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Jewish Women, Amplified

  • Painting Courage
  • Unscrewing Ourselves
  • Cafeteria Judaism
  • Organizing Jewishly
  • Portrait of Elisa Klapheck by Marlis Glaser

    Painting Courage and Painting History

    Marlis Glaser, a German artist, grew up in rural Germany, not knowing any Jews or her father’s previous involvement with the Nazi party. Glaser was introduced to a German Jewish woman who had survived the Holocaust. Now, Glaser has shaped her art around Judaism, and recently converted. Her colorful work includes hundreds of portraits of Holocaust survivors, their families, and other Jewish figures throughout history.

  • Unscrewed Close-up title image

    Unscrewing Ourselves

    Friedman’s book dives into the national narrative of female sexual submissiveness that’s perpetuated by our patriarchal culture. This narrative comes in the form of abstinence-only sex education, widespread toxic masculinity, and a collective reluctance to support women’s sexuality on a social and political level.

  • San Francisco Pride

    Cafeteria Judaism and Feminine Queer Identity

    Religion isn’t always easy. I often like to pretend it is—buzzwords like “interfaith” and “pluralism” pervade my discussions about faith. But every now and again, I’m reminded that the history of my faith is not easy. Judaism was, in fact, built on questions. How do I find support as a woman from a faith founded on patriarchal texts? How do I reconcile ancient laws with a modern identity of queerness?

  • Carolina Jews for Justice at HKonJ, February 12, 2017

    Organizing Jewishly in North Carolina

    When I started college, I didn’t expect to get involved with Jewish organizing. I was Jewish because other people saw me as such—despite my mixed-religious parentage and upbringing, I was always the odd kid out. Never quite Jewish enough to become a bat mitzvah, but enough to be the subject of slurs, wielded by children who had never met Jewish people before.

     

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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

From the Archives: The Challenge of Identification

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.

Fania Mindell and Joyce Antler, Composite Photo

The Translators and Spies of the Reproductive Rights Movement

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.

Pussy Hat New Yorker Cover

Grabbing Back the Pussy: An Interview with Jayna Zweiman on the Pussy Hat Movement

In less than six months, pink pussy hats have taken over America. If you’ve never seen one, you’ve probably been living under a rock since the election (not that I could blame you). These hats—knitted or crocheted from pink yarn, with two iconic points—are a staple of today’s marches and protests, worn by hundreds of thousands of women to protest a president whose blatant misogyny would be laughable if it weren’t so terrifying.

But where did these hats come from? It turns out that they’re the creation of three Los Angeles women: Jayna Zweiman, Krista Suh, and Kat Coyle. The Jewish Women’s Archive talked to Zweiman to get the story.

Topics: Feminism
Invitation to Fancy Dress Ball, Purim Association of New York City, 1881

On Purim and Women Teachers of Text

The holiday of Purim, whose observance centers around the public chanting of the Book of Esther, is a yearly opportunity to reflect on women in the Jewish textual tradition, and women’s relationship to this tradition. A woman, after all, has top billing as one of the story’s two heroes, a true rarity within the Bible. With courage and humility, Esther skillfully maneuvers the nuances of her socio-political context to save her people. The story is riveting and her role is prominent.

Topics: Purim
Fearless Girl Statue on Wall Street

Let's Not Forget the Real Fearless Girls

At best, the statue is a bland, banal monument to the kind of white feminism that deifies the needs of upper and middle-class women who harbor corporate ambitions. At worst, it's an advertisement, the kind of commodified feminism that gives the whole movement a bad name and erases its working-class origins.

Topics: Feminism
Labor Demonstration, 1915

A Day Without A Woman Isn't Just For the Privileged

There was a particularly puzzling perspective floating around the Internet leading up to today’s A Day Without a Woman. It showed up as a question on our social media sites; in a widely shared article in the LA Times; and in another widely shared article in Quartz.

Clara Lemlich in a Shirtwaist, circa 1910

Writing a Revolutionary

Authors are often asked about the inspiration behind their books. Usually, that question is a tricky one to answer. But in the case of my historical novel for young adults, Audacity, it’s easy. The life of labor activist Clara Lemlich was all the inspiration I needed.

Topics: Labor, Poetry
Pauline Newman and Josephine Goldmark

The Organizers and Researchers of the Labor Movement

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: Labor
Bella Abzug and Others in a Purim Play, New York City, 1934

Purim Poem: Mishloach Manot

On my neighbor’s doorstep
I left a brown paper bag.
In it, I put two hamentaschen,
a clementine,
some chocolate pretzels,
and a small box of raisins.
To increase peace, love, and
friendship in the world,
obviously.
And then I walked away
feeling lighter,
unburdened,
the weight of endless obligation
lifted
for a moment.

