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Rising Voices

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

Rising Voices Fellow Diana Myers with "All-of-a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, Gertie, and Me

When I was still pretty small—in first grade, or maybe kindergarten—someone gave me a book for my birthday. This wasn’t an unusual event; I’ve received more books as presents in my seventeen years than I think most people end up owning in their entire lifetime. What was unusual was that this book was by a Jewish woman, and about Jewish girls, like me. 

Alexandra Fine and Janet Lieberman

Alive with Pleasure and Passion: Lessons from a vibrator entrepreneur

You may be uncomfortable reading a blog post about a vibrator inventor written by a sixteen-year-old, but bear with me. I have a great deal of admiration for Alexandra Fine, who graduated Columbia with an advanced degree in Human Psychology, and started a successful business at the age of twenty-six. 

Anita Pollitzer (cropped)

Looking Back to the Future

But I don’t want to be silent. After all, it’s not silent women who get stuff done, it’s an explosion of nasty women. So, in thinking about how to move forward and stand my ground, I look to the past. I look to a woman who got stuff done. I look to Anita Pollitzer.

Grace Aguilar

The Dangerous Gift

What got my attention wasn’t the writing, though it does connect us. I wasn’t drawn in by the poetry or the Judaism or any of the other traits I share with this woman. No, what caught my eye was the measles. Grace Aguilar: British/Jewish novelist, poet extraordinaire, religious writer, social historian, and liturgist; and I wanted to write about her because of the measles. 

Justine Wise Polier

Women Who Fight for Us

In the late forties and early fifties, a time when many refused to listen to female voices, Polier made her voice heard. She was published in various legal journals and other opinion pieces, and never filtered her views so that others could digest them more easily. She didn’t mince words or walk on eggshells to sound more feminine. Her writing was unadulterated social criticism. 

Tikvah Alper

The Social Justice and Science Superwoman: Tikvah Alper

Few women have been both scientists and social justice activists in their lifetimes. Both of these roles are time-consuming and challenging, yet somehow Tikvah Alper succeeded as a distinguished radiobiologist and as a fierce opponent to the apartheid in South Africa. She faced much opposition as a woman, but still managed to have a significant impact in both of these spheres.

2011 Wisconsin Budget Protest

Raushenbush, Wisconsin Workers, and Me

“I want a commander in chief who will...ensure that the threat from...terrorists does not wash up on American soil….If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world,” said my governor, Republican Scott Walker, in February 2015.

Topics: Law
Harriet Fleischl Pilpel

A female lawyer who fought for the right to choose? Pilpel me more!

It certainly has been a crazy month, huh? Like many people, I was shocked and disheartened by the election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States. I know, I know. You’re sick of hearing about it and about the depressing and infuriating stories that accompany the president-elect. However, I want to talk about a Jewish lady who I’ve been thinking a lot about this past month, and in whom I’ve found comfort.

Jane Harman (Cropped)

Jane Harman: Crushing Gender Boundaries in Politics

Since November 8th I’ve been thinking a lot about politics. Personally it was devastating to see Hillary Clinton lose the Presidential election. It took me a while to digest the news because nearly all the polls had predicted otherwise, and most people assumed it was a sealed deal. 

Amy Schumer, Headshot

The Honest, Outspoken Amy Schumer

In her obscene, outspoken, and controversial ways, Amy Schumer has shaped comedy; and with that, she has shaped society's views on women. Many important subjects get overlooked because people don’t know how to talk about them.

Topics: Comedy
Theater

Rehearsing For a Better World

YTheater is a program that Haberman co-founded in the hopes of finding a way for Israeli and Palestinian youth to work together and build a community. 

Simone Veil

Women’s Rights are Human Rights

If anyone has an indelible sparkle, it’s women’s rights activist and French politician Simone Veil. Although she’s not a household name in the United States, she’s regarded with unwavering praise and awe in France, her home country. 

"Eating Disorders: Obesity, Anorexia Nervosa and the Person Within" Front Cover by Hilde Bruch, 1973

Hilde Bruch and the Persistence of Eating Disorders

Clinical descriptions of eating disorders date back centuries, yet it took until the 1970s for the pioneering research of doctor, psychologist, and writer Hilde Bruch to bring the issue to public attention. 

Stock image of a teacher working with students.

Age is Just a Number

Ask any middle schooler and they will tell you that lunch and recess are treasured time. A few years ago, when I found out my school was taking away half of this precious time, I was furious. My lunch period transformed from 45 minutes of eating and relaxing, into fifteen minutes of rushed eating (which, by the way, is an unhealthily short period of time to eat and digest) and 15 minutes of study hall. I decided to act.

Stock image of a woman holding an iPhone

Texts about Hillary

Friends, let me take you back to a dark time in our nation’s history. The time is late July 2016. After four days of insanity at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the country is settling down to watch the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Hannah Himmelgreen Visiting Colombia

Politics and My Dual Identity

I love to listen to other people’s perspectives, and jump in only when I feel that staying silent isn’t an option. When I’m passionate about something, I can temporarily push my introverted nature aside, and speak up.

Topics: Family, Judaism
Cartoon Image of a Woman with a Thought Bubble

Tongue-Tied

There’s pretty much only one way to make sure your opinions are heard: speaking up. While this might be the best way to get your ideas out there, it's not always easy.

Topics: Feminism, Schools
2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Lili Klayman on a Service Trip

Cleaning The World of Mansplaining

“It doesn't seem to matter if you have a PhD in neuroscience, that won't stop some [man] from assuming you are ignorant on the subject and carefully explaining what he learned in his high school bio class.” This quote, from an article by Lily Feinn published on Bustle, perfectly explains the art of mansplaining. 

Topics: Feminism, Schools
2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Eden Olsberg Snapchat

Strongly Undecided

Every morning when I wake up, I immediately open the New York Times app on my phone to read the morning briefing to which I’m subscribed. I’m instantly informed of worldwide events from the past 24 hours. Then, I scroll through my Facebook feed and find out what my friends think about these same topics.

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Isabel Kirsch with her Model UN Partner

My Power Outfit Deserves Its Name

Although I've learned to embrace my short stature and recognize its impact on my confidence as a woman, when I was younger, my height was my biggest insecurity. 

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Molly Pifko at Camp

The Challenge of Teamwork

Competitions can bring out the best in people. Unfortunately, they can also bring out the worst. Team competitions, even silly camp ones full of crazy outfits and team cheers, require leadership, and unfortunately, some leaders don’t value everyone’s voices equally.

"That's funny. Do you want me to ruin it with my feminism?"

I Walk the Line: The Shaky Tightrope of Male Validation

Freshman year, my new friend John (name changed to protect the male ego) made a lot of gay jokes, and I laughed at every one of them. He would make all these jokes about Jews, egged on by his Jewish friends, and I laughed at every one of them. Freshman year, John would joke about rape, and when I didn’t laugh, John laughed at me. 

Topics: Feminism, Schools
Cartoon Image of a Girl Looking Embarrassed

Can I Ask You Something?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve butted heads with Orthodox men. There was the time in third grade when I volunteered to sing the Torah trope, but was discouraged  by a boy in my class who said that “girls don’t actually read Torah at their bat mitzvahs.” In other words, why bother? Then in sixth grade, when all I wanted was to learn advanced Talmud,  I was met with a discrediting, “okay, Abigail, okay. We’ll see.” 

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Maya Jodidio Pipetting DNA into a Gel

Whoever Said Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend Never Saw a Girl Doing Science

High school boys often try to explain physics or calculus problems to me in a way that clearly implies they think I have no idea what I’m doing. Sometimes a classmate asks me a science question and almost immediately a male peer nearby says, “Don’t worry! I can explain this if she can’t!” In addition to mansplaining, jokes about feminism and subtle sexist comments occur on a daily basis at my high school, so I’ve become used to it. 

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Sarah Biskowitz and her Sister Lighting Shabbat Candles

The Ham Sandwich

Looking back, I now know that the comment about my sandwich choice was an extremely inappropriate thing for a coach to say to a student. It was also just rude. But most of all, it capitalized on my outsider-ness. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rising Voices." (Viewed on December 13, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog/risingvoices>.

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