Browse the Collection
Browse the diverse collection of Jewish women who influenced the feminist movement by category, key dates or keywords.
Filter by Key Concepts
Art & Culture
You see, I have come to believe The Five Books of Moses are indeed the Five Books of Moses, not the Five Books of G-d.
It was obvious that birth was a universal human experience and one that is central to women's lives. Why were there no images?
the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art banner and what it stands for… was a statement to the world, a coming of age for me, and a stake in the ground for all people, forevermore.
The histories of the women in the Bible were nothing if not those of women ferociously pioneering for the rights of females.
Diversity & Tolerance
We who seek liberation from the oppressive structures that deny us the same economic, educational, and spiritual opportunities as the privileged among us need each other.
I was making a conscious decision to change my primary identity from ‘Jewish radical feminism’ to ‘feminist Jew.’
Though the content of our mission is not specifically feminist, we have modeled feminist activism...
The facilitator was shocked when I informed her I could not possibly have an authentic experience or feel emotionally safe without more Jewish diversity.
After evaluating the results of my anti-Semitism survey and writing the article for Ms., I saw the importance of being a public affirmative Jew.
Annette returned home that night with her mind ablaze and her heart pounding with excitement. A new Jewish door was opening for her.
Twenty years ago, writing about Judaism from a feminist perspective, rather than discussing women from “Judaism's” point of view, seemed audacious.
The creativity unleashed by such questions was astonishing, and the interest and enthusiasm generated explosive.
From 1980 on, the celebration of Women's History Week, and later, Women's History Month, spread to every state, every county, and most communities in the U.S.A.
Anthony's home in Rochester—the centerpiece of this clip—remains a living symbol of the first stirrings of feminism in America.
What captivated me was developing what amounted to a “unified field theory” by applying feminist methodology to explain all of Jewish history, culture, and psychology.
We wanted a fun magazine that portrayed women as diverse, smart, soulful, AND sexy—not airbrushed and anorexic—while still telling the truth. So, we created one ourselves.
‘How can we include you in the circle?’ replaced the boundary line keeping the ‘abnormal’ out.
I knew also that if this magnificent story had been “lost” for 90 years, much more must have also been lost.
We should not be dissuaded from seeking specifically Jewish and feminist perspectives on the most pressing issues of our time...
Our goal at Ms. was to make such lives visible, to honor women's work, and to expose the legal, economic, and social barriers that stand in the way of women's full humanity.
The cover of the first issue featured our artist's version of the Jewish superwoman, who managed to amalgamate almost all possible roles...
Marriage & Family
I know now that she lost herself as soon as she married, taking on the persona of the wife she imagined she must be.
I floated between moments of exaltation at what we were creating and moments of exasperation and tears at the difficulty of it all.
While these attempts did much to increase knowledge about agunah agony, this unjust situation is still widespread.
It was Blu Greenberg and my own smart and provocative mother who brought feminist ideas into my Jewish life.
The idea was simply this: that a woman and man should share equally the responsibillity for their household and children in every way...
In the 1970's, when I joined a feminist consciousness-raising group, I heard other women's stories. I recognized that I was not alone.
I became the staff person who stood for aggressive enforcement of the sex discrimination prohibitions of the Civil Rights Act.
The demand for justice runs through the entirety of Jewish history and Jewish tradition.
The sound of applause—not just for me but for women rising to a position of power—reverberated through the hall, like the sound of an orchestra.
I might never have heard of Maud Nathan if I had not found these books, just as we know that too much of Jewish women's history has gone untold.
The public often has different expectations of women than of men. They are not sure that women should be working, particularly in a business they think of as dirty.
Then younger feminists came along with an analysis that included all females—a revolution and not a reform—and it made sense of my own life.
The hearings ripped open the subject of sexual harassment like some sort of long-festering sore.
...when she decided that she knew how to make the world a better place, she’d stage an all-out battle
More than ever, I believe in a feminism that does not run from the full complexity of women's lives, from the vital differences between us as well as the connections that bind us.
Spirituality & Ritual
This is a narrative of a community that is not in isolation but reflects the polis of the time.
[T]he idea of re–writing the Haggadah seemed startling and even blasphemous. Now, 30 years later, this re–writing has itself become part of an emerging Passover tradition.
We knew that Jewish feminism needed to be suffused through all of Jewish practice so that it would be impossible to ignore.
I believe that it took a group of women—including rabbis—to break through the Jewish cultural barrier that saw medical treatment as the only response to illness.
I recited these blessings as though they had been written a couple of millennia ago by the rabbis, rather than the day before, by me.
Like my mother and her father, my grandfather, I was both a committed Jew and a feminist.
This stone symbolizes for me the loving feminist reclamation of our great grandmothers' folkways.
B'not Esh has provided a model for how separatist feminist spaces can generate ideas and energy that spill over in to a larger community.
‘Question Authority.’ Those two words did for me what the burning bush did for Moses: they changed my perception of reality.
There was no territory that our feminist imaginations and visions could not discover, recover, or transform.
[T]he needs of Jewish women and girls in both the U.S. and Israel are still not high priorities for our community.
That mythical portal had been revealed exclusively to women at the '73 conference: now we'd partner with our brothers and walk through together.
Unfortunately, we made the same mistake that many feminists were to make in the ensuing years: we sought respectability at the expense of the inclusivity.
Jane ultimately served over 10,000 women before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in 1973.
In a sense, my first protest took place in 1946 when I refused to learn Yiddish (a decision that I of course regret) but insisted instead on learning Hebrew.
[W]e realized that the title “Women and their Bodies” was itself a sign of our alienation from our bodies.
This feminist disobedience, day after day, became a major story in the news, and by June we had secured an FDA warning to users of the Pill.
As the commission delved into the issue, testimony it received from scholars showed that no Jewish legal barriers stood in the way of ordaining women.
I never wanted to simply be a female rabbi. I want to be a part of a Judaism that is transformed by feminism.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Browse the Collection." (Viewed on February 19, 2019) <https://jwa.org/feminism/key-concepts>.