Topics: Purim
As We Are: A Jewish Feminist Theatre Project poster

As We Are: A Jewish Feminist Theatre Project

As We Are: A Jewish Feminist Theatre Project critically examines the aspects of Judaism that are tied to patriarchy, limiting representation of women and femme people. Femme is a personal identity descriptor used by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, or gender nonconforming/genderqueer. Femmes reclaim aspects of femininity that they wish to embrace and/or subvert, without compromising the parts of themselves that are strong, brave, loud, and even radical.

Topics: Acting, Theater
Rebecca Traister with All the Single Ladies

Video Interview with Rebecca Traister

Single women have been around forever. Unable to find suitable partners, unwilling to marry unsuitable ones, or simply uninterested in the idea of partnering, these women were often considered social cast-offs and economic drains on society. Passed over and unobserved, they have been stereotyped as passive participants who lived on the sidelines of history. New York Times' bestselling author, Rebecca Traister's latest book works to change this flawed narrative.

Topics: Non-Fiction
Sonia Pressman Fuentes and Phyllis Chesler

The Lawyers and Researchers of Second-Wave Feminism

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: Feminism
Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Challah Roles, Plated photo

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Challah Rolls

Recently, instead of lying on the floor feeling impending doom, I’ve been trying to do positive things, one of which is baking challah. Here’s a recipe that has cheered me up, and I hope will cheer you, too––or at least give you something to do while you watch the horrible/amazing new CW drama Riverdale and wonder when Betty and Veronica will get together.

Topics: Recipes
Laura Moser

Combating Extremism, Ninety Seconds At A Time

Americans who oppose Trump could be forgiven for feeling some fatigue these days. Since the president took office in January, it seems that a day can’t go by without a news alert about another controversial appointment or executive order. With this never-ending barrage, it can be difficult to determine which issues to take a stand on, and how.

Topics: Activism
America Undiscovered, JLTV

Community Stories: One Woman’s Journey to Give Jewish Americans a Voice

Given the rising incidents of anti-Semitism and racism, the Islamophobia, and threats to abortion access under this new administration, I find myself scared about being a Jewish woman. I hate feeling powerless but have found a way to channel some positive energy by sharing stories that exemplify tikkun olam. I’m taking a page from Michelle Obama’s book and trying to “go high” in the face of many choosing to “go low.”

Topics: Television
Paid Sick Time Rally, 2016

The Other Side of Reproductive Justice: An Interview with Sherry Leiwant

Abortion rights often dominate our national conversation about reproductive justice. There’s another side to this issue that doesn’t make as many headlines: the right to parent. Luckily, there are plenty of organizations working to ensure that no one has to choose between work and children, including the national nonprofit, A Better Balance.

Angela Peoples: Don't Forget White Women Voted for Trump

Black History Month: A Time to Share or Shut Up?

In the wake of the Women’s March on Washington, many participants and from-afar admirers celebrated the success of a watershed political moment: a coming together of millions of women all over the world to voice opposition to the new American president and his stance on a variety of political and social issues.

Topics: Civil Rights
Blanche Hart

From the Archives: Blanche Hart, the Jane Addams of Detroit

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.

The year Blanche Hart was born, the United States celebrated its 100th birthday. The telephone was patented, Mark Twain published The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and the Transcontinental Express train traveled from New York City to San Francisco in just 83 hours and 39 minutes.

Topics: Volunteers
Imperial Wife, Irina Reyn Composite Photo

Powerful Wives, Then and Now

I did not set out to write a historical or timely novel but I do think The Imperial Wife proved to be both. Ironically, it was only by looking back at eighteenth-century Russia, during the time of the fascinating ruler Catherine the Great, that I was able to think more deeply about the challenges facing contemporary women in America.

Topics: Fiction
Statue of Jewish Refugees in Shanghai

China's Jewish Sanctuary City

I should be able to tour the neighborhoods that sheltered hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees in New York, Chicago, Boston, Montreal and Toronto, London and Manchester. But thanks to xenophobia, inaction, and fear, these neighborhoods never existed.

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5 hr
Yesss. We want Lilith to be an archetype for all things. https://t.co/v2KtkZ05V3 https://t.co/0TBaIqL7vl
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Want to try out a new recipe this lazy Sunday afternoon? https://t.co/tUzVQauCtF
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in 1971, Annie Leibovitz had her first Rolling Stone cover. https://t.co/j5yKRLkr2N https://t.co/JI4V9llEAV