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Jewish Women, Amplified

  • Me Too
  • A Dance on the Bimah
  • Giving Thanks on Sukkot
  • Her Book of Separation
  • Mitali Holding a Femininjas Sign (cropped)

    To Men Questioning #MeToo

    I want you to see how freaking brave these folks are for coming forward, and I want you to realize that we're doing it *for your sake*, to help *you* see the magnitude of this problem. We are already plenty aware.

  • Woman Reading Torah

    A Dance on the Bimah

    I sensed some apprehension in the sanctuary as we settled into our seats for Rosh Hashanah services. The congregation was experiencing a first: a woman was leading the clergy for the first time in congregational history. Joining her on the bimah was our second rabbi, also a woman. I knew there were some in the congregation who wondered what it would be like to begin this new year without male leadership at the top.

  • Sukkot Harvest

    A Bicultural Jew Gives Thanks on Sukkot

    So, my journey from New York to Texas has resulted in my viewing myself as a bicultural Jew: I have had the luxury and privilege of taking Jewishness for granted and I also know the depths of Jewish illiteracy and intolerance that plague parts of the country and some institutions of higher education.

  • Tova and The Book of Separation

    Tova Mirvis’ Journey from Orthodoxy to Memoir

    Tova Mirvis is the author of the recently released The Book of Separation, a memoir chronicling her growing doubts about her Orthodox faith and her ultimate decision to leave after forty years in the community.

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Judith Rosenbaum and daughter march on Washington

Marching Forward as a Movement

On Saturday, I joined hundreds of thousands of people in Washington, DC, to march for women’s rights, human rights, and to represent the strong resistance against the bigotry and disrespect of the new administration. I’ve participated in many marches before, but this one felt unique: the largest, most peaceful, most loving and fired up gathering I’ve ever experienced. The Women’s March was both a balm and an outlet for the fear and disillusionment of the recent months, and I hope just a warm-up for the organizing and resistance to come.

Abby Richmond and her friends, campaigning for Hillary Clinton

Continuing Hillary's Work

Tuesday, November 8, 2016, started out as a great day. At 6:45 AM, I eagerly jumped out of bed, brushed my teeth, and put on my “Hillary: Smashing the Glass Ceiling 2016” t-shirt and Rosie the Riveter socks. Once I got to school, I was too excited to focus in any of my classes. During lunch, I took some cute pictures with my friend who was also sporting Hillary apparel, and confidently voted in my school’s mock election (Hillary won with 73%). I was so pumped that I even managed to ignore the cluster of boys that hissed and yelled “Hillary for prison” at me on my way to math class.

Bella Abzug at a Women Strike for Peace Protest

#JWAmegaphone: Voices of Power and Protest

At JWA, we believe that history is not only about the past, but also about the present—it’s unfolding every day. Recent events have made us more keenly aware than ever that we’re living through history in the making. And not just witnessing it—we are part of it, makers of history with each action we take.

Taken together, those actions tell a story—a story about how people protest, honor, resist, and remember; about how we struggle, hope, dream, and make change.

Hidden Figures Movie Still

Hidden Figures, Hidden Stories

There is a repeated scene throughout Hidden Figures in which Katherine Goble Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) types her name into the bylines of her reports only to be told that “computers” (most of whom are women) don’t author papers; she must erase her identity from her work. This scene helps explain why the contributions of Johnson and other women were forgotten for so long, but it also says something important about which stories, and whose contributions, we validate as part of our culture.

Topics: Film
ThirdLove Bras

A New Love with ThirdLove: How One Jewish Woman is Taking on the Sexist Lingerie Industry

Oh, bras. Is there any garment more ubiquitous and more controversial to the modern Western feminist? We’ve all spent too much money on a bra that fell apart too soon; we’ve all chafed under uncomfortable underwire or too-tight straps; we’ve all wrestled with the question of whether to wear a bra at all. At first glance, intimate apparel might seem like a trivial topic but think about this: these garments have literally shaped millions of women’s bodies every single day for centuries. They have a concrete, physical presence in so many of our daily lives.

