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Jewish Women, Amplified

  • LGBTQ Activist Quiz
  • Trans Rights
  • I'm Over It
  • Ask Emma
  • LGBTQ Quiz Cover Photo (Excluded)

    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!

  • Trans Equality Cover Image

    As a Jewish Feminist, I stand for Trans Rights

    As a Jewish feminist, I have a particular obligation to fight alongside my transgender siblings as their rights are threatened at the state and national level.

  • Stock Image of Cat with Cat Food

    I'm Over It

    I came to spend the rest of my afternoon hauling a case of cat food to the local housing project. I was glad to do it, though I didn’t know why the woman had reached out to our temple ... She was very happy to see me, but, in part due to the fact that I was wearing sneakers, I’m pretty sure she thought I was a well-meaning volunteer. When she did realize that I was, in fact, the rabbi, and not some emergency cat food delivery service, she got VERY EXCITED.

  • Winding Road Stock Photo

    On Pulling Up Your Big-Kid Bloomers, and Running for the Hills

    Dear Emma,

    A friend I haven’t seen for over a year is planning to visit my city and stay for two weeks. Last time she stayed with me, we ended up fighting (and then didn’t see each other for over a year). She called yesterday to see if she can stay with me. Do I have an obligation to host her?

    ––Unwilling Host

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Which LGBTQ Activist Are You?

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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
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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
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
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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
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.”

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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
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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
"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.

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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.

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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
"Free To Be You And Me" Album Cover by Marlo Thomas

45 Years of Free to Be You and Me

When he was three, my son, Jacob, asked for Baby All Gone for Hanukkah. And I couldn't have been prouder.

Blame it on “Free to Be You & Me.” Like many of my generation, that album belonged to the soundtrack of my formative years. Teaching about gender equality in an informal and natural way, the songs and vignettes were snappy, clever, and extremely memorable.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 3 Promo

Thankful for Crazy

This isn't some prestige drama about anti-heroes doing “Bad Man Things;” it's a rom-com send-up about a "quirky" woman. The fact that Bloom and Mckenna are willing to go there and delve into that "quirky" woman's very real mental health problems makes an important statement about how pervasive mental health problems are for so many people.

Rabbi Berkowitz at a Bat Mitzvah

Rabbinic Work and the Second Shift

Recently, I fielded two calls in one week about the under-representation of women rabbis: one was from an academic journal, the other was from a non-profit organization assembling a delegation of rabbis for a service-learning trip. Both of them needed more women to participate in their programs.

I said no.

Delegates at the First National Conference for Women (1977), by Diana Mara Henry

Photographic Memory: On Being the Official Photographer of the First National Women's Conference

When, in 1977, Abzug and Senator Patsy Mink called for a national women’s conference, I foresaw that being hired to photograph the First National Women’s Conference as official photographer might be the most historic assignment of my lifetime.

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My Menstruation, Myself

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Broad City Helps Us Come Back

Broad City’s “Witches” is everything I need right now, and I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it’s what a lot of us need right now. In this Season 4 episode of Broad City, Ilana visits a sex therapist, Betty, because she can’t cum. I should say this now: get used to the word “cum,” because it’s going to be used a lot in this piece.

Topics: Television
Composite Image of Marge Piercy with He, She and It

An Interview with Marge Piercy

We spoke with Marge Piercy’about her book He, She, and It, dystopia in 2017,what she thinks about artificial intelligence (AI), and how young activists can fight the good fight.

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Cropped Rokhl Holzer

Feminists For Halloween

These days, “witch” is no longer just the epithet you hurl at, say, an older female candidate for president; the fed-up feminist sector of our popular culture is proudly claiming it for its own.

Unrest and Rivka Composite Image

A Woman Who Dared, with ME

It was late afternoon, and I could barely get my body out of bed. It wasn't that I lacked the desire to get up or that my limbs couldn't function. I just didn't have the cellular energy to power up my muscles. I couldn't do anything except lie flat. Even that was exhausting. This state of sheer debilitation was not new to me. And it hadn't been going on for days or weeks. It had been a decade.

Rabbi Elana Zaiman and Forever Letter Composite

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Elana Zaiman was the first woman rabbi in a family chain of rabbis spanning six generations. Growing up in a traditional Conservative synagogue where women were not allowed to read from the Torah, Rabbi Zaiman’s decision to become a rabbi and forward a new iteration of her family’s legacy made her a pioneer in her family history.

Topics: Rabbis
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Women of Character

It is a truth that should be universally acknowledged: women are amazing, strong, brave, and resilient. I do not know a single woman who has not had to relive moments of sexual harassment and assault this week, whether they shared their story on social media with #MeToo or spoke privately with friends.

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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.

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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.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women, Amplified." (Viewed on June 24, 2018) <https://jwa.org/blog>.

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2 days
And that's a wrap on season 2 of our podcast! Check out the last episode of the season, in which host https://t.co/Rbjb3DpCzW
2 days
Do you dream of working to change our cultural narratives and preserve the stories of Jewish women from the past, p… https://t.co/XRdVzDn5TP
3 days
"As a Jewish feminist, I have a particular obligation to fight alongside my transgender siblings as their rights ar… https://t.co/uCXhzj4lNC