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Jewish Women, Amplified

  • I Learned it in the Archives
  • Loving Judith
  • My Mom Used To Say...
  • Ordering Coffee in Tel Aviv
  • Pauline Steinem Letter 1 (1910)

    I Learned it in the Archives: Women’s Rights Activism Runs in Steinem Family

    One file of suffrage correspondence held many items on letterhead from the Ohio Woman’s Suffrage Association, of which Harriet Taylor Upton was president for many years. The letterhead listed the names of all the officers, and one name in particular caught my attention.

    The woman’s name was Pauline Steinem.

  • "Judith Slaying Holofernes" by Artemisia Gentileschi, circa 1614-20 (cropped).

    Loving Judith

    Gentileschi’s rendition of Judith is a self-portrait—allowing her to wield a sword and take revenge, if only in fantasy. Judith Slaying Holofernes was the first piece of feminist art that really moved me. Even now, I get chills when I view it. I thought a lot about Judith this week, after dusting off my menorah and dutifully buying candles and gelt.

  • Ruth Zakarin and her mother crop

    My Mom Used To Say...

    It was her go-to statement whenever she was cajoling me into doing something she considered a mitzvah, especially when I wasn’t exactly jumping at the opportunity. She would look at me with that, you know, mom look, and say, “Do good things and tell people you’re Jewish.”

  • Caitlin Wolper Cover Crop

    Ordering Coffee in Tel Aviv

    Caitlin Wolper’s first poetry collection, Ordering Coffee in Tel Aviv, is a powerful account of a young Jewish woman’s first trip to Israel. In this chapbook, Wolper powerfully grapples with themes of gender, identity, and “the leash of Israel’s legacy.” Exclusively for JWA, Wolper reflects on her inspiration and creative process for two selected poems.

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Western Wall

Looking at the Kotel Through a Feminist Lens

I remember being four years old and writing notes to God to put into the fake Kotel we had constructed at my preschool. It was about three feet tall and made out of colorful building blocks, but to me, that was as good as it got.

Trans Jews Belong Here

Community Worth Fighting For

And then it hit me: I could change my Jewish community. I wasn’t going to be silent anymore about the ways my Jewish community was failing me; I had already done that for nineteen years.

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Lighting Candles, Linking Hands

Before it was safe for me to use matches, I remember looking forward to the first Shabbat when I could light my own candles. Now, when I light the candles on Friday nights, I feel empowered. I feel as if my mother and I are physically bringing Shabbat into our home as we strike our matches and light our candles.

Hanna Weinberg

Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Shalom Bayit

For too long some Jews have held onto the belief that abuse “just doesn’t happen” in the Jewish community. We, as Jews, are “better than that.” Nice Jewish boys don’t abuse anyone. But unfortunately, many of us know that this simply isn’t the case.

2018-2019 Rising Voices Fellow Shira Minsk in First Grade

Why Keep Passover When You Love Carbs?

Now that I’m out in the secular world, I have to decide what Judaism really means to me. I have to distinguish between the things that are actually important to me and the things I’ve just done out of habit.

Nina Baran's Tanakh

Interpreting the Torah Through a Feminist Lens

I got my own Tanakh and started doing some research. I looked up different passages, including some that I’d heard that seemed to go against my beliefs as a feminist and activist.

Women Voting in 1936

Keeping the Faith in Our Democracy

This election is a referendum on the character of our society. It’s up to all of us to use our voices and our votes to create a more just and compassionate country.

Lily Drazin at her Bat Mitzvah

Orthodoxy, Feminism, and Me

My family, being more progressive than most in our community, are strong believers in women reading from the Torah. My older sister, Jennie, read Torah at Robinson’s Arch, the egalitarian section of the Western Wall, for her Bat Mitzvah, so it was a given that I would do the same.

Clash of Clans

The Art of Attack

Video games are inherently sexist. I’ve accepted this fact as true and immutable ever since I began playing multiplayer games. From the way they’re marketed towards boys and the sexist character designs, to the anonymous players’ offensive language, everything about video games seems to scream at me: YOU ARE NOT MEANT TO BE HERE!

Topics: Holocaust
To All the Boys I've Loved Before

The Fashion of "To All the Boys I've Loved Before"

This summer, no movie captured our hearts like Netflix's To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Rafaella Rabinovich, the costume designer responsible for film's iconic looks, discusses the most popular outfits from the movie and the importance of representation in film.
Kotel Mechitza

Finding My Space

I visited the Western Wall twice as part of my school’s eighth grade trip to Israel—once on a weekday, and once on Friday night. These two experiences couldn’t have been more different.       

Sweet Pumpkin Coils

Recipe: Sweet Pumpkin Coils for Fall

Exclusively for JWA, Paola Gavin shares the perfect autumn recipe for sweet pumpkin coils from her cookbook, Hazana: Jewish Vegetarian Cooking.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

She Said "Hello"

Rabbi Leah Berkowitz reflects on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and explores the pressure placed on women to be "nice," even at the expense of their own wellbeing and safety.

Women's Liberation Movement Protest 1970

New Year, New Blog Editor!

Why is it important to amplify the voices of Jewish women? Because in a society that has historically refused women the right to speak and deemed our stories unimportant, it is a radical act to communicate our experiences.

Regina Persisted Book Cover

An Interview with Rabbi Sandy Sasso About Regina Jonas

JWA Executive Director Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Rabbi Sandy Sasso about her 2018 children’s book, about the world’s first woman rabbi. Watch their fascinating conversation here, and learn about Regina Jonas’s legacy and impact on Rabbi Sasso and the other women rabbis who followed in her footsteps.

Topics: Rabbis, Fiction
Gateway to the Moon Book Cover

The Origin Story of "Gateway to the Moon" by Mary Morris

In an exclusive piece for JWA, Mary Morris details her inspiration for her newest novel, Gateway to the Moon.

Fruit Geode Book Cover

Alicia Jo Rabins On Her New Poetry Collection, "Fruit Geode"

Alicia Jo Rabins’s second poetry collection, Fruit Geode, is a searingly personal account of making the transition to motherhood as a Jewish woman in the early years of the millenium. Exclusively for JWA, Rabins reflects on her inspiration and creative process for two selected poems.

Jewish Radical Feminism, by Joyce Antler

An Interview With Joyce Antler About "Jewish Radical Feminism"

JWA sat down with Joyce Antler, renowned social and cultural historian, to discuss her most recent book, Jewish Radical Feminism: Voices from the Women's Liberation Movement.

Girl Blowing Shofar

The Harm of Tshuvah: A Letter from an Abuse Survivor

People view forgiveness as the secret to healing, as if it isn’t a long painful process of flashbacks, relapsing, shame, medication, and therapy, as if there’s some easy way to heal that I have been too prideful to consider. To view forgiveness as the apex of survivors’ progress trivializes each person’s individual struggle.

Sisters

A Sisterly Homeland

As soon as I mentioned Birthright, my sister seemed to know exactly where our conversation was headed. “I’ve been meaning to ask you about that, too,” she said, reminding me that despite being my younger sister she always seems to be one step ahead of me.

Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler's Family Menorah

Building a Home

As a former Gender Studies major, I have a lot of hang-ups about the concept of building a home. ... I don’t know what kind of Jewish household I’m going to run yet—but I do know the joys of tradition, both old and new, are hardwired in me.

Rabbi Emma Gottlieb

The First

The “first female rabbi in a full-time congregational position in Cape Town” will not look and sound like other women rabbis. She will look and sound like me, because I am her. And because the only way I can authentically answer the question is to just keep being me; keep being the rabbi I already am (and am proud to be).

Rose Schneiderman

A Treasure Trove of Fiery Jewish Women Labor Activists

The directory of Jewish female labor activists is endless, from the better-known to the nearly invisible. [This] Labor Day, here is a list of Jewish female labor activists you never knew, or never knew were Jewish, or never knew said that, or never knew did that.

Topics: Labor
Photography then, photography now

A Picture and A Thousand Words

I have more or less thought that contemporary photo culture was a bit over-the-top. But I have a newfound appreciation for people’s obsession with taking photos of everything. I’m not fully letting go of my criticism of its ability to deceive--but rather than thinking of photography as cheapened, I am now choosing to appreciate its democratic value.

Topics: History
Chuppah

The Global Value of Peace in the Home

Shalom bayit is the Jewish concept of peace in the home. It refers to the domestic harmony that comes with a solid partnership between spouses. When we work against domestic violence and spousal abuse, we uphold this Jewish value. And when our government turns away asylum seekers fleeing domestic violence, it violates a core Jewish tenet.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women, Amplified." (Viewed on December 11, 2018) <https://jwa.org/blog>.

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"Stories of influential Jewish women in history remind me that there’s a long line of powerful Jewish women standin… https://t.co/i9oeZ9Y3qe
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Did you know that isn't the only women's rights activist in her family? at the… https://t.co/VAfRn97gvB
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