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Feminism

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Collection
Joan Nestle

What Does Sex-Positive Feminism Look Like?

by Belle Gage

Joan Nestle opened the door to important conversations about women and sexuality. Contemporary feminist activists must continue them.

Suffrage in the United States

At the turn of the twentieth century, Jewish women in the United States participated vigorously in virtually all the era’s mass social movements, including the suffrage movement. Although individual American Jewish women had supported suffrage since the movement’s beginning in the mid-1800s, its revitalization during the 1890s—just when the American Jewish population was growing tremendously due to mass migration from eastern Europe—brought ever-increasing numbers of Jewish women (and many men) of all class, ethnic, national, and religious backgrounds to the cause.

"The Feminine Mystique" Book Cover by Betty Friedan

Dear Betty Friedan

by Lilah Peck

Every good dystopian novel is about a character who questions the system. In this way, Betty Friedan is like my favorite characters: Katniss, Tris, Jonas. 

Topics: Feminism
"Sleeping girl," painting by Sonia Delaunay, 1907

Blu Greenberg: Making a Home at the Intersection

by Neima Fax

I learned from Blu Greenberg that to accept the discomfort of existing in the intersection between feminism and Judaism is an empowering thing to do.

Topics: Feminism, Jewish Law
Eli Wiesel Banner at the Jewish History Museum in Tucson

Jewish Diaspora in the Borderlands: An Interview with the Tucson Jewish History Museum

by Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler

We talk to Josie Shapiro about the Tucson Jewish Museums's role in advocating for immigrant justice in Arizona and creating queer-affirming, feminist Jewish space.

#MeToo Scrabble blocks

The Work of a Movement: #MeToo and Vicarious Trauma

by Emily-Rose Baker

#MeToo is not just an ephemeral social media phenomenon. It's a movement, and movements require work.

Sign with #MeToo written on it

Someone You May Know

by Hannah Downing

I never, ever imagined that I would be sexually harassed. I thought that my environment was safe, and that I was doing everything I could to keep myself safe.

Topics: Feminism, Schools
Banner that reads, "men of quality respect women's equality

Why Feminism Needs Teenage Boys

by Emma Nathanson

The boys in my class created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Their worry over claiming a title because of their lack of action made it impossible for them to take action in the first place.

Topics: Feminism, Schools
Rosie the Riveter

Finding My Femininity

by Ilana Jacobs

I was weird for being strong. “Weird” because physical strength is not often an attribute associated with women.

Photograph from the Oslo women's march

A Jewish Day School Revolution: Combatting Injustice

by Lily Drazin

With the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements on the rise, I knew I wanted to deal with the issue of sexual violence.

Pete Holmes doing stand-up

No, I Can’t Take This Joke

by Emma Cohn

In between the mutters of “slut” thrown out like gut punches, the message was clear. They were making rape jokes.

Topics: Feminism, Schools
Women of the World club yearbook photo

“Less Feminist”

by Madelyn Gelb

Women of the World was the club where I could talk about issues I really cared about, such as sexism and the wage gap.

Topics: Feminism, Schools

Vicki Gabriner, 1942 - 2018

Activist, agitator, proud Brooklynite, feminist, lesