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Jewish Women, Amplified

  • It's About Time
  • Ghosting or Shabbat?
  • Size Matters
  • Make America Great Again
  • Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor

    A Female Doctor: It's About Time

    Over the past decade, some fans (as well as former stars of the show) have commented about the fact that while the infinitely curious and adventurous Doctor can regenerate into any body imaginable, somehow the actors that get chosen for the role have been uniformly white and male. Until now.
  • Ghosting Anxiety Image

    Is Your Crush Ghosting You or Do They Just Observe Shabbat?

    It’s Saturday evening, and it feels like your crush hasn’t talked to you in days. You’ve texted them five times with no response. Are you being ghosted? Or are they just resting for the Sabbath? We’ve created this helpful checklist to help you find out.

  • White Thin Bridesmaids Stock Photo

    Size Matters

    “We only carry sizes 1, 3 and 5. You could try Sears.”

    We’ve all heard the saying, “it’s funny because it’s true,” and that certainly applies to this iconic quote from the movie Mean Girls. Even though the average woman in the US is a size 16, many clothing stores and companies have decided that if you’re not thin, you don’t deserve fashion

  • Henrietta Szold and Julia Aronson Travel to Palestine aboard the Guiseppe Verdi, 1920

    Make America Great Again

    I love the past. I have not one but three typewriters. I had a penchant for corsets in high school and now will dress as a flapper any chance I get. I can’t stop reading about the Romanovs, or about 1920s Berlin when life was a cabaret, or about those secretly tawdry Victorians.

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Image from Muslim Ban Protest

When Women Take the Lead

On January 29, 2017, a lone gunman entered the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City during the evening prayer and opened fire. He injured nineteen people and killed six. Less than a month later, the windows of Al-Tawuba Mosque in Montreal were vandalized. These two incidents are just a few of the many that have been on the rise in recent months. One young Muslim woman, Mona Abdullah, took the feelings of frustration and anger that this violence caused and channeled them towards rebuilding the Muslim community in Canada.

Stranger, You are Meant to be Loved

Loving the Stranger Within

Even now, I find myself having trouble writing this post. Even now, after giving up dieting over 25 years ago, after writing songs about loving my bathing-suited body exactly the way it is, after years of asking doctors to treat me using the evidence of blood tests and blood pressure cuffs instead of only the numbers on the scale, after previous––largely positive––experiences writing on Torah and fat activism, there is still something in me that wishes I could somehow slip away from, or obscure, this stigmatized aspect of myself: my fatness.

Topics: Rabbis
"Girls" Promotional Image

A Voice of A Generation: Goodbye, Girls!

Like apparently everyone else in the world, we at JWA had some thoughts about the series finale of Girls. Two of our staffers, Emily Cataneo and Elena Hoffenberg, both millennials, feminists, and fans of the show, sat down and chatted about Girls, its legacy, and the best way to end a show about young women.

This conversation is also the fourth installment in our Reading Our Rights series.

Image from Climate March, April 29

Climates of Change

In 1905, New York was a city of seemingly boundless opportunity — the entryway into a land where new jobs, secure homes, and potential legacies were within reach — even for the most destitute of immigrants, of whom a significant percentage were young, single Jewish women.

Sally Priesand, 1972

On Not Going to Rabbinical School

Let's be clear: I did not make it to the application process for rabbinical school. I didn't even request an application. I came close, but luckily, before I did anything, I managed to figure out the difference between a calling and an impulse. In this case, I probably should have felt a little more called to actually engage with the Torah, instead of hoping that my ambivalence would resolve itself. (Update: it has not.)

Topics: Rabbis
King Solomon's Table, Book Cover

Joan Nathan on Food, Travel, and Tradition

At the Jewish Women’s Archive we believe that good food and good stories will always bring us together. When both the food and the stories are provided by a culinary Jewish superstar like Joan Nathan, forming these kinds of connections is easy. From tarts to tagines, from lox to latkes, Joan’s recipes have brought families together for decades.

Topics: Food Writing
RVF Fellow Diana Myers with a Copy of Lilith

Overcoming Opposition

It takes great courage to challenge authority when you’re a high school student. At that stage in your life, school comprises much of your world, and your relationship with school determines many aspects of your future. Although many school administrations might not encourage dissent, learning to stand up to injustice is as essential a skill for a young person to learn as calculus or chemistry. Of course, administrations are not the only unjust systems that teenagers typically encounter at school: it also takes great courage to stand up against the rigid social hierarchy that characterizes many student populations.

Topics: Activism
MRA-Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony's Secret Pro-Life Agenda

Part 3 of the series Reading Our Rights

Did you know that Susan B. Anthony was a bomb-throwing pro-life crusader who believed that aborting babies was tantamount to murder?

Topics: History
Shabbat Candles

Shabbat is a Two-Person Job

As an assistant rabbi, I'd found a rhythm: simple Friday night meals with friends; long, lazy Saturday afternoons to myself. Someday, I hoped to be partnered, and develop a new system, similar to my senior rabbi and his wife.

Topics: Rabbis
Rising Voices Fellow, Madisen Siegel '16-'17 at January Retreat

Being Fearlessly Feminist

Radical things happen when women come together. Whether it’s to plan a strike, march for the right to vote, or use their networks to spread information about birth control, when women come together, the establishment trembles. As Bella Abzug reminds us, “the establishment is made up of little men, very frightened.” If history is any indication, women who are brave enough to speak out can create an earthquake of social change, shattering any delusions little men may have about women and women’s equality. 

Topics: Feminism
Cropped Pro-Choice Protestor, 2010

Pro-Life, Pro-Choice: What Does it All Mean, Anyway?

Part 2 of the Series Reading Our Rights 

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “pro-choice” as “favoring the legalization of abortion.

That's it. End of blog post.

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellows during book swap

Rising Voices Fellows Daring to be Themselves

With so many issues and challenges facing the world today, it’s easy to believe that effecting change must happen on a large scale in order to make an impact. However, small actions can often make big waves, and for teenage girls, one of the most radical and brave things you can do is be yourself. In a world that actively encourages teens to conform, sit still, and stay silent, having the courage to be your authentic self is no small feat, and it can have a lasting impact on the surrounding culture.

Vegetarian Matzoh Ball Soup Final

Vegetarian Matzoh Ball Soup

Happy (almost) Pesach!

I have been a vegetarian for about seven years now, and one of the only foods I regret giving up is good matzoh ball soup. My mom has made it for holidays my whole life, and I miss it. Nothing’s better than eating matzoh ball soup, loaded with chicken and vegetables, and sitting with your family during the holidays.

Topics: Recipes, Passover
Doctored Rosa Stokes Image

When We Talk About Abortion

Part 1 of the series Reading Our Rights

When North Carolina began debating bathroom laws last year, the issue was so new, so out of left field, that it was easy for liberals to take a step back and say, “We don’t have evidence of trans women assaulting other women in bathrooms. Most threats to women come from straight, cis-gender men. This law has nothing to do with protecting women; it’s purely a tool to harass transgender people.”

The Sisterhood 50: America's Influential Women Rabbis

Success is a Loaded Word

In the rabbinate, success is a loaded word. As Sally Priesand describes in her video interview, a generation ago everyone could describe a successful rabbi. He would be the senior rabbi of a large synagogue in a large city, and he would have a long-term contract. Ideally the synagogue would be growing. That was success.

Topics: Rabbis
Charoset Meringue Cookies

Charoset-Inspired Meringue Cookies

Hi, everyone!! Passover is fast approaching, and if you are anything like me, you are dreading Passover Madness (that’s when you’ve been keeping kosher for Passover totally fine for four or five days and suddenly you’re furious at everyone and everything in your life).

Topics: Passover
Sally Mack and Rosika Schwimmer

The Women Who Fought for Pacifism

On November 1, 1961, 50,000 women in 60 cities across the United States walked out of their jobs and homes to protest nuclear proliferation. With the slogan “End the Arms Race, not the Human Race,” they communicated their many fears about nuclear war including the threat of irradiated breast milk poisoning their children.

Topics: Activism
Jojo Schwartz Jacobson with Rabbi Rabbi Suzie Schwartz Jacobson

Reimagining ‘Rebbetzin’: On Being a Feminist Rabbinic Partner

Sometimes I wonder if I'm not feminist enough.

I clean the house, and I bake challah, and I complain to my spouse about coming home too late in the evenings. I’m a great rebbetzin––but isn’t a rebbetzin a bizarre and archaic role that enables the patriarchy?

Topics: Rabbis
The Beautiful Possible Book Cover

The Beautiful Possible: An Interview with Amy Gottlieb

In The Beautiful Possible, Amy Gottlieb traces the lives of rabbis and spiritual seekers who are connected in an intricate web of love and secrets, following them from the ashrams of India to the suburbs of 1950s America. JWA sat down with Gottlieb to discuss how she came to write her first novel, the influence of poetry, and how characters can surprise you.

Topics: Fiction
Activist Linda Sarsour

Are Feminism and Zionism Incompatible? Read Up On the Debate

If you spend any time following hot-button feminist issues on Twitter, you've probably seen the recent debates over whether feminism is incompatible with Zionism. This conversation—or, perhaps, conflagration would be a better word—erupted earlier this month when an op-ed by Bustle editor Emily Shire appeared in the New York Times. Shire questioned whether there was space for Zionists like herself in the International Women's Day Strike, since strike leaders had listed the decolonization of Palestine as one of their platforms.

Topics: Feminism
Kubzansky Family Portrait

President Trump's Proposed Budget and The Loss of American Potential

In my journal is a piece of paper that’s older than I am. I’ve been carrying it around for some time and reading it at almost every available opportunity, though at this point, I know it almost by heart.

Emma Goldman Mug Shot, 1901

Every Emma Needs Her Sidekick

This Women’s History Month, the Jewish Women’s Archive is celebrating the thousands of Jewish women who have participated in activism and resistance in the United States. We all know the names of the most famous women who shaped these movements, from Gloria Steinem to Emma Goldman: the women with the megaphones, with the loud voices and stirring speeches, the women whose names made it into the history books. But one person alone can never make a movement.

Topics: History
Mrs. Sidney Allen

The Challenge of Identification in Archives

This article is part of the series From the Archives. From the Archives highlights primary sources that have changed the course of history, for an individual, a community, or the world.

Denise Eger Reading Torah

Discovering a Feminine Rabbinic Look

In her video reflecting on how women rabbis have changed the rabbinate for men, Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson highlights the tension that many rabbis have felt between their personal role (partner, parent, friend, someone with hobbies, etc.) with their professional role (visiting the sick, leading services, attending board meetings, etc.).
Topics: Rabbis
Pro-Life Marchers

Why Pro-Life Women Have No Place in the Feminist Movement

Several weeks ago, the New York Times published an op-ed by one Lauren Enriquez, public relations manager at the Human Coalition, an organization whose website refers to legalized abortion as “the worst holocaust in human history” (which: really?). In her article, Enriquez took umbrage with the Women's March organizers' refusal to ally with pro-life feminist groups.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women, Amplified." (Viewed on July 20, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog>.

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On the power of gossip, and why insulting it just might be sexist. https://t.co/sacPvt6UlQ
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Hmmm controversial indeed. Thoughts? https://t.co/0jNpssteyI