Rising Voices

Learn more about the Rising Voices Fellowship, JWA's thought-leadership program for female-identified teens.
Rising Voices Fellow Gabi Cantor Celebrating Halloween as a Child

I’m Not A Princess Anymore

by Gabrielle Cantor

The world of Jewish women seems to be divided on the J.A.P. issue. Is it a positive term? Or is it a harmful one that reinforces negative stereotypes? In her article, Reclaim the J.A.P. ,for JWA’s blog, Alana Kayfetz argues that while most connotations of J.A.P. are harmful, we as Jewish women should work to redefine the term as follows: a J.A.P. is a  powerful woman who is confident and willing to work hard to get what she wants. 

Topics: Feminism, Children
Rising Voices Fellow Ariela Basson

An Open Letter to “Good Feminists”

by Ariela Basson

In her November 2013 post for JWA’s blog, Marissa Harrington-Verb wrote about the challenges and critiques her mother faced with regard to her attachment parenting. Many people, including women, would critique Marissa’s mother for her very involved approach to parenting. Ultimately, Marissa argued that feminism is the freedom to make a choice. I could not agree more with Marissa’s point. 

Topics: Feminism, Children
Mechitza

Orthodox Feminism

by Rana Bickel

A lot of people leave Orthodoxy because of the sexism. Honestly, it’s really hard to stay. Being a teenager with friends who are all forming their identities, I struggle with this a lot. Many of my friends are leaving the movement because they are tired of tirelessly fighting, enduring, and never being equal. 

Performance of Elizabeth Swados' "Sosua" at the United Nations General Assembly

Dare to Dance Together: 1940, 2011, and Today

by Eliana Gayle-Schneider

Tony nominated playwright Elizabeth Swados raised our consciousness; she opened our eyes and dared us all to dance. Swados gave much to the world: theater, the gift of herself, one who constantly seeks truth and justice, and a strong female leader. Liz Swados also impacted my life in a very personal way- she taught me the meaning of community. 

Topics: Holocaust, Dance, Theater
Excerpt from the Amidah

Holy Glass Ceiling

by Sarah Groustra

On June 13th, 2013, three women graduated from the Yeshivat Maharat and were ordained with the title of maharat, or female spiritual leader. Even then, the Rabbinic Counsel of America (RCA) refused to recognize these women as part of the Orthodox Rabbinate. This is a two steps forward, one step back situation. 

"Children Dancing in a Ring"

Can Jewish Pluralism Be Salvaged?

by Noam Green

Every Thursday, the Jewish Standard, a community newspaper catered to the diverse North Jersey and Rockland County Jewish populations, is delivered to my house just in time for Shabbat. When I was younger, I used to look forward to its arrival. I would straighten out the pages and perch on the couch like the adults I saw on television, immersing myself in the cultural happenings of my local Jewish community. 

Malala Yousafzai

Malala's Mission

by Ariela Basson

As a child, I would play “school.” I would pretend to be the teacher, and my siblings and stuffed animals were my students. Although it was a curriculum based on Barbies and Legos, I was attracted early on to sharing my knowledge. It was rewarding to stand in front of the “class,” lecture, and ask questions. 

Wendy Davis

Learning How To Lose

by Caroline Kubzansky

When I think of former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, the first thing that comes to my mind is her shoes. A fearlessly bright shade of pink, this choice of footwear made headlines across the country when Davis debuted them…at an eleven-hour filibuster to prevent a vote on a bill that would have mandated the closure of most Texas abortion clinics.

Knesset Member Stav Shaffir

Politics, You, and a Cup of Cold Brew

by Eliana Gayle-Schneider

Two great loves that I’ve discovered in high school are politics and coffee. These are two critical elements of who I am today, but one would think they rarely intersect. That’s what I thought too—until Stav Shaffir came along and gave Israeli politics a total caffeine jolt. Stav Shaffir is a young female member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament), a star to be sure. 

Rising Voices Fellow Rana Bickel with the Pope

Pop(e)ular

by Rana Bickel

Religious leaders aren’t normally considered cool by teenagers, but Pope Francis is most definitely an exception. As a teenager myself, I can say that the Catholic Church was not at all on my radar until he started making waves. 

Carly Fiorina/Hillary Clinton Collage

The Fluidity of the Politician

by Sarah Groustra

I live in a town where Bernie Sanders merchandise adorns front yards and backpacks, school clubs like the GTSA (Gay-Trans-Straight Alliance) and Students Against Human Trafficking have the largest followings, introducing yourself with pronouns is required, and discussions on issues like the refugee crisis and racial inequality are held in both the classroom and the cafeteria. It’s a liberal bubble in a world with increasingly pervasive conservatism, and while many members of my town are wonderfully open about acceptance of liberal issues, kids at school are ostracized for identifying as Republican. 

