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Shira Small

2017-2018 Rising Voices Fellow Shira Small
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Shira Small, 2017-2018 Rising Voices Fellow

Shira Small is a senior at Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts. She is on the executive board of Student Government and Drama Club, writes for the school newspaper, plays softball, acts in the school plays, and manages to watch at least one episode of 30 Rock each night. In addition to her immense devotion to Tina Fey, she loves engaging in civil discourse about feminism, Judaism, and the current American political climate.

Blog posts

Shira Small with her Great-Aunt Esther

Labels vs. Identity

Jewish. Feminist. Single. Religious. People are so multifaceted that labels often can’t capture the entirety of our experiences. I interviewed my great-aunt Esther about various elements of her complex identity and where they intersect; I mostly came away wondering if labels—namely “Jewish” and “feminist”—can really do our identities justice. As a Jewish, single, working woman in her 70s, I assumed my aunt would have a plethora of stories that fit a single narrative. But life is complex, and messy, and seldom fits into the boxes we create to try to make sense of it all.

Everything is Illuminated Book Cover

Everything Is…Complicated

I love reading Jewish literature. Seeing my culture and experience come to life on the pages of a book can be meaningful and validating; it makes my idiosyncratic religious practices feel normal, and real. The representation and recognition of Judaism in popular culture is crucial, but what do you do when the author gets it wrong? 

Shira Small's High School Softball Team

Sexism and Softball: Covering All the Bases

At five years old, I launched into little league stardom by hitting a home run without even using the tee. From then on, my coach called me “Slugger,” a name I proudly wore throughout my thirteen years playing softball.

Topics: Schools, Athletes
Holding Hands

The Importance of Self-Love

“Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Leviticus 19:34 provides the Jewish people with this inspirational and often-repeated Torah verse that seems to pop up in my own life endlessly. In Temple, in Jewish Studies classes, at home when my mother reminds me to be the bigger person—this verse follows me wherever I go. For a long time, I appreciated it and used it as a motivation to do good. But then I reached a point in my life when treating others as I treated myself wouldn’t have been the kindest path. 

Topics: Schools, Bible
Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963

Eyes Wide Open

It’s hard to admit I’m not an expert when it comes to race. I do my best to be as informed as possible, but as a privileged white woman, I recognize I’ll never be able to fully understand systemic racism and how it affects people of color. On a school trip to the American South, though, my eyes were opened further, and I learned that there’s far more to racial injustice in this country than I was aware of initially.

Barbara Boxer

Barbara Boxer: Senator, Jewess, Inspiration

Barbara Boxer: Fittingly a great name for a fighter, and an even better name for an extraordinary, accomplished Jewish woman. As one of seven women in the senate when she was elected in 1992, Boxer’s work broke barriers for all women—especially those aspiring to work in politics.

School Hallway with Lockers

Sexism: Adaptable to the 21st Century

My sophomore year of high school, a dozen freshman boys created a March Madness style bracket evaluating each girl in the school to determine who was the prettiest. 

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Shira Small." (Viewed on September 26, 2018) <https://jwa.org/blog/author/shira-small>.

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