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Rising Voices

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

Melbourne in the 1920s

Find Me More Like Miss Fisher

This show isn’t something you can find on most American TV, or on TV, period. I normally have to unplug my feminist brain when I settle down to consume media. Otherwise there’s just too much to get angry over: the one-dimensional female characters, the unrealistic beauty standards, the male gaze of it all. But when Netflix gently pushed me towards Miss Fisher last year, I found that I didn’t have to be upset all the time. 

The Disney Princesses

The Disney Princess Phenomenon

From an early age, I learned that diversity in mainstream media was seriously lacking. I grew up in an era when mainstream media was mostly dominated by white, heterosexual people. One example of this is the Disney princesses

"Lady Macbeth Seizing the Daggers"

Women Of Influence: What Macbeth Taught Us About Women In Power

That Scottish Shakespearian tragedy, so shrouded in mystery that it is unlucky even to say its name, gave society new ideas about women that have stayed with us since 1606, when the play debuted in London.  

Topics: Plays, Poetry
Grey's Anatomy Cast

Doctor, Doctor! How Shonda Rhimes Changed My Perception of Medicine

When someone says “doctor,” the first person that pops into my head is Meredith Grey. Yes, she may be a fictional doctor, but she’s the first doctor who inspired me to look into medicine as a possible career choice.   

Kylie Jenner

King Kylie’s Kloset

There’s nothing wrong with making a lot of money. Honestly, I admire Jenner and her family for building up their empire from scratch, and becoming a modern-day royal family. And, as Kylie is only about two years older than me, I can only dream of what it would be like to be so successful at such a young age. However, I think what shows a lot about a person’s character is how they use their money. 

Kim Kardashian West

We Should All Be Feminists

Although I knew I was a feminist long before I had the words to describe it, I try not to judge women who don't feel the same way. However, I take issue with Kardashian West's declaration because we seem to share similar views on women's rights, yet she shies away from the “feminist” label. 

Pat Toomey

Senator Toomey, Don’t Be So Gun-shy

Moderate Republican Senator Pat Toomey is one of those silent guys, especially on gun control. Officially, Toomey is “a champion of the Second Amendment” but still believes we “should take common sense steps to protect the American people from gun violence.” That all sounds good to me—I’m not trying to take away anyone’s constitutional rights either, but gun violence is bad and we should work on stopping it. 

Nursing Area Sign

Public Indecency, or Necessity?

Every once in a while the topic of public breastfeeding sparks a heated debate in the media. Whether it’s a nursing mother being asked to leave a public place, or a nurse-in being staged, controversy ensues as many express their varying opinions on the topic. I’m a seventeen-year-old girl who is not a mother (nor would I like to be anytime soon), but the controversy surrounding public breastfeeding completely baffles me.  

Chris Christie

Education for a Crumbling Nation

One of my biggest problems with Christie has to do with his education policies. As governor, Christie has brought many changes to the New Jersey education system. Overall, his policies tend to benefit families that send their children to private, parochial, or charter schools, and to take money away from districts that need more school supplies, classrooms, and teachers. 

Catharine MacKinnon

Let’s Talk About Sex: When Feminism Goes Too Far

It was on Tumblr that I first encountered the idea that all sexual activity is oppressive to women. It was phrased more like, “PIV (penis in vagina) IS RAPE!” but the main point seemed to be that women can’t be independent or free if they engage in sex with men. 

Topics: Feminism
Tomi Lahren

This Snowflake Won’t Melt

It’s fair to say that Tomi Lahren and I disagree on almost everything. She is a conservative political commentator who uses her show, Tomi, to criticize the Affordable Care Act, gun control legislation, the Black Lives Matter movement, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and anyone else who happens to catch her attention for acting too much like a “snowflake” (more on that in a moment). 

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Aliza Abusch-Magder in Kindergarten

What Not To Wear: Where I Learned That People Judge Me For How I Look

I’ve realized that the show’s one-dimensional view of identity is objectifying. Segments on the show include “How to Hide Your Tummy,” or “How to Create Curves.” At one point I heard those things and thought they were trying to be helpful. At second glance, these “how tos” project a single image of beauty, an image of beauty that has a big bust and a tight tummy. 

Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham and the White (Feminist) Elephant in the Room

A “white feminist” is a feminist who doesn’t acknowledge that the life experiences of white people are different from those of people of color, and therefore doesn’t practice what is called “intersectional feminism.” Dunham doesn’t acknowledge the fact that even though she’s part of an oppressed group as a woman, she still benefits from white privilege, and that isn’t inconsequential.

Ben Shapiro

Facts Sometimes Have Feelings

“Torah Judaism does not support abortion, Torah Judaism does not support same-sex marriage,” right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro explained with a confident smirk to a cheering audience of Yeshiva University students. I expect it’s a lot easier to blindly subscribe to one binary view on what is seen as one of the most enigmatic documents in existence, rather than to actively engage with this foundational text, and question its claims. 

Rising Voices Fellow Maya Jodidio Holding "The Crisis of Zionism"

Chuck Schumer, It’s Time to Prevent a Third Intifada

I understand where Chuck Schumer’s public stance comes from. He and his supporters are afraid of the “anti-Israel bias” at the UN, and they believe that anything passed by the organization is inherently anti-Zionist. Sadly, Senator Schumer and many other Jews have a misconstrued notion of what it means to be pro-Israel. 

Topics: Israel, Zionism
Betsy DeVos

Get Educated

Betsy DeVos and I are about as close to enemies as two advocates for children could be, and about as different as two white Midwestern women have ever been. We both believe in the power of education, but we see the purpose of education very differently.     

Dressing Room

A Call for Inclusion on the Catwalk

For the longest time, mirrors were my sworn enemy. Dressing rooms were the battlegrounds of a war between comfort and confidence, and my body was caught in the middle of it. On some days, every curve I had was subject to thorough self-scrutiny. Stomachs had to be sucked in, and spandex was a girl’s best friend. 

The Daughters of Zelophehad

The Fight to Break Barriers Continues

The recent presidential election proved that women haven't broken the highest glass ceiling just yet. For centuries, however, women have been breaking barriers and surmounting obstacles. In one of the first recorded cases, five revolutionary biblical women, Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah, were the first females to inherit land from their father, Zelophehad. 

Woman Running at Sunset

Rabbi Hillel on Stress Relief

I grimace. My stomach churns. My muscles tense up. Reading the news used to be my favorite pastime. But ever since the election, reading the news feels like sitting in the backseat during another kid’s Driver’s Ed lesson: being jerked around by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing as dangers lurk at every turn. American standards for truth and respect seem to be at an all-time low for my lifetime, and I’ve never felt so worried for the future.

Open Journal

Finding Myself and God in a Still, Small Voice

Teenage chaos is inevitable. I speak from experience when I say, plenty of mistakes are made and it can be hard to find our voice. We don’t always know how to grow. We don't always know how to learn from our mistakes. For the first time, our questions don’t have answers. 

Drop of Water Causing a Ripple Effect

The Magnitude of Miriam Through Midrash

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled to make the Torah meaningful to me.  In first grade, the boys in my class had already found strong and charismatic role models in Moses, Aaron, Abraham, and countless others. I, and the other girls in my class, were left to search for leaders in soft-spoken and often overlooked sisters and mothers. 

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Katy Ronkin at her Bat Mitzvah

Niddah v. Ronkin: How I was able to Reclaim the Mikveh

It’s so disheartening to me that our religious text calls something as natural as a woman’s period, “impure.” A period is nothing to be ashamed of, and this text only adds to the stigma surrounding them. 

Sunrise over a Lake

The Power of My Daily Renewal

After long afternoons turn into endless evenings and restless nights, I still wake up in the morning feeling wholly replenished. With the ring of my alarm clock comes the thought that I can take on the day, no matter how tired I am. 

Miriam Holding a Timbrel

The Forgotten Sister: Miriam

Miriam is one of many strong women described in the Jewish texts, and is far too often forgotten when we retell our stories. Two stories stand out to me in illustrating that Miriam is a truly wise and courageous woman: when Miriam saves her brother Moses in his youth, and when she leads the Jewish people in celebration after they successfully cross the Red Sea to safety. 

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Eden Olsberg at her Bat Mitzvah

Her mouth opens with wisdom, and words of loving kindness are on her lips

Laws, tradition, and God are words that typically come to mind when you think of Judaism. In my Bat Mitzvah parsha (Torah reading), Lech Lecha, these words are relevant, but not the ones that stuck out to me.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rising Voices." (Viewed on November 13, 2018) <https://jwa.org/blog/risingvoices>.

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