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Children

A Tradition of Taking Risks

In traditional society, men are seen as the risk takers, while women are supposed to be docile homemakers. When women step up to the plate, it stands out. To me, the women who bravely put aside their fears and take matters into their own hands are the ones who make the difference and are role models for all people.

In the Torah, there is a story of two women, Shifra and Puah, and the risks they took to save the lives of some children in Egypt. These midwives worked for the Israelites and took orders from Pharaoh, who knew the two of them and specifically told them to kill any male children born to Hebrew mothers, but they chose to not listen to him. It’s not clear if these two women were part of the Jewish people or if they were Egyptians. Still, their story takes place for a reason, not just to explain how Moses survived, but also to bring a lesson to future Jews about courage and the impact of the risks they take.

Natalie Goldstein Heineman, a friend of children, is born

March 16, 1913

Natalie Goldstein Heineman was a voice for children at every level of government.

Dr. Ruth Finkelstein

A beloved doctor for generations of Baltimore women, Dr. Ruth Finkelstein promoted women's health and reproductive rights over a career that spanned half a century.

Meta R. Buttnick

Born in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1913 to Irish émigré parents, Meta grew up among “living libraries,” men who told stories of their lives on Alaska’s frontier. Educated in Dublin and Paris, she moved to Seattle in 1939 with her husband, Harry, where they raised three children. Meta became active in Seattle’s Orthodox community, and soon, she began compiling the oral and written histories of Seattle’s Jewish people and institutions. The Jewish Archives at the University of Washington-thanks in large measure to Meta-now houses many of these histories, including Meta’s own wonderful story among them.

Rebecca Benaroya

A renowned community leader and philanthropist, Becky Benaroya and her family extend the love and generosity she learned as a child. Born and raised in Seattle’s Sephardic Jewish community, Becky is devoted to Seattle’s elderly populations, the city’s Symphony and arts programs, and the preservation of her Sephardic heritage. She and her husband Jack raised three children. Active in the Jewish and larger Seattle community, her life continues to grace the civic, cultural, Jewish, and family life in the city she loves.

Feminism: Being Free to Make Your Own Decisions

Today we welcome our first post from Marissa Harrington-Verb, one of our Rising Voices Fellows. Be sure to check the JWA blog each Tuesday for a new post from one of our fellows—and check out the great educational resources provided by our partner organization, Prozdor.

My mother, Elisa Harrington-Verb, loves feminism. But more importantly, my mother loves motherhood. She is the most devoted and loving mother that my little brother Sawyer and I could have wished for. When we were young, she stayed home with us all day. She slept next to us at night, and she breastfed us until we decided for ourselves it was time to wean. I love her more than anything, and if you had tried to tell me back then that she was raising me wrong, I would have looked at you like you were crazy.

I had no idea that my mother’s relationship with us was something she had to defend.

That “Aha” Moment

Every child deserves the right to learn. Every Jewish child deserves to have a Jewish education. Every teacher should have the opportunity to watch a child have that “aha” moment. Every child deserves to learn without having any stumbling blocks in his or her path and as a teacher, it is my pleasure, to ensure that there are never any in stumbling blocks in the way.

Heartsick

As the words of Eicha echo in my ears and the tune gets stuck in my head, I think about how next summer we will still be lamenting same historical tragedies. The crusades and the inquisition and the Holocaust and the siege of Jerusalem all still will have happened. But additional tragedies, of children going to bed and waking up and going to bed again still hungry, of brains not being fed by education, and of bodies forced to bear children they do not want or cannot take care of, are still ahead of us.
 

Irena Sendler saves Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto.

October 20, 1943

Irena Sendler Saves Jewish Children from the Warsaw Ghetto

Hot Dads, Privilege, and Fairness

Let’s be honest: fair or not, I’m a pretty privileged parent.  True, being a single gay Jewish dad in a relatively gay-less and Jewishly deprived region occasionally makes me feel like an exotic animal at a religious petting zoo or some interactive exhibit at a sexual orientation museum.  But moments like these pass quickly and are replaced by reminders of my advantaged status, regardless of how just this may be.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Children." (Viewed on June 25, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/children>.

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