Activism

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Episode 27: The Power of Women's Anger (Transcript)

Episode 27: The Power of Women's Anger (Transcript)

Julia Clardy's Three Grandmothers

My Personal Imahot

by Julia Clardy

When it comes to grandmothers, I hit the jackpot. My grandmothers are some of the strongest and most incredible women I’ve ever met, and because I come from a blended family, I have three of them! My grandmothers are models of power and grace, and they haven’t sacrificed their passions and values as they’ve aged. They’re all fierce defenders of justice, and I am who I am today largely because of their influence.

March for Our Lives NYC

Rising From the Ashes

by Rachel Harris

April 19th was a day of highs and lows. During the day, school was abuzz. Everyone was talking about the next day’s school walkout (planned in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida)–whether they were going to do it, what they thought the punishments might be, if they were going to be in our local newspaper…my phone was on fire with texts from the organizers’ group chat. We planned to meet that day after school. We sat in the conference room, excitedly discussing who was bringing what, and writing the post for the Facebook event. I went home, giddy and anxious. My leg bounced under my kitchen table while I worked on my homework, my trademark nervous habit. I worried that no one would show up, or that everyone would get in trouble and blame me, or that it would rain really hard. My foot bounced faster. My phone dinged, bringing me out of my reverie.

Topics: Activism, Schools

Sheila Decter

Originally from the Boston area, Sheila Decter worked throughout her career to support the Jewish community, including the movement for Soviet Jewry, until her retirement in 2017.

Ilana Kaufman

Working with organizations in California and beyond, Ilana Kaufman has drawn on her personal experience as a queer Jewish woman of color to advocate for diversity and inclusivity.
Daniella Shear Dressed as Queen Esther

Queen Esther: Quiet Leader

by Daniella Shear

Purim has always been ranked high on my list of favorite holidays. Who doesn’t love dressing up, eating hamantaschen, playing games, and winning prizes? In addition to my synagogue’s annual Purim carnival I also look forward to the megillah reading each year. I always found the story to be interesting, but as I’ve gotten older, my interpretation has evolved from one about a queen who saves her people (the Jews), to a complex narrative about a female leader.

Topics: Activism, Purim

April Baskin

April Baskin has been committed to opening doors and embracing diversity in the Jewish community throughout her career.

Rachel Sumekh

Turning dining hall dollars into food for the hungry, Rachel Sumekh has empowered college students to address food insecurity in their communities and has shined a light on hunger on university campuses.
The Story of Job

Job and Josie

by Josephine Rosman

One of the most challenging parts of being Jewish is learning how to struggle with stories from Jewish texts that initially seem to contradict my values. When I come across these stories, I have to decide if and how they fit into my own personal relationship with Judaism. The story I have struggled with the most is the Book of Job (Iyov).

Topics: Activism, Bible

Enid Shapiro, 1925 - 2017

Enid Shapiro lived tikkun olam. She was an early feminist, a devoted Jew, an unceasing learner, and she made a difference in countless people’s lives through her devotion to repair the world and her commitment to kindness and care that came from a place of profound integrity.

Minnah Stein with Sign

Unpopular But Important

by Minnah Stein

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
Judy Blume Cropped

The Inspiring, The Messy, and The Author of Both

by Tamar Cohen

Bildungsroman: the German word for a coming-of-age novel. A prime example of this? Judy Blume's Are You There, G-d? It's Me, Margaret. Beloved by angsty teens and middle-aged women’s book clubs alike, Judy Blume seems to have completely mastered the art of coming of age in fiction.

Topics: Activism, Fiction

Episode 17: Four Mothers: Orna’s Story

She was protesting a war she thought was futile—and then her son was killed in it. Hear the poignant story of Orna Shimoni, an Israeli woman who 20 years ago turned her pain into action—and today is inspiring a new generation of activists. A matriarch of Women Wage Peace, Shimoni was an early member of the Four Mothers movement in the late 1990s, who channeled her private grief over her son’s death into a wider movement for peace. She is now a model for women who are newer to peace activism—and a determined voice for political change.

Katy Ronkin and Rhoda Nissenbaum

Saturdays with Rhoda

by Katy Ronkin

Almost every Saturday for the last five years, I’ve gone to visit my friend Rhoda Nissenbaum. We read together and talk, along with my mother and Rhoda’s aide, Sarah. What started as my Bat Mitzvah project has blossomed into a beautiful friendship.  Fortunately, I was able to record my recent meeting with Rhoda, and we got a chance to talk about her life, all 97 years of it! 

Topics: Activism, Volunteers
Rising Voices Fellow Maya Jodidio with her Aunt

Because There's More to Russian Jews than Borscht

by Maya Jodidio

My aunt and I share so much more than our smile, passion for math and science, and college (go Barnard!). Our strongest and arguably our most important similarity lies in our shared sense of civic responsibility. Although I still have more to learn about social justice work, my aunt is the perfect model of a passionate, hard-working, and persevering activist.

RVF Fellow Diana Myers with a Copy of Lilith

Overcoming Opposition

by Emily Cataneo

It takes great courage to challenge authority when you’re a high school student. At that stage in your life, school comprises much of your world, and your relationship with school determines many aspects of your future. Although many school administrations might not encourage dissent, learning to stand up to injustice is as essential a skill for a young person to learn as calculus or chemistry. Of course, administrations are not the only unjust systems that teenagers typically encounter at school: it also takes great courage to stand up against the rigid social hierarchy that characterizes many student populations.

Topics: Activism

Hilde Holger

Hilde Sofer Holger’s choreography incorporated her interest in religion, politics, and the natural world, and provoked important discussions about the role of dance in the public sphere.
Sally Mack and Rosika Schwimmer

The Women Who Fought for Pacifism

by Emily Cataneo

On November 1, 1961, 50,000 women in 60 cities across the United States walked out of their jobs and homes to protest nuclear proliferation.

Topics: Activism

Shelley Winters / Natalie Portman

Activist Actresses

Bringing Social Justice and Judaism to Hollywood

Laura Moser

Combating Extremism, Ninety Seconds At A Time

by Emily Cataneo

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.

Topics: Activism

Laura Moser

After the 2016 election, journalist Laura Moser created Daily Action to mobilize and coordinate people who wanted to become active in resisting problematic policies of the Trump administration.
Woman Running at Sunset

Rabbi Hillel on Stress Relief

by Sarah Biskowitz

I grimace. My stomach churns. My muscles tense up. Reading the news used to be my favorite pastime. But ever since the election, reading the news feels like sitting in the backseat during another kid’s Driver’s Ed lesson: being jerked around by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing as dangers lurk at every turn. American standards for truth and respect seem to be at an all-time low for my lifetime, and I’ve never felt so worried for the future.

Episode 10: Rededication

For many Jews, the election of Donald Trump signals a time of uncertainty. In this episode, we turn for guidance to three Jewish women who have spent their lives working for social change. Ruth Messinger, April Baskin, and Idit Klein share their responses to the election and how they’re finding focus in this new political climate. We also visit the Obama’s final White House Hanukkah party.

Tikvah Alper

The Social Justice and Science Superwoman: Tikvah Alper

by Maya Jodidio

Few women have been both scientists and social justice activists in their lifetimes. Both of these roles are time-consuming and challenging, yet somehow Tikvah Alper succeeded as a distinguished radiobiologist and as a fierce opponent to the apartheid in South Africa.

Pixabay Image of a Woman Crying

I Hate Being an Activist

by Rana Bickel

My activism takes the form of words. Words that tiptoe out of my mouth and gently push others on a path towards justice.  But increasingly I find myself not being able to speak. Why? Because being an activist is making me miserable.

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