Women March for Hope, Oct. 2016

Women March, and Speak Out, for Peace

On January 21, 2017, women across the country will come together to march in protest of a Trump presidency. Earlier this year, across the world, another passionate group of women rose up to speak out against violence and to stand in support of peace. The Women Wage Peace (WWP) movement planned and executed their signature event this October: the March for Hope.

Topics: Protests
Members of the Commission on the Ordination of Women Rabbis

The One Personal Question You SHOULD Ask a Rabbinical Candidate in an Interview

If you want to ask your (future) rabbi a personal question, it should be: “How can we best support you?”

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post comparing rabbinical placement to dating. It was meant to be lighthearted advice for my colleagues as they searched for “the one”: a congregation that would nurture and challenge them during the next phase of their career. Now, as some of my new colleagues enter the job market for the first time, I have some advice for the search committees.

Topics: Rabbis
Carrie Fisher

Jewish Intergalatic Princess

I was five when I saw Star Wars for the first time at my friend Danny’s house. We loved it so much that we spent the next two years playing games where we clambered up on rocks and swung down on tree branches like we were maneuvering through the Death Star together.

Topics: Comedy, Film, Memoirs
Rachel Weisz and Deborah Lipstadt

Jewish Women's Top Ten Memorable Moments in 2016

I’ll admit it: 2016 has brought some seriously challenging moments, and I won’t be sad to turn the calendar’s page to a fresh new year. But before we move boldly ahead into 2017, let’s reflect on the standout moments—both highs and lows—for Jewish women this year. In no particular order, here are my top ten memorable moments for Jewish women in 2016 ...

A Bintel Brief Main Image

A Bintel Brief: An Interview with Liana Finck

How many ways can you tell a story? To tell hers, artist and graphic novelist Liana Finck combines history, humor, and art in her book, A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York.

GeltFiend's Hanukkah Sweater

The Rise of the Hanukkah Sweater

For many years, while Christmas celebrators were dressing in their finest ugly holiday apparel, those of us who wanted to celebrate Hanukkah were left out in the cold, sans kitschy knitwear. What was a festive Jew to do while the Christians flaunted their light-up Rudolf sweatshirts and tinsel appliques? How could she attend a party without a dancing rabbi knit into her shirt? Could she light the menorah with no dreidels emblazoned on her sleeves?

Luckily, those days are behind us.

Cover Art for "Judith in the Enemy's Tent"

Judith the Activist

In times of struggle, uncertainty, and fear, we are called to act. In the recent words of Charles Blow in the New York Times, “America needs you … now. Speak up.”

But, for those of us who do not identify as activists—those of us who are speaking up for the first time within the political system, those of us who are realizing that we need to move off of social media into more active engagement—it is easy to become discouraged and overwhelmed.

Reading is Sexy

Slut Lit: The Literary Feminist's Friend or Foe?

The Bed Moved, a new short story collection by Rebecca Schiff, features 23 stories with young female narrators. One of these women finds porn on her dead dad’s computer; another––a community college professor–– struggles with difficult, unmotivated students; still another wrestles with the question of whether to break up with a partner during a birthday trip to Boston.

Topics: Publishing
Good Girls Revolt

Did Amazon Just Cancel Feminism?

The night before the election, I was too anxious to sleep, and in an effort to distract myself, I binge-watched the new Amazon series, Good Girls Revolt. Though the events it fictionalizes—when women brought a sex discrimination suit against Newsweek magazine—took place 47 years ago, it felt timely. As we stood on the cusp (I thought) of shattering the presidential glass ceiling, I reveled in watching young women in the waning days of the 1960s come into a sense of their own potential and their right to equal opportunity.

Topics: Television
Main Image: Sufganiyot Powdered Donuts

Sufganiyot (Jelly-Filled Donuts)

Many American Jews are surprised to discover that donuts—specifically, jelly donuts—are a traditional Hanukkah food. Eating donuts at Hanukkah dates back several centuries in Europe, and is associated with the holiday for the same reason latkes are—foods fried in oil are symbolic of the Hanukkah miracle of a small amount of oil lasting for eight days.

