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Activism

Julia Clardy's Three Grandmothers

My Personal Imahot

When it comes to grandmothers, I hit the jackpot. My grandmothers are some of the strongest and most incredible women I’ve ever met, and because I come from a blended family, I have three of them! My grandmothers are models of power and grace, and they haven’t sacrificed their passions and values as they’ve aged. They’re all fierce defenders of justice, and I am who I am today largely because of their influence.

Trans Equality Cover Image

As a Jewish Feminist, I stand for Trans Rights

As a Jewish feminist, I have a particular obligation to fight alongside my transgender siblings as their rights are threatened at the state and national level.

Mental Health in Scrabble Tiles

Embracing Crazy and Having Hope

There are several points in the year of an American Jewish feminist student that demand a certain degree of self-reflection – Yom Kippur, for example, or the secular new year. Or, as I see now, the last month of school. I began this school year as an ally for people struggling with just about everything, but most passionately for those struggling with mental health issues. Along the way, my own mental health started to take precedence. But activists and Jews are creatures of hope, so when I started to lose hope, it was this dual identity that kept me afloat.

Topics: Feminism
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel on the Selma March, March 21, 1965

The Privilege to be an Activist

I’ve had it with white people–myself included. I don’t consider myself to be a shining example of a good activist, especially when it comes to issues that primarily affect communities of color; and, I know I say ignorant things sometimes, but I’m trying. I’m really trying. 

Topics: Civil Rights
Women's March on Washington, 2017

Authentic Community Organizing, From Food to Feminism

From dining on Mexican-fusion cuisine at Macho’s, to learning about the intersectional practices of San Diego’s large Mexican-Jewish population, my identity has largely been shaped by San Diego’s multiculturalism.

Topics: Feminism, Food
March for Our Lives NYC

Rising From the Ashes

April 19th was a day of highs and lows. During the day, school was abuzz. Everyone was talking about the next day’s school walkout (planned in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida)–whether they were going to do it, what they thought the punishments might be, if they were going to be in our local newspaper…my phone was on fire with texts from the organizers’ group chat. We planned to meet that day after school. We sat in the conference room, excitedly discussing who was bringing what, and writing the post for the Facebook event. I went home, giddy and anxious. My leg bounced under my kitchen table while I worked on my homework, my trademark nervous habit. I worried that no one would show up, or that everyone would get in trouble and blame me, or that it would rain really hard. My foot bounced faster. My phone dinged, bringing me out of my reverie.

Topics: Activism, Schools
Rachel Harris with Grandparents and Brother

Lessons from Savta

I always knew my grandma was pretty cool. As soon as activism became something of interest to me, my mom started telling me stories about her experiences growing up with my grandmother. They never ate Domino’s because the owner had expressed strong anti-choice sentiments; they didn’t eat grapes to support Cesar Chavez; activism was simply ingrained in my mom’s life from a very young age — mostly because of her mom.

Cantor Alisa Pomerantz-Boro

Blazing a Trail, One Note at a Time

I’ve always considered words to hold a certain power. As the old saying goes, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” So, when I was sitting in the front row as my little brother was called to the Torah for the first time as a bar mitzvah, something struck me about the language of the event. Usually, the English translation in the siddurim (prayer books) follows the literal Hebrew on the opposite page, reading “God” for “Adonai” and “He” for “Hu.” But in the readings that day, God was genderless. The biblical Hebrew that has been passed down for millennia wasn’t changed, but the English translation avoided the use of any pronouns that would invoke gender. 

Stage with Microphone and Stool

Dear Male Comedian

I spend a lot of time trying to shift the focus away from my appearance, my love life, and my sexuality. By sizing me up in front of my entire community, you undid three years of that work in 30 seconds.

Composite Image of Lillian Wald and Slyvia Bloom

Symmetry: Sylvia Bloom and Lillian Wald

When I heard last week about the extraordinary multimillion dollar donation by Sylvia Bloom, who died in 2016, to Henry Street Settlement, the word that immediately came to mind was the one I wrote to my Settlement friends: “there is a real symmetry there,” I told them.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Activism." (Viewed on June 25, 2018) <https://jwa.org/blog/activism>.

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