This website is made possible by generous donations from users just like you. $18 helps keep JWA online for one day.  Please consider making a gift to JWA today!
Close [x]

 

You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

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.

Subscribe to Jewish Women, Amplified and get notifications sent to your email.
Other Recent Stories

Which LGBTQ Activist Are You?

A

sk Emma

Got a question on life, love, or anarchy? Ask Emma! All submissions are confidential.

Stay Connected

9 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
12 hr
Did you know that isn't the only women's rights activist in her family? at the… https://t.co/VAfRn97gvB
13 hr
in 1947, Dr. Gerty Theresa Radnitz Cori became the first Jewish woman, as well as the first American wom… https://t.co/WbxCYOdkss
All posts
The Sisterhood 50: America's Influential Women Rabbis

Finding My Way Back to Rachel Adler

In fact, for most of my life, I rejected the notion that I was a feminist. I was a self-decribed equalist. I did not want to be associated with anything resembling the bra-burning, Lilith-reading farbrente feminists I had learned about in school.

Topics: Rabbis
Rising Voices Fellow Emma Mair at her Bat Mitzvah

The First Hero

Robert Lappin, Jewish philanthropist and the man who’s foundation sent me to Israel this past summer, has said that interfaith families who choose to raise their kids Jewish are the heroes of Judaism. With Jews making up only .2% of the global population, Judaism is both the oldest and the smallest monotheistic religion, meaning that families who tackle raising their children Jewish in this Christian-normative society are much needed. 

Sheryl Sandberg with Option B

Finding Strength From Our Foremothers

Like many Americans, I owe an enormous debt to my ancestors who traveled here in search of a better life. Their courage created my family’s future. And in particular, I feel a special bond to the long line of women, stretching back generations, whose boldness and sacrifices made my life possible. 

 Lesléa Newman Author Photo

The Lovely Lesléa Newman

Are there any boundaries that Lesléa Newman hasn’t broken? In 1989, she made headlines and history with the controversial Heather Has Two Mommies, a book that brought the LGBTQ experience to the children’s section of the bookstore. This month, her latest poetry collection, Lovely, hits bookstores. I talked with Newman about these radical themes, as well as about the accessibility of poetry, fairytales, and, of course, Jewish hair.

Topics: Poetry
Make America Great Again Hat

Picking Battles

Not to be dramatic, but my blood boils whenever I see someone in Trump paraphernalia. Luckily, this is rarely an issue for me. My area of New York is notoriously liberal (Hillary Clinton lives 15 minutes from my house!), and I rarely encounter anyone diametrically opposed to me. However, I’m reminded on occasion that my town isn’t always the liberal bubble I make it out to be. 

Ask Me Another Rubiks Cube

That Time I Apologized for Winning

As it turns out, I’m pretty good at word games, and I like to win. Once I figured the pattern of the game, I was able to answer the questions quickly and correctly. I didn’t even have a problem with the buzzer, as I’d feared. Somehow, I also had the mental bandwidth to realize that my behavior made it apparent that I was completely uncomfortable with winning.

Topics: Feminism
March on Washington for Gun Control

A L’chaim to Gun Control

“He who saves one life… is as if he saves an entire universe. He who destroys a life… is as if he destroys an entire universe” (Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:5).

Medical Care at the Fresh Air Camp

From the Archives: Who Will Tell Your Story?

The lyrics caught my attention. It was a quiet day in the archive and a volunteer asked if she could play the Hamilton soundtrack. As a history buff, I’ve been fascinated by the musical since it hit Broadway. But on this day, it was one song in particular that spoke to me: “Who lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.”

Topics: History
Josie Rosman at her Bat Mitzvah

Whose Bat Mitzvah Is It Anyway?

Becoming a bat mitzvah was the most spiritual event of my life thus far. Being surrounded by my friends, family, and community as I claimed my place as a Jewish adult was exactly as awe-inspiring and invigorating as I’d been promised it would be. The only dark spot of my day came just after services, during the celebratory brunch, when my uncle informed me that my interpretation of the Torah was wrong.

Sofia Gardenswartz with Friend Diana

Dialogue with Diana

October 2016 was a difficult month. It was the month that Donald Trump started to become a truly scary candidate to me. It was also the month in which my family lost one of our beloved dogs to cancer. Amidst all this, my family was hosting a Chinese exchange student, Diana, in our home for a couple weeks. She was incredibly supportive and understanding as my family grappled with these tumultuous events.

Dorrit Corwin Cropped

Oh Come All Ye Interfaithful

The holiday season doesn’t truly begin until the glimmering menorah ornament is carefully placed on my family’s Christmas tree. It isn’t a Hanukkah bush; it’s a Christmas tree. I’ve been raised following Jewish tradition while also acknowledging Catholic customs, and I’m lucky enough to have grown up in an environment that has encouraged my complex Jewish identity, and helped me build a versatile and sturdy religious foundation.

Michelle Wolf (2016)

Nice Ladies

I’m not a nice lady. I express my (many) opinions loudly, I’ve perfected the sarcastic comment as an art form, and I’m the proud owner of both a copper IUD and a sweatshirt that reads “I’ve got 99 problems and white heteronormative patriarchy is basically all of them.”