Topics: Recipes
Playbill Image for Shades, a 2016 play by Paula J. Caplan

Shades and Stories: An Interview with Paula J. Caplan

The people who make stories a central focus of their life come in all genders, colors, creeds, and professions. JWA was lucky enough to speak with Paula J. Caplan, who first championed women’s stories as a clinical and research psychologist,and has now turned her attention, as a playwright, to the struggles that returning veterans face. Her newest play, Shades, is at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York until December 17th.

Topics: Plays
Linda Cohen, with father, in Vermont

Finding Your God's Work: The Gift of Loss

When my father died in 2006, I spent six months in a place that felt unbalanced, out of sync, and unsettled. I needed to sit with the feelings I was having and be present with the opportunity that grief had offered me.  It's baffling to me that today an entire decade has passed since my father's death. The journey and life lessons that have come from this loss, and other losses since, have forever changed me.

Topics: Memoirs
Ruth Bader Ginsburg from MAKERS

When I think of Ruth Bader Ginsburg...

One of this year’s JWA Book Club picks is Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s inspiring new collection of writings, My Own Words. In one chapter, her late husband Marty shares a story about the D.C. Circuit clerks who, in honor of her fiftieth birthday, collected “when-I-think-of-Ruth-Bader-Ginsburg” letters that they compiled into a book of warm recollections.

Main Plating: Sweet and Savory Pull-Apart Challah

Sweet and Savory Challah Rolls

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you are able to enjoy the holiday, but if Thanksgiving is a stressful holiday for you, I hope you are at least able to enjoy some good food. In pursuit of that goal––I present Sweet and Savory Challah Pull-Apart Rolls!

These are so good! They’re great to share with your family, whether you want a sweet or a savory bread roll; and they’re fun, delicious, and a perfectly decadent companion to your Thanksgiving feast, or really any large meal event.

Topics: Recipes
Thanksgiving-themed Knish Plating

Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Knishes

Hi, everyone! Incredibly, along with everything else happening in the world right now, it’s almost Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving, honestly, and after what has undoubtedly been an extremely difficult year, I can think of nothing better than being around family and/or loved ones.  

This is Where I Leave You, Main Image, Film, 2015

Sitting Shiva Post-Election

It wasn’t until people started calling me on Wednesday to express their condolences for “my loss” that I realized that I am grieving. I’m not grieving because I am disappointed that we didn’t shatter the glass ceiling, or because my party didn’t “win.” I am grieving because a candidate was elected to this country’s highest office by running on a platform of hatred and fear. I am grieving for the America I knew, for all of the setbacks that women and minorities are going to suffer, and for all the progress that was about to be undone.

National Organization of Women Meeting

Stories matter, now more than ever

Stories will heal us—individually and as a nation. So reach out to someone and share a story or engage in conversation. We offer these questions as conversation starters.

Clinton Family Portrait

The Radical Shift When Women Lead

So, you want me to explain why I think Hillary Clinton should be president without mentioning her gender. And I get it. I’m not sure why you need me to defend her against someone as unqualified as her opponent, but I do understand the question. I hear you when you say that Hillary’s gender can’t be the sole reason to elect her. I didn’t want Carly Fiorina to be president. Her vision for our country was wholly at odds with mine, and her gender didn’t outweigh that. Arguing that we should not elect our next president solely on the basis of gender is a totally understandable argument.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season Two Poster

Second Season with Crazy

I started watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend during the long days of summer. I had seen earlier videos by Rachel Bloom, the creator and star of CEG, including a “Santa Baby” parody for Hanukkah and her interpretation of a bar mitzvah student’s day dream. I pressed “play” hoping  her television show would bring the same well-produced music videos and irreverence about stereotypes––especially stereotypes of Jewish women. The first season surpassed my expectations.

Lea Rubel, An Advocate for Senior Rights in Detroit

From the Archives: The Power of a Voice

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.

Topics: Civil Rights

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women, Amplified." (Viewed on October 18, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog>.

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4 hr
Check out this documentary about women in the comic book industry! It was recently released on Netflix. https://t.co/JHVkwIU9Ze
6 hr
"The witches are coming, but not for your life. We’re coming for your legacy." https://t.co/sySkfyJZJm