A Translation From One Language To Another

Sharing Our Stories

by Hani Fish-Bieler

I grew up bilingual. From a young age, my parents, who are not Israeli, spoke to me in Hebrew because they felt it was an important skill to have. My ability to communicate with people outside of the English-speaking world has always felt like an incredible privilege. Although I love being able to find deeper meaning in the things I say through my dual-vocabulary, it’s the ability to share stories with people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to understand them, and the ability to hear theirs, that I find most important. 

Topics: Activism, Writing
Angela Merkel

Macchiatos with Merkel

by Maya Franks

This lady is my German RBG (Ruth Bader Ginsburg), and let’s not even discuss what would happen if I were to bump into RBG at a coffee shop. For anyone who might not know, Merkel is the Chancellor of Germany (2005-present), and is the first woman to hold the position. 

Donald Trump

It's About Time We Dump Trump

by Noam Green

Donald Trump isn’t a name thrown around fondly in my social circles. I’d say I live comfortably in a liberal bubble, one which sees Donald Trump as an overblown joke.

Cecile Richards (Cropped)

Care No Matter What

by Gabrielle Cantor

Recently, American women came under attack. And I’m not talking about a dozen women, or even a hundred women. Earlier this year, each and every one of the estimated 160 million women living in the United States of America was threatened by an attack which, had it succeeded, would have set women’s rights back to the early 1900s. 

"True BU" Campaign Image

Marwa Sayed, a Leader in the Community

by Elisabeth Eigerman

Marwa Sayed was the first Hijabi I ever met. I was a freshman in high school and she was a junior. A force to be reckoned with, she terrified me. She had strong convictions for equality and justice from which she did not back down. I served on student council with her at Boston University Academy (the high school we both attended) for two years, and during that time she led the charge to abolish the dress code and to establish gender neutral bathrooms. 

Barbie Ferreira

Barbie Revisited

by Delaney Hoffman

As a teenage girl who has had a consistent, though definitively low key, internet presence since I was 12, I have witnessed the rise and fall of many-a carefully tailored persona. Online venues (Tumblr being the most recent and preeminent, but MySpace before this) provide a space for young people to pick the best bits and pieces of themselves, and to cut and paste them together into some straw man fallacy of a person.

Topics: Feminism
Monica Lewinsky

Monica Lewinsky: From Ruin To Role Model

by Abby Richmond

While we know the most intimate details of the scandal, what most Americans don’t know about (or don’t care about) is the extreme personal harm that Lewinsky endured as a result. 

            

Rising Voices Fellow Gabrielle Cantor in Color Guard (Cropped)

Evolution Revolution

by Gabrielle Cantor

I am a member of the Marching Band and Color Guard at my high school. One challenge that we face as a group year after year is designing our costumes. The easy part is making the design fit with the show’s theme. The harder part is designing something to wear that everyone is happy with. 

Thrift Store Purchases

Feminism: Lab Science Or Liberation?

by Delaney Hoffman

For the young woman, a thrift store serves as the proverbial laboratory of feminism. The reactants: bits and pieces of people left behind in coat pockets and skirt pleats (the people, hopefully, being solely metaphorical). The product: a newly formed sense of self, or the ability to form said sense of self. 

Woman With Tape Measure

A Tale Of Two Stores

by Abby Richmond

Brandy’s clothes are appealing to girls like me who prefer a simple look. However, there’s one important thing that separates Brandy from the other clothing chains for teenage girls—their one-size policy. Yes, all of Brandy Melville’s clothes are only available in one, miniature, singular size. One size fits most is the company’s complacent statement regarding their sizing. 

Photoshop Logo

Photoshop: A Tool For Body-Shaming

by Maya Franks

There is not a single part of American culture that infuriates me more then the over-editing of the female body. It’s untrue, unfair, and unjust. You and I should not have to feel badly about what we see in the mirror. It’s not fair, but it’s not going away unless people try to do something about it. 

New York Fashion Week Models

The Art Of Self-Expression

by Ariela Basson

I have always been what some may call a “fashionista.” I have loved fashion since I was a very little girl. Whether it be my all-pink clothing phase, my mortifying obsession with layering neon Sugar Lips tank tops, my love for high side ponytails, or my obnoxiously bright and sparkly Limited-Too wardrobe, I have always used fashion to mirror my inner self. 

Rising Voices Fellow Caroline Kubzansky as a Child

The Elements Of Style

by Caroline Kubzansky

Every single morning, I wake up, shake the fog out of my head, and consider what I am going to wear. Almost every day, my outfit is some version of Doc Martens (or, “Docs”) boots, a white button up shirt, and jeans. I somewhat intentionally do not dress like most of the other girls in my grade. I don’t care about looking similar to them, but I do care about my appearance. 

Shaving Razor

Feminists Can't Shave

by Sarah Groustra

The This is What a Feminist Looks Like campaign has inspired discussion and change around the world. The message behind it is that people of all shapes, sizes, races, ethnicities and genders can believe in gender equality. 

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