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Activism

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.

 

Job and Josie

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).

Finding Strength From Our Foremothers

Like many Americans, I owe an enormous debt to my ancestors who traveled here in search of a better life. Their courage created my family’s future. And in particular, I feel a special bond to the long line of women, stretching back generations, whose boldness and sacrifices made my life possible. 

That Time I Apologized for Winning

As it turns out, I’m pretty good at word games, and I like to win. Once I figured the pattern of the game, I was able to answer the questions quickly and correctly. I didn’t even have a problem with the buzzer, as I’d feared. Somehow, I also had the mental bandwidth to realize that my behavior made it apparent that I was completely uncomfortable with winning.

Enid Shapiro, 1925 - 2017

Two months before my mother died, her doctor stopped the chemotherapy and she rallied. In true Enid Shapiro style, my mom took the opportunity to attend an evening board meeting of The Right Question Institute (RQI), asking her caregiver/driver to stop on the way so she could pick up cheese and crackers to bring to the meeting. She cherished her place on the board, having joined it in her mid-80s and seeing the organization as an opportunity to promote one of her most valued ideals—democracy.

Unpopular But Important

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.

Adonai, Open Up My Ears

During the summer of 2016, I went to Israel with my summer camp and met a man named Yehoshua, who, being male, middle-aged, Israeli, ultra-Orthodox, and a Yankees fan, was everything I wasn’t.

A Feminist Hanukkah

Hanukkah is eight days long—a perfect amount of time to express your feminist values! I’ve compiled a list of Jewish, feminist-themed activities for Hanukkah—one for each day of the holiday. To be clear: these activities should be part of your life for the rest of the year, too! But sometimes it’s easy to fall behind, so without further ado, here is your recommended feminist Jewish agenda for this holiday.

Diving into the Wreck with Linda Stein

Imagine my surprise when I encountered the equivalent of an androgynous rubber suit embodied in the sculpture of artist/activist Linda Stein. Unlike Rich’s suit, which is confined to the page, Stein’s art is tangible. In fact, some of these sculptures are wearable.

Eyes Wide Open

It’s hard to admit I’m not an expert when it comes to race. I do my best to be as informed as possible, but as a privileged white woman, I recognize I’ll never be able to fully understand systemic racism and how it affects people of color. On a school trip to the American South, though, my eyes were opened further, and I learned that there’s far more to racial injustice in this country than I was aware of initially.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Activism." (Viewed on January 17, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/activism>.

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