing themselves. I recently discovered Helène Aylon, an artist whose projects and story bring these struggles of faith and feminism into focus.

Lisa's dog

A Conversation with Food Writer Lisa Yelsey

JWA’s food writer, Lisa Yelsey, has been cooking and writing for JWA for almost a year! In celebration of her delicious recipes, her dog, Cassie, and teaching us how to bake and watch TV, we asked Lisa how she got her start in food writing, how to update a traditional recipe for modern palates, and what she does when a recipe isn’t turning out quite right.

Camping Stock Photo

The Campsite Guide to Exiting Relationships

Breakups are complicated. The models we get from pop culture often involve lots of drama, betrayal, and revenge. In the other direction, the Jewish value of shalom bayit, “peace in the home,” can be taken to an extreme where women are pressured to stay and try to fix things no matter how bad things get. But shalom bayit is not the only Jewish value that can be applied to relationships.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women, Amplified." (Viewed on October 24, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog>.

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Twitter

13 hr
ICYMI: I don’t wish I were a man. I just wish we were all free. https://t.co/zIvS5MtP6F
14 hr
A great call to action to celebrate . Let's keep pushing for inclusion come Nov. 1 too! https://t.co/jPHtHJaUBC