Daniella Shear Practicing for Bat Mitzvah

If Only You Would Listen

I’m very lucky to have had access to high quality prayer services for youth when I was younger. There were options for every age from two to 18, and they were fun. Unfortunately, this rich offering of services for kids didn’t last forever.

April Baskin at a Black Lives Matter Hanukkah Action

To Ascend Does Not Mean to Not Speak

This Hanukkah, I decided to create a holiday blessing of my own––one that draws from Jewish law and Hasidic folk history, while also incorporating contemporary Judaism's call to affirm the lives of women who have been hidden from history. I hope you will recite these words of blessing, and as you do so, recall valiant Jewish women, whose stories deserve to be heard and seen.

Topics: Hanukkah
Emma Mair with Family

Two Jews, Many Opinions

In the 12th century the great Jewish philosopher Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, commonly referred to as Maimonides, put together the Thirteen Principles of Judaism. The Thirteen Principles serve as the fundamental truths of the Jewish religion, and in many congregations it’s customary to say “Ani Maamin” (I believe) when reciting them.

Once Upon a Time

Agree to Disagree

My brother-in-law, Alex, is incredibly smart. He’s a Harvard-educated banker in his early thirties, and he genuinely loves to debate. His style of debate isn’t to make other people feel stupid, but it’s clear that he loves feeling like he has changed someone’s mind or broadened their perspective. I’ve realized, through many conversations with him, that this is something with which I struggle.

Minnah Stein with Sign

Unpopular But Important

When you talk about sexual assault, you automatically become unpopular. People don’t want to talk to you because they know that they aren’t going to like what you have to say. This feeling of being unpopular is one that I’ve become accustomed to. Five years ago I heard an NPR program on sexual assault, and I’ve been dedicated to bringing an end to this epidemic ever since. Being a sexual assault activist isn’t an easy job, but it’s the one I’ve chosen.

Topics: Activism, Schools
Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate and Jam (plated).

Hanukkah Sour Cream Coffee Cake

In honor of a vital, but less well-known, woman taking charge, I’ll be teaching you how to make a dairy dessert. Specifically, a warm and delicious coffee cake to share with your friends and family.

Topics: Recipes, Hanukkah
Natalie Harder in Israel

Adonai, Open Up My Ears

During the summer of 2016, I went to Israel with my summer camp and met a man named Yehoshua, who, being male, middle-aged, Israeli, ultra-Orthodox, and a Yankees fan, was everything I wasn’t.

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

A Feminist Hanukkah

Hanukkah is eight days long—a perfect amount of time to express your feminist values! I’ve compiled a list of Jewish, feminist-themed activities for Hanukkah—one for each day of the holiday. To be clear: these activities should be part of your life for the rest of the year, too! But sometimes it’s easy to fall behind, so without further ado, here is your recommended feminist Jewish agenda for this holiday.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

A Tale of Two Maisels

When it comes to the new Amazon original series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, we are an office divided. The newest series from Gilmore Girls showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino has a whole lot to love, especially if you love history, Jewish women, and feminism (which we do!). At the same time, this first season pays little homage to the many funny Jewish women that were making waves in comedy before Midge grabbed the mic.

Gloria Steinem and Linda Stein, Suited Up (cropped)

Diving into the Wreck with Linda Stein

Imagine my surprise when I encountered the equivalent of an androgynous rubber suit embodied in the sculpture of artist/activist Linda Stein. Unlike Rich’s suit, which is confined to the page, Stein’s art is tangible. In fact, some of these sculptures are wearable.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963

Eyes Wide Open

It’s hard to admit I’m not an expert when it comes to race. I do my best to be as informed as possible, but as a privileged white woman, I recognize I’ll never be able to fully understand systemic racism and how it affects people of color. On a school trip to the American South, though, my eyes were opened further, and I learned that there’s far more to racial injustice in this country than I was aware of initially.

Landscape Photo by Tamar Cohen

Perspectives on Tragedy

My ears ring. My stomach churns. Have I put down my pencil? At this point, I don't know. More than anything, I'm confused. How could someone possibly think that? How is it that I can't think of any logical arguments against their point of view? 

Topics: Schools, Judaism
Idra Novey

From Rural Pennsylvania to Rio de Janeiro

Women didn’t show up for Saturday morning services in tailored white wool jackets or carrying an angular black handbag with a metal clasp large enough to double as a weapon. The occasion was my older sister’s bat mitzvah. Eleven years old at the time and trapped in a hand-me-down dress with built-in shoulder pads, I was transfixed.

Topics: Fiction

Pages

How to cite this page

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

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

listen now

Poll

How do you prefer your latkes?

Sign Up for JWA eNews

 

Twitter

9 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
12 hr
Did you know that isn't the only women's rights activist in her family? at the… https://t.co/VAfRn97gvB
13 hr
in 1947, Dr. Gerty Theresa Radnitz Cori became the first Jewish woman, as well as the first American wom… https://t.co/WbxCYOdkss