New Book: Leveling the Playing Field

"Imagine how much stronger Jewish organizations would be if women truly shared leadership with men," says Shifra Bronznick, co-founder of the national non-profit, Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community (AWP). Wouldn't it be nice if we no longer needed to imagine this?

Sadly, most of us are still dreaming -- yes, women represent a majority in the Jewish professional workforce, but so few rise to top positions of influence. It does feel like gender inequity has been on our radar -- and on our blog -- for quite a while ... so why has so little been achieved? What's taking so long?

The 7th anniversary of AWP is timed perfectly with the publication of a new book entitled Leveling the Playing Field: Advancing Women in Jewish Organizational Life. Edited by Shifra Bronznick, Didi Goldenhar, and Marty Linsky, and reflective of AWP's mission to propel women into leadership positions in Jewish communal life, Leveling the Playing Field paints a compelling picture of gender bias in North America's Jewish organizations, and explains why more equitable environments are essential to the success of these organizations and the long term health of the Jewish community. It also presents comprehensive strategies for anyone -- executives, staff, lay leaders, volunteers -- who wants to build an action plan for change within their own organization.

In conjunction with the book launch, the authors are releasing a "Conversation Kit" for people across the country to facilitate their own dialogues about advancing women and creating gender equity in the workplace. The free packet of materials enables groups to explore the challenges women face in organizations, brainstorm opportunities to advance women leaders, and develop an action plan for change. Conversation Kits can be requested at

It's high time for change, so let's keep talking and take action!

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The previous commentor puts his finger on some of the subleties that are reviewed in the JTA article on this subject at .

In short, some parts of the Jewish community have become "feminized" in the sense that men now seek power and status elsewhere--not because equality has been achieved. There is a lot to discuss here.

I gotta disagree here. I don't disagree that equality is a good thing. I am indeed an avowed male feminist.

CAVEAT: I'm only really familiar with the Reform movement, but I am very familiar with it.

Reform seminaries have a very hard time these days getting their classes anywhere near half-women. It's more like 80% women. Especially with cantors. NFTY board members and memeber-at-large are overwhelmingly female. Temple board members, committee chairs, and presidents: same story.

Not to mention the fact the the single most proactive group under the URJ umbrella is the WRJ.

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How to cite this page

Namerow, Jordan. "New Book: Leveling the Playing Field." 11 April 2008. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 18, 2024) <>.