Rising Voices

Learn more about the Rising Voices Fellowship, JWA's thought-leadership program for female-identified teens.
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.

Rising Voices Fellow Lila Zinner in Fifth Grade

American Education: Classrooms, Competition, and Corruption

by Lila Zinner

This education system, this one-sided method of teaching, this constant competition, is not working.

Topics: Schools, Children
Rising Voices Fellow Molly Weiner's school cross country team

Look Fast

by Molly Weiner

The first step the female athletic community can take towards fostering healthier norms is to share stories collectively, to address a pain that is all too common.

Topics: Schools, Athletes
San Francisco DACA rally

Immigration Mythbusters: Starting the Conversation

by Amy Jarkow

In my opinion, the fall of DACA should have warranted the same amount of coverage in school as the increasingly frequent mass shootings happening in this country.

Topics: Schools, Immigration
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.

Phoebe Chapnick-Sorokin Leading School Walkout

Leadership as an Answer to Privilege

by Phoebe Chapnick-Sorokin

Because of my privilege, I had a head start: I knew where I was going, and I had support. I still had to work hard and set goals for myself, but I recognize that privilege is one of the things that has helped me get where I am today.

Topics: Schools, Writing
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.

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.”

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.

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
Yuba Noodles with Tofu

I’m Vegan, But That Shouldn’t Stop You From Reading This

by Lila Zinner

Veganism is hard to uphold, mainly because of issues related to accessibility. For American families living in poverty, fast food—comprised of cheap animal products—is often the only affordable option. I’m extremely grateful that I’m able to maintain a vegan lifestyle, but I also recognize that it’s a privilege.

Topics: Food
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.

Inside of Quincy Market

My Power is My Privilege

by Naomi Bethune

Power and privilege have always played, and will continue to play, a very significant role in my life. As a biracial, Jewish woman, my life has always been complicated, and oftentimes, confusing. That being said, I acknowledge and know I have an incredible amount of privilege.

Milk Carton

Open Conversations and Dairy Products

by Ilana Jacobs

“Where are you thinking about going to college?” I’ve been asked this question by almost everyone I know. It feels like after your bat mitzvah, there’s a second rite of passage that no one tells you about: college decisions. Since the winter of Junior year, every conversation seems to take a turn towards schools. The question, “How are you?” has been replaced with, “How are the applications coming?”

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.

Ruby Russell in First Grade

Who Gets To Choose

by Ruby Russell

In 2007, with long chestnut pigtails sprouting from the sides of my head, I attended my first day of kindergarten at a public school just outside of Boston. I was enrolled in what was called the Choice Program, an institution that four years later would implode with scandal.

Topics: Schools, Children
Gertrude Berg and Amy Sherman Palladino

Yoohoo...Mrs. Maisel!

by Ava Berkwits

Gertrude Berg and Amy Sherman Palladino are two women who have brought Jews to television in completely revolutionary ways; as funny, approachable characters who are incredibly dynamic and unapologetically Jewish.

Topics: Television
Math Equations on a Chalkboard

Mind Your Own Business

by Molly Weiner

My accelerated math class has nearly twice as many boys as girls. There are only five of us. I’m no stranger to a good mansplaining, or to feeling like an anomaly in a math bros club. While many interactions in Honors Precalc make me feel like a fish out of water, a comment like “mind your own business” really highlights just how different it is to be a girl in an advanced math class.

Topics: Schools, Mathematics
Emmy Noether and Martine Rothblatt

Female Heroes in STEM: Emmy Noether and Martine Rothblatt

by Shira Minsk

Female leaders in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are few and far between, and Jewish female role models in those fields are even harder to find. Emmy Noether and Martine Rothblatt are superheros whose hard work and intellect propelled them to defy the odds and make contributions to the world that will outlive them.

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