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Columbia University

Empowerment 101

Throughout my life the word “feminist” has come to take on many meanings. It’s a word I’ve both heard and used infinite times growing up in the heart of one of New York City’s most politically liberal neighborhoods. Now, the very word “feminism” is one that brings gratification. However, by the time I reached the ever-menacing years of high school, I knew that the sense of affinity that came with the word “feminist” was not shared by the general whole of the New York high school students. 

Kathryn Wasserman Davis, 1907 - 2013

Having skied into her 80s, played tennis into her 90s, and kayaked, swum, painted, traveled and taken on all comers at croquet until this year, Kathryn Wasserman Davis remained a wonder and inspiration to those around her. Recently asked by one of her great-grandchildren to name her favorite day, she instantly replied, “Tomorrow.”

Paula Hyman, 1946 - 2011

 Despite talking on occasion about death, and Paula telling me that rarely did a day go by that she did not think about her own mortality, like most people I preferred to imagine that we all would live forever, or at least long enough.

Paula crammed so much life and accomplishments into her 65 years. She tasted many pleasures, including some—like grandchildren—she had not assumed that she would experience.

Hari Nef

Hari Nef, the first trans woman model to be signed to the prestigious IMG modeling agency, has used her public platform to speak out on issues that affect other transgender people.

Nicki Newman Tanner

As part of her lifelong devotion to Wellesley College, Nicki Newman Tanner chaired a record-breaking capital campaign for the college in 1993, raising $168 million from alumnae and disproving the assumption that women give less than men.

Henny Wenkart

Through her creation of the Jewish Women’s Poetry Workshop, Henny Wenkart created much-needed community and resources for Jewish women writers.

Jenny Slate

Jenny Slate has refused to be pigeonholed in her comedy, from the controversial film Obvious Child to the quirky YouTube series Marcel the Shell.

Sharon Brous

Sharon Brous founded IKAR (essence), a community blending innovative spirituality and strong social justice values to reengage disaffected Jews.

Jill Jacobs

Jill Jacobs, the executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, has pushed for Jews to take an active role in social justice, from supporting health care and environmental reform to condemning torture and human rights violations.

Alexandra Fine

Using crowdfunding and cutting-edge technology, Alexandra Fine helped create the first successful hands-free couples’ vibrator in 2014 to overcome the difficulties women face in achieving orgasm during sex.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Columbia University." (Viewed on January 22, 2017) <https://jwa.org/tags/columbia-university>.

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