Activism

Poster for Rainbow Rams, a school gay-straight alliance club.

Building Inclusivity at My Jewish Day School

by Nina Baran

Until last year, when the club was first started, we didn’t have a GSA; we also don’t have any LGBTQ+ books, and students aren't aware of staff who are trained in LGBTQ+ inclusivity.

Gay-Straight Alliance bulletin board

An Education in Allyship

by Emily Axelrod

As word spread about what we were trying to do, a number of students told us they were in support of a GSA and would definitely participate if we succeeded in creating it.

Still Photo from "Working Woman" (2018)

Film Review: "Working Woman"

by Karen Davis

Exclusively for JWA, film critic Karen Davis reviews Working Woman, a film about one woman’s #MeToo story in Israel.

Audre Lorde, Meridel Lesueur, and Adrienne Rich, 1980

Poetry as Protest: Adrienne Rich Fought for All Women

by Abigail Glickman

Rich once said, “In a time of frontal assaults both on language and on human solidarity, poetry can remind us of all we are in danger of losing–disturb us, embolden us out of resignation.” In other words, poetry has the power to express the things that unite us all as humans and can inspire us to work together toward a common goal.

Fabric Collage

Vashti's Story: A Midrash

by Rabbi Rachel Bearman and Rabbi Paul Kipnes

Rabbis Rachel Bearman and Paul Kipnes retell the story of Vashti in her own voice in this “Midrashic Monologue.”

Topics: Feminism, Purim
Phonetic Spelling of Privilege

Privilege and the Chosen People

by Ava Berkwits

I feel as if I won the lottery by being born Jewish, as so many of my most cherished memories and values are inherently tied to this part of my identity. As proud as I am of my Jewish identity, I’ve always been troubled by one of the fundamental ideas in Judaism: that Jews are “the chosen people.”

"Jewish Feminisms/American Visions" Conference Poster

Seven Lessons from our Feminist Foremothers

by  Judith Rosenbaum

JWA’s Executive Director Judith Rosenbaum reflects on her experience at the “Jewish Feminisms/American Visions” conference at the University of Michigan.

Bella Abzug Speaking with Constituents, 1976, by Diana Mara Henry

Hurricane Bella: A Whirlwind of Intersectional Feminism

by Emily Axelrod

Abzug is an exemplar of what it means to be an intersectional feminist. She used her power and privilege to advocate for those she described as “on the outside of power.” Being a Jew herself, she was familiar with identity-based oppression, and because of that she knew she had to use her power to help fight for others.

Beate Sirota Gordon, 1987

Beate Sirota Gordon

by Amy Jarkow

An unexpected champion for women’s rights in post-war Japan, Austrian born Beate Sirota Gordon was an inspiring intersectional feminist. At age of 22, and fresh out of college with a degree in modern languages, Gordon, along with a small team of Americans, was responsible for writing Japan’s constitution in the aftermath of World War II.

Ilana Glazer Cropped

My Intersectional Feminist Queen, Ilana Wexler

by Lily Drazin

“Madonna, Rihanna, Ilana!” That’s just one of the many unique jingles enthusiastically sung by none other than the ultimate feminist, Jewess, and queen: Ilana Wexler. Wexler, the fictional character from Comedy Central’s hit series Broad City, embodies every aspect of what it means to be a badass, world-changing, intersectional feminist.

Shirley Siegel, 2015

Shirley Adelson Siegel Is My Intersectional Feminist Role Model

by Madelyn Gelb

Shirley Adelson Siegel is proof that Judaism isn’t something that has to hold me back from being a good feminist or activist. On the contrary, Judaism can be the force that propels me forward and pushes me to be a better person. Judaism has taught me to love my neighbor as I love myself, to not speak ill of others, and to take care of people who need help, all of which are things that make me a better person and a better feminist.

Lisa Feld at the Kotel

Celebrating the New Moon in Jerusalem

by  Merle Feld

Activist and writer Merle Feld recounts a harrowing experience praying at the Kotel with Women of the Wall.

Evelyn Torton Beck

Evelyn Torton Beck: An Intersectional Role Model

by Shira Minsk

Beck’s acknowledgment that Jewish lesbians had a unique struggle for acceptance and belonging in the feminist, lesbian, and Jewish communities was a radical move. She fought for more recognition and validation by feminist activists and lesbian activists, who she felt did not take her work seriously.

La Croix Beverage Can

Oy, La Croix!

by Molly Weiner

In researching La Croix and the devastating effects of our cans of privilege, I began to wonder: what effect would the consumers of La Croix have if they stopped buying bubbly water and instead used that money to combat destruction, contamination, and climate change? What if we could forgo our craving for pamplemousse and instead utilize our privilege for good?

Topics: Activism
Emma Cohn at Social Justice Conference

Post-It Note Privilege

by Emma Cohn

Recognizing your own privilege for the first time is deeply disquieting. It can feel like you’re doing something wrong, or as if you can’t participate in social justice efforts because you benefit directly from the oppression of others. And those feelings may never fully go away, but that’s okay.

Topics: Activism, Education
You Are Worthy

How to Practice Radical Self-Love

by Rachael Dubinsky

Post Valentine’s Day, peep these tips for how to practice radical self-love.

Topics: Feminism
Stock Photo of "I Voted" Stickers

Voting: Still a Right, Right?

by Emma Nathanson

Typically, walking through the doors of my high school gym brings on a feeling of dread, accompanied by the smell of body odor and wet paint. When I walked into the gym this past November, however, the only thing I felt was excitement. On the day of the 2018 Midterm Elections, I had decided to spend my Tuesday afternoon and evening as an election official, helping voters register, cast ballots, and, most importantly, go home with an “I Voted!” sticker proudly affixed to their shirts.

Hannah Downing in Yorkin, Costa Rica

Bananas and the Bourgeois (How I’m Confronting My Privilege)

by Hannah Downing

Last summer, I embarked on a URJ Mitzvah Corps service trip to Costa Rica. As part of our program we spent a week in Yorkin, a community located in the Indigenous reserve of Bribri.

Open Hillel Protest in NYC

Who Funds Religious Life on College Campuses?

by Rachel Silverman

Jewish life organizations on college campuses rely on outside funders with their own agendas, and progressive religious students are left in the dust.

Topics: Activism, Religion
Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, 1983

Rosalie Silberman Abella: The Canadian RBG

by Nina Baran

In my opinion, Abella has demonstrated intersectional feminism through her work as a legal advocate and supporter of civil rights for marginalized communities. Before her appointment to the bench, Abella was considered one of Canada's foremost human rights lawyers.

Barbara Seaman holding vaginal cap at Pre-1980 Women's March press conference

In Search of Jewish Voices from the Women’s Health Movement

by  Jillian M. Hinderliter

How did so many Jewish women come to be leaders within the women’s health movement? Eight of the twelve creators of Our Bodies, Ourselves were Jewish. Four of the five founders of the National Women’s Health Network were also Jewish.

Ask Emma February 2019 Crop

Ask Emma: Finding Love and Anti-Capitalist Reads

by Emma G.

My friends have encouraged me to try online dating, but I tried it and went on a few dates and I keep on meeting people who just aren’t as fired up about political change as I am.

Another Jew for Yes on 3

In Praise of the Political Lapel Pin

by Ruth Zakarin

As our country becomes more divided, and our government more divisive, showing solidarity with communities that are not my own feels imperative.

Topics: LGBTQIA Rights
2017 NYC Women's March

Gaping Ideologies at Whole Foods

by Mirabel Sandler

I’ve spent my formative years in various liberal bubbles, shielded from the reality of a bigoted and unaccepting America. I’ve been fortunate enough to live in New York City, a progressive hub and notoriously accepting city, to spend five summers at Eisner Camp, a Reform Jewish camp where we often discuss gun violence prevention, and to attend the progressive Temple Shaaray Tefila my whole life.

Emma Goldman/Women of the Wall

Making Space Where There is None

by Ilana Jacobs

To ask for the space you need is a daunting, terrifying task. But to take the space you need without permission? That’s even more challenging. Emma Goldman and Avigail Antman are two women who refused to settle for less, and who weren’t afraid to demand more. 

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