Activism

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Earth Day: Honoring Jewish women environmentalists!

Leah Berkenwald

In January, we asked you to help us recognize the many Jewish women working to increase environmental consciousness and protect our planet. We were delighted by the response, and have been working on adding these new and important stories to our collection. 

Topics: Activism

Abby Phon thinks primetime is ready to "go green"

Leah Berkenwald

We have seen our fair share of crime dramas, medical dramas and political dramas. Is it time for a new genre? Abby Phon, Executive Producer and star of Life Without Green, is on a mission to bring environmental issues to primetime. 

Topics: Activism, Television

We asked, you answered!

Leah Berkenwald

Last year in honor of Tu B'Shevat, we created a new page on jwa.org to feature Jewish women in environmental activism, and honored six women actively engaged in that work. After it “went live,” we were excited to find that several people submitted comments suggesting other Jewish women who deserved recognition. We heard those suggestions, and this year we brought the question to you—“who would you add to our list?” We asked, and you answered!  We have received the names of over 30 women in response to our call.

Topics: Activism

Submit your environmental activist before Tu B'Shevat!

Leah Berkenwald

Saturday is Tu B'Shevat, known as the "Jewish New Year for trees," the "Jewish Arbor Day," or the "Jewish birthday for trees." The holiday has an interesting history that, believe it or not, began with taxes.  Lenore Skenazy explains in The Forward:

Back about 2,000 years ago, Tu B’Shevat — literally the 15th day of the month of Shvat — was a tax deadline, of sorts. Any trees planted before Tu B’Shvat were considered to have been “born” the previous year. Those planted after Tu B’Shvat (or, perhaps those that started blooming after Tu B’Shvat) were part of the next year’s crop. As the amount of fruit you were required to tithe from each tree was determined by its age, this date was significant. And since the easiest way to remember a tree’s birthday was to plant it on that day, that’s what some folks did: planted.

Topics: Activism, Tu B'Shvat

Add an environmental activist to our list!

Leah Berkenwald

Beginning with the commandment for Adam and Eve to protect the Garden of Eden, Jewish tradition teaches that sustaining the health of the earth and all of its living things is a moral imperative.

Topics: Activism, Tu B'Shvat

Lynn Amowitz: physician for human rights

Leah Berkenwald

Lynn Amowitz was born and raised in North Carolina.  Her community had very few Jews –- so few that her parents founded a synagogue in order for her to have a Bat Mitzvah.  Amowitz suffered anti-semitic harassment from her peers, an experience which, she said, led to her work in human rights.

Topics: Activism, Medicine

Abby Shevitz -- a role model in the global fight against AIDS

Leah Berkenwald

December 1 is World AIDS Day, established in 1988 by the World Health Organization to raise awareness and focus attention on the global AIDS epidemic. World AIDS Day reminds us that for many across the globe, the spread of HIV/AIDS is a very real, very present, part of every day life, and millions are suffering.The global AIDS epidemic can be difficult for some Americans to accept or understand.

Topics: Activism, Medicine

Art, justice, and Adrienne Rich

Judith Rosenbaum

Here we are, poised on the edge of a "holiday weekend" in which we celebrate America's independence through those ever-meaningful traditions of barbeque, fireworks, and shopping sales.

Topics: Activism, Poetry

Podcast: Rita Arditti on Being Invisible in Argentina

Jordan Namerow

As April comes to a close and as we kick off Jewish American Heritage Month in May, we're featuring an oral history clip of Rita Arditti as our podcast of the month. With her lilting Spanish-accented English, Arditti's voice is striking, as her journey is unique - perhaps one that many of us don't immediately associate with Jewish American heritage.

Birth of poet Muriel Rukeyser

December 15, 1913

Muriel Rukeyser was a challenging poet whose work mixed together radical politics and a spiritual quest.

Emma Goldman released from jail and then reimprisoned

September 27, 1919

Emma Goldman was released from a two-year prison term, on September 27, 1919, only to be immediately reimprisoned.

Emma Goldman's "What I Believe"

July 19, 1908

"It is too bad that we no longer live in the times when witches were burned at the stake or tortured to drive the evil spirit out of them. For, indeed, Emma Goldman is a witch!

Radical activist Clara Lemlich Shavelson dies

July 12, 1982

Born in 1886, Clara Lemlich Shavelson was already a confirmed radical when she arrived in New York City in 1905.

Launch of Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community (AWP)

April 12, 2001

Reflecting frustration with the Jewish communal world's persistent glass ceiling, Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community (AWP) launched its first efforts on April 12, 2001.

Passage of NY widows' pension bill advocated by Hannah Bachman Einstein

April 7, 1915

On April 7, 1915, New York's Governor Charles S. Whitman signed the Widowed Mothers Pension Act into law.

Suffragist and anti-slavery activist Ernestine Rose addresses annual Thomas Paine dinner

January 29, 1848

For more than 20 years, Ernestine Rose, born in Poland in 1810, worked as a leading pro-suffrage, anti-slavery orator in the United States.

Live Webcast of Today's Ann Arbor Symposium ... with Women We Love!

Jordan Namerow

In case you thought New York was the ‘be all, end all' of Jewish life, think again. Step aside, Upper West Side, because Ann Arbor, Michigan is where the action's at today.

Topics: Activism

Women's History Month Podcast Feature #3

Jordan Namerow

The third and final feature in JWA’s Women’s History Month podcast series, Jewish Women and Political Leadership, is now live! Listen to four political activists reflect on their journeys in shaking up the political “boy’s club” and tipping the gender scales -- from confronting miniscule quotas for women in law school, to pushing women’s health legislation in Congress, to becoming the first Jewish woman elected to the Maryland State Senate.

Ernestine Rose

Ernestine Rose’s extemporaneous speeches on religious freedom, public education, abolition, and women’s rights earned her the title “Queen of the Platform.”

Lilly Rivlin

Lilly Rivlin is a documentary filmmaker whose films are centered around feminism, the Arab-Israeli peace process, Jewishness, and her family relationships. Rivlin’s films The Tribe (1984), Miriam’s Daughters Now (1986), and Gimme a Kiss (2000), all of which explore Jewishness and family, are among her best.

Cecilia Razovsky

Cecilia Razovsky was a remarkably active woman who spent her life striving to assist immigrants in adapting to life in the United States and other countries.

Puah: Midrash and Aggadah

Puah was one of the two Hebrew midwives (Shiphrah and Puah) who delivered the children of the Israelites during the Egyptian servitude. The Torah chronicles (Ex. 1:15–21) that they disobeyed Pharaoh’s command and did not kill the Israelite male newborn. Apart from this brave act, the midwives are not mentioned elsewhere in the Exodus narratives, nor in the entire Bible. The Rabbis identify the midwives with various Biblical heroines, thereby transforming them from secondary characters to central, fully developed figures whose annals spread over additional chapters of the Torah.

Project Kesher

Project Kesher is a feminist Jewish organization empowering women in the Independent States of the former Soviet Union (FSU) to build a society in which inclusive Jewish life can flourish, and where women are the instruments of peaceful change.

Puah: Bible

The first chapter of Exodus relates that, as the Israelites in Egypt begin to proliferate following the death of Joseph, the Egyptian king seeks to curb the Israelite population lest its numbers threaten the security of Egypt in time of war. When enslavement of the Israelites fails to achieve Pharaoh’s goal, he commands the Hebrew midwives, of whom only two are known by name—Shiphrah and Puah—to kill at birth all the male Hebrews, but to permit the females to live. Since, however, the midwives stand in awe of God, they violate Pharaoh’s command and permit the boys to live.

Peace Movement in the United States

Throughout the twentieth century, Jewish women have played a major role in American peace organizations and movements.

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