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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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From the Archives: To Volunteer or Not to Volunteer? The Betty Friedan Conundrum

Betty Friedan helped pave the way for women in the workforce, and the world is better for it. But, contrary to her early advice, we should not forget the contributions of volunteers to our society.

Good Jew or Bad Jew?

Are you a Good Jew or a Bad Jew?

This anxiety of “am I Jewish enough” is part of a larger historical problem, one of power dynamics and exclusionary politics. ... The “right” or “wrong” way to be Jewish has long been a narrative controlled by those in power.

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Give Me The Break

Michelle Wolf isn’t a “nice lady,” and neither am I. Screw being nice. Netflix just cancelled The Break with Michelle Wolf after just one season, and I’m not having it.

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Respect Your Elder (Millennial)

Having watched all of Iliza’s specials, read her book, and watched much of her talk show, there are any number of aspects of her comedy I could talk about. I’d like to focus on what I see as her evolution as a feminist, paired with the rising trend of comedy specials that challenge our perceptions of what comedy can be.

Cropped Image of RBG portrait

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Michigan, and Me

When I think of William W. Cook’s virulent desire to refuse admission to all Jews at the University of Michigan ... I am comforted and emboldened by the thought of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. William W. Cook would not have liked the notorious RBG.

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Cropped Image of Emily Raskin and her 5 year old daughter Hannah Roan Raskin

Your Jewish Feminist Protest Toolkit

We Jewish women are no strangers to protest or dissent. We’re loud. We’re opinionated. And we mobilize. Did you forget sunscreen at your last rally? Failed to create a quippy poster that captured your rage when you marched for gun rights? If you find yourself anxious to make change but unsure about what to bring, we've got you covered.

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When I think of Ruth Bader Ginsburg...

With RBG's influence is as critical as ever, JWA put together our own compilation of letters celebrating and honoring the #Supreme Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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Is 93Queen the Face of Hasidic Feminism?

Paula Eiselt is a honest enough filmmaker to represent the compromises that her protagonist makes and the tensions that develop within the unit as a result.

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New Beginnings, Long-Distance Love, and Mother-Activist Woes

I’m about to start law school in another city, and I’m really excited. The only problem? I will be leaving my partner behind, so our relationship will be long-distance for three years. I’m really nervous about it.

Composite Image of Amanda Knox and the Scarlet Letter Cover from 1934

The Scarlet Letter Reports

"The rest of the world is not kind when it comes to women's sexuality.”

No, it certainly isn’t. It wasn’t kind to Lilith, who was demonized for asserting a sexual preference. It wasn’t kind to “witches” in Salem, who were hanged for “challenging Puritan values.” It wasn’t kind to Monica Lewinsky, the young Jewish intern who was scapegoated to protect the powerful position of an older man.

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In Willow's Defense

From my initial pre-teen viewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with my mom, to the countless times I have revisited the series since, I have always adored Willow Rosenberg, Buffy’s Jewish best friend who is lovable, dorky, and consistently overshadowed by the dramatic fight scenes, the messy romances, and everything having to do with Buffy Summers. That is, until the infamous sixth season when her witchy powers become her downfall.

Image from A Yes on 3 Rally

Young People Will Always Be Powerful

Every Tuesday in the cramped living room of the Beacon Hill Friends House, I transform into someone who’s not only their equal but their mentor, their advisor, their trainer, and their coach. Every Tuesday, I’m not some powerless queer kid scared at the state of the world, but a powerful Jewish organizer with the ability to engage dozens of people in our movement.

Eighth Grade Movie Image

Eighth Grade, #MeToo, and Me

One scene from this movie that I can’t get out of my head, is one that, in the age of #MeToo, speaks volumes about not-quite-right sexual encounters at a young age.

Topics: Feminism, Film
Hannah Gadsby and Omi

How Hannah Gadsby Helped Me Reclaim My Omi’s Story

I thought Omi’s story should have been collected because I thought I knew what her story was. I had created an easy narrative that both mythologized and sanctified her. Unknowingly, I forged an account of Omi as a “perfect woman” who spent her days working and her nights taking care of her son.

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J.A.P. - Jewish American ... Proletariat?

I am not, by an stretch of the imagination, a princess, dripping in designer merch after swiping my dad’s credit card. My mom grew up in an a working-class home with four sisters and was raised almost solely by her mother.

Carrie Fisher in When Harry Met Sally

The Five Most Feminist Moments from When Harry Met Sally

Imagine my delight when I discovered that, much like a fine wine and the old bag of M&Ms I recently found in the console of my car, Nora Ephron’s classic, smart, script has not only aged well but has in fact been improved by a growing social awareness that women shouldn’t be shamed for knowing what they want and how they want it.

Topics: Feminism, Film
Images of TV Jewish Moms (2018)

The (Jewish) Madonna Complex

The Jewish mother loves her children more than anything else, and in this, she wants a better, easier life for her children than she had. Whether that is as origin to our Jewishness, or as learned behavior in the face of bias and antisemitism, it imprints on our mother role and repeats across generations.

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Minnah Stein with Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie

A Tale of Two Cities and Their Mayors

Getting to intern with the mayor of Sarasota, Shelli Freeland Eddie, has been one of the best experiences of my life. I want to have a career that allows me to help people, and working with the mayor has enabled me to learn from the best. I’m so proud that our city has a strong woman as mayor who young girls in my community can look up to.

I’ve learned so much from all of the experiences my internship has offered me, but my favorite internship days are the days when after the City Council meetings are over, I trade my notepad and flats for a Girls Inc. t-shirt and sneakers. I leave the City of Sarasota and go to Dream Harbor, the mock city run by the girls at Girls Inc.

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Video Interview with Rachel Kadish

“What does it take for a woman to not be defeated when the whole world is telling her to sit down and mind her manners?” This is the question that Rachel Kadish, author of the 2017 National Jewish Book Award-winning historical novel of The Weight of Ink, wanted to answer when she sat down twelve years ago to write this ambitious and mesmerizing novel.

Topics: History, Fiction
Max M. at his Bar Mitzvah

It Takes a Village

Over the years, I’ve been to countless bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies. While each one has been unique to the specific teen being honored, all of the services have been catered to the typical Jewish kid: one who can read English and some Hebrew, memorize prayers, and stand at the bimah and speak about about his or her Jewish education and life experiences. In February, I had the honor of being part of a bar mitzvah that was unlike any of the others I had previously attended. My family friend Max became a bar mitzvah without speaking a single word.

Market at Minho by Sonia Delaunay, 1915

The Art of Gender Representation

The words to SZA’s “Drew Barrymore” ring in my ears as I write this; the song serves as an anthem for the teen angst and insecurities I’ve been feeling since I got home from school today. Feeling lonely, feeling like I’m not living up to the standard of female beauty: SZA articulates the thoughts that have been running through my mind.

LGBTQ Quiz Cover Photo (Excluded)

Quiz: Which LGBTQ Activist Are You?

As we work to create a better and more inclusive future for all, take our quiz to figure out which pioneering Jewish activist you are!

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

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8 hr
"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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in 1947, Dr. Gerty Theresa Radnitz Cori became the first Jewish woman, as well as the first American wom… https://t.co/WbxCYOdkss