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Activism

Ruth Messinger: Inspiring Generations of Activism

Most of us, if not all of us, want to do the right thing in this life. But the hard truth that many activists and citizens must learn is that doing the right thing looks different to different people. Even people on the same side of the political spectrum who oppose the same politician can have very different ideas about the right kinds of actions to take; the groups to include in those actions; and the lens through which they should view their activism. 

That’s why we need pros to show us the ropes—pros like longtime humanitarian and activist Ruth Messinger. 

Through a Jewish Lens: An Argument for Safe, Legal Abortion

My name is Madisen Siegel. I am an 18-year- old, soon-to-be-registered voter in the first district of New York. As one of your constituents, and a young adult who just moved to New York–fresh from the malls and suburbia of northern New Jersey–I am concerned about your stance on healthcare, and I am asking you to re-think your position, especially when it comes to abortion. 

Can Wonder Woman Come Fix Our World Now, Please?

At the onset of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, protagonist Diana Prince has spent her millennia-long life on Themyscira, an idyllic Mediterranean colony of Amazonian women where she grows up learning badass warrior skills from wise matriarchs. The plot kicks off when an American pilot crash-lands off the island’s coast. He tells Diana, played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, about a cataclysmic war raging back in the world of men, instigated by the bad guys. Who are the bad guys? she asks. He explains succinctly: the Germans.

Queer History and Stone Butch Blues

Two years ago to the month, I read Stone Butch Blues for the first time. Leslie Feinberg had made previous appearances in my life, distant traces of hir legacy filtering through references in other books and news of hir death months prior, but it wasn’t until May/June 2015 that I finally sank into Feinberg’s oeuvre and felt the force of hir most famous book.

These Jewish Women Think You Should Masturbate

May is both Jewish American Heritage Month and National Masturbation Month, which is a great convergence, because Jewish women have played an integral role in advocating for and destigmatizing female masturbation throughout American history. May earned this lesser-known title in 1995 as a way to protest the firing of the first black Surgeon General, Jocelyn Elders. When asked about masturbation at the United Nation World Aids Day in 1994, Dr.

Where Have All the Good Men Gone?

Men! Hello there, men! You nice guys, you soft bois, you f**k boys; you manarchists, you tech bros, you entrepreneurs; you politicians, you beta males, you alpha males. Are you listening? I have a question for you:

Where are you?

Saturdays with Rhoda

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! 

When Women Take the Lead

On January 29, 2017, a lone gunman entered the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City during the evening prayer and opened fire. He injured nineteen people and killed six. Less than a month later, the windows of Al-Tawuba Mosque in Montreal were vandalized. These two incidents are just a few of the many that have been on the rise in recent months. One young Muslim woman, Mona Abdullah, took the feelings of frustration and anger that this violence caused and channeled them towards rebuilding the Muslim community in Canada.

Sometimes Your Mom’s Friends are Your Friends Too

Stephanie grew up going to a single-sex Orthodox day school and later went to Stern College for Women, a partner with Yeshiva College. But knowing her today, you’d never be able to tell. Since then Stephanie has exploded into a Jewish feminist badass, and yet a lot remains the same. 

My (Eloquent, Intelligent, and Inspiring) Rabbi

Rabbi Emily Mathis always seems to know the right thing to say. I remember being a little girl looking up at her on the Bimah during Friday night services, and wondering how she produced such beautiful and meaningful speech. I had the opportunity to speak with her recently, and I found myself wondering how she was able to answer so many of my questions before I had even asked them. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Activism." (Viewed on July 24, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/activism>.

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