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Rising Voices

Learn more about the Rising Voices Fellowship, JWA's thought-leadership program for female-identified teens.
Photograph of Persian Jewish man, sepia tone.

Airport Insecurity

by Sasha Azizi Rosenfeld

Everything about me screamed American Ashkenazi Jew except the middle name on my passport.

Topics: Family, Israel
Talmud opened to seder zera'im.

"Lo Bashamayim Hi": Reconciling Feminism and Halakha

by Dahlia Soussan

Talmud became a channel for me to develop and express my Jewish feminism.

Young woman standing next to brick wall, wearing ankle-length blue skirt with red striped pattern and a Vans shirt underneath a jean jacket. Signs photoshopped into the image next to the young woman in English and Hebrew read: "Please do not pass through our neighborhood in immodest clothes"

Wonder Woman's Hemline

by Lilah Peck

The length of your hemline doesn’t matter as long as you choose it for yourself and you accept those who choose differently.

Painting with the outline of a human figure. Grey background with overlapping square shapes. One contains another small outlined face that faces the outlined figure.

A Trip to Crown Heights

by Belle Gage

I was visiting Brooklyn, New York with a group of students in my Reform synagogue’s confirmation class. 

High school student standing in front of a brick wall. She is holding a protest sign that says "To forget a Holocaust is to be killed twice," attributed to Elie Wiesel.

On Emancipation Avenue

by Madeline Canfield

My friend wanted to get arrested, one morning in July, on the curb of the sidewalk along a street east of downtown Houston.

Close-up of a parsley plant.

Parsing the Meaning of Parsley

by Ella Plotkin-Oren

Parsley reminds me of my Judaism.

Topics: Activism, Food, Passover
Ilana Drake standing in a passageway on the Bell Tower of St. Paul's Church, Munich cityscape below.

Raising My Hand High

by Ilana Drake

The teacher told us to raise our hands if we were Jewish. I didn’t know what to do.

Mezuzah mounted on wooden door frame. Scroll visible, in a test tube-like vial corked on light blue wood decorated with pomegranates and Star of Davids.

My Matriarchal Mezuzah

by Eleanor Harris

Inhaling the sweet scents of Nachalat Binyamin in Tel Aviv, I searched for the perfect new mezuzah. 

Topics: Family, Israel, Ritual
souvenir name mugs featuring illustrated fish. Names "Eva" and "Hanna" are on the mug.

Learning to Love My Name

by Ari Fogel

I always knew my name was about to be called when a teacher announced with an almost mocking grin, “I know I’m gonna butcher this one…”

Grandmother coloring on paper with her grandchildren. They sit on and around a red couch.

My Time on the Line

by Neima Fax

ENFP. Extraversion, intuition, feeling, perception. Four words that, according to the Myers-Briggs personality test, define me as a person.

Camp counselor surrounded by campers, all wearing white. Sitting on benches during services.

In the Image of God?

by Mica Maltzman

When I was younger, around the time of my consecration, my vision of God was simple.

Young woman wearing tefillin and holding a prayer book during a service. Surrounded by fellow campers.

On the Sanctity of My Tefillin

by Hannah Landau

For two hours a day, three days a week, the Orthodox rabbi led us through the strict and meticulous process of tefillin-making.

Topics: Summer Camps, Prayer
A seder plate with the six traditional items and an orange.

The Orange on the Seder Plate

by Ellanora Lerner

There are a few stories that you may have heard about the orange on the seder plate.

Shoshannah Hemley and another student stand in front of a crowd of students, shouting in protest. Someone in the crowd holds a sign that says "girls against guns."

“Too Loud” and "Too Jewish": Standing up for Gun Control

by Shoshanna Hemley

We were at a school open mic about gun control in the weeks following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting.

Topics: Activism, Schools
Open Torah scroll with yad.

Leining: A Balancing Act

by Ellie Klibaner-Schiff

Existing at the border between modern and traditional values often feels like teetering across a balance beam.

Two women wearing tallit are moving away from the wall, a police officer looking at them and speaking to them. Another woman films the event on her phone.

The Wall Between My Identities

by Sasha Azizi Rosenfeld

I expected to feel emotion and attachment to the Kotel. However, despite the burning midday sun, my first visit left me cold.

Three figures, arms over shoulders, walking on a paved road. Guard towers lined alongside them.

Prayers in Majdanek

by Isabel Hoffman

Last March, as I prepared to visit Holocaust sites as part of my high school semester in Israel, I braced myself.

Topics: Holocaust, Prayer
Maddy Pollack speaking at her Bat Mitzvah party, microphone in hand. Cake on a table in front of her with text "Mazel Tov, Maddy."

The Only Jewish Kid

by Maddy Pollack

When I was in third grade, my teacher asked me to tell my class about the Jewish New Year.

Gold Star of David necklace hanging in midair, in partial focus.

Jewelry and Jewish Feminism

by Lila Goldstein

Like everything we wear, our jewelry displays our tastes and preferences. On a deeper level, though, it also projects our values to the world.

Auschwitz

A New Take on the Holocaust Experience

by Lily Drazin

In reading Ozick’s thoughtful insight about the double victimization women faced during World War II, I realized that my Holocaust education was indeed lacking.

Topics: Holocaust
Watercolor by Abigail Glickman

Ayin Tovah: Learning to See

by Abigail Glickman

In a passage from Pirkei Avot, Eliezer ben Hurcanus recommended “ayin tovah,” a “good eye” in Hebrew, which, my teacher explained, meant judging people in a favorable light.

Flowers in Naomi Bethune's Yard

Other

by Naomi Bethune

I am not seen as average or conventional: not Black enough, but certainly not white enough; Jewish, but not “Jewish” enough for some.

Topics: Activism
Stock Photo of Microphone

How I Became a Slam Poet

by Ruby Russell

Maybe we can shatter some glass ceilings if we shout loud enough. 

Phoebe Chapnick-Sorokin in D.C.

Treacherous Torah Teachings

by Phoebe Chapnick-Sorokin

Teachers should receive training when preparing to educate students on sensitive topics, such as religion, so that they are providing the students with the most accurate information possible.

Graduation Stock Photo

A Jewish Goodbye

by Madelyn Gelb

I’ll be leaving high school with a great big Jewish goodbye.

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