Bella Book grew up in Whitsett, North Carolina, before attending Mount Holyoke College where she recently earned a BA in English and in History. She discovered her love of public history while studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh. Bella's interests include the democratization of storytelling, championing women's stories, and creating safe spaces for dialogue and learning. She manages JWA's store and the blog Jewesses with Attitude. After years of community involvement, research, and editing, Bella is excited to bring her organizational skills and love for women’s stories to JWA.
Radical things happen when women come together. Whether it’s to plan a strike, march for the right to vote, or use their networks to spread information about birth control, when women come together, the establishment trembles. As Bella Abzug reminds us, “the establishment is made up of little men, very frightened.” If history is any indication, women who are brave enough to speak out can create an earthquake of social change, shattering any delusions little men may have about women and women’s equality.
With so many issues and challenges facing the world today, it’s easy to believe that effecting change must happen on a large scale in order to make an impact. However, small actions can often make big waves, and for teenage girls, one of the most radical and brave things you can do is be yourself. In a world that actively encourages teens to conform, sit still, and stay silent, having the courage to be your authentic self is no small feat, and it can have a lasting impact on the surrounding culture.
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.
As We Are: A Jewish Feminist Theatre Project critically examines the aspects of Judaism that are tied to patriarchy, limiting representation of women and femme people. Femme is a personal identity descriptor used by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, or gender nonconforming/genderqueer. Femmes reclaim aspects of femininity that they wish to embrace and/or subvert, without compromising the parts of themselves that are strong, brave, loud, and even radical.
Single women have been around forever. Unable to find suitable partners, unwilling to marry unsuitable ones, or simply uninterested in the idea of partnering, these women were often considered social cast-offs and economic drains on society. Passed over and unobserved, they have been stereotyped as passive participants who lived on the sidelines of history. New York Times' bestselling author, Rebecca Traister's latest book works to change this flawed narrative.
Abortion rights often dominate our national conversation about reproductive justice. There’s another side to this issue that doesn’t make as many headlines: the right to parent. Luckily, there are plenty of organizations working to ensure that no one has to choose between work and children, including the national nonprofit, A Better Balance.
The people who make stories a central focus of their life come in all genders, colors, creeds, and professions. JWA was lucky enough to speak with Paula J. Caplan, who first championed women’s stories as a clinical and research psychologist,and has now turned her attention, as a playwright, to the struggles that returning veterans face. Her newest play, Shades, is at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York until December 17th.
When Donald Trump muttered the word “nasty” into his microphone at the third presidential debate, all I could think of was a quote by Bella Abzug. Presciently, while advocating for women in the 1970s, the New York senator said, “The Establishment is made up of little men, very frightened.” Trump’s choice to use the word “nasty” in an attempt to silence someone who disagrees with him reads as the definition of a little man to me, and Trump is a little man who is very frightened.
With the 2016 election only weeks away, the JWA staff wanted to share one of our favorite stories submitted to JWA’s ongoing collection of voting stories! In a year when “the women’s vote” is both highly scrutinized and vital to the election outcome, we especially love the following story detailing one determined young mother's inventive method of finding childcare so she could exercise her right to vote.
This story was submitted by Mae T.
In our current political climate, the First Amendment can sometimes become a catchphrase for those looking for the license to say hateful things under the guise of patriotism. This shallow understanding of the First Amendment excludes the deeper truth behind the freedom of speech: everyone has a right to information, free of censorship or agenda.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Bella Book." (Viewed on April 28, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog/author/bella-book>.