Rising Voices

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

The Forgotten Sister: Miriam

by Madisen Siegel

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. 

Topics: Feminism, Passover, Bible
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

by Eden Olsberg

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.

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Isabel Kirsch at her Bat Mitzvah

Public Responsibility: From Biblical Consent To Planned Parenthood

by Isabel Kirsch

When I first read my assigned Bat Mitzvah parsha (Torah portion), Ki Teitzei, my response was one of shock and disgust. The parsha discusses the guidelines for punishing an engaged virgin who lies with another man, outlining different punishments depending upon where the activity occurs.

Sarah, Hagar, and Abraham

Are You There God? It’s Me, Hagar

by Diana Myers

The matriarchs are complex women, who do not always behave “perfectly,” or in the manner we would expect of our biblical female role models. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the story of Hagar, Sarah’s one-time slave, and Abraham’s one-time concubine.

Biblical Deborah

My Gateway to Jewish Feminism

by Lili Klayman

When I was younger, I learned about a woman who drove a people from war times to peace. She was widely respected in a male dominated era, and she was one of only seven women who spoke to God directly. The protagonist of the story is the prophetess Deborah. 

Timbrel

Leading with Timbrels: Another Side to the Passover Story

by Molly Pifko

Every year, my temple holds a women’s seder on the second night of Passover. This ritual has always been important to me because throughout my Jewish education, I have clung to stories as the basis for my learning. 

Hanukkah Bush

The Hidden History of Hanukkah

by Tess Kelly

We all know the story. The courageous Maccabees, the oil that lasted for a miraculous eight nights. We all know the branded fable, the great tale of Hanukkah that has been recited again and again in synagogues and religious schools forever. But it isn’t the whole story. 

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

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

by Diana Myers

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. 

Topics: Children, Fiction
Alexandra Fine and Janet Lieberman

Alive with Pleasure and Passion: Lessons from a vibrator entrepreneur

by Aliza Abusch-Magder

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. 

Topics: Entrepreneurs
Anita Pollitzer (cropped)

Looking Back to the Future

by Eden Olsberg

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

by Tess Kelly

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. 

Topics: Fiction, Poetry
Justine Wise Polier

Women Who Fight for Us

by Abigail Fisher

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

by Maya Jodidio

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.

2011 Wisconsin Budget Protest

Raushenbush, Wisconsin Workers, and Me

by Sarah Biskowitz

When I first discovered the Jewish Women’s Archive, my concern and love for my home state led me to immediately look for a fellow Jewish feminist who was a Wisconsinite like I am.

Topics: Law
Harriet Fleischl Pilpel

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

by Katy Ronkin

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

by Madisen Siegel

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

by Lili Klayman

In her obscene, outspoken, and controversial ways, Amy Schumer has shaped comedy; and with that, she has shaped society's views on women.

Topics: Comedy
Theater

Rehearsing For a Better World

by Molly Pifko

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

by Hannah Himmelgreen

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

by Isabel Kirsch

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

by Madisen Siegel

Ask any middle schooler and they will tell you that lunch and recess are treasured time.

Stock image of a woman holding an iPhone

Texts about Hillary

by Diana Myers

In the midst of all these exciting political goings-on, I receive a text. “f*** this country,” it reads.

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Hannah Himmelgreen Visiting Colombia

Politics and My Dual Identity

by Hannah Himmelgreen

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
Cartoon Image of a Woman with a Thought Bubble

Tongue-Tied

by Emma Bauchner

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

by Lili Klayman

“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

The JWA Podcast

Can We Talk?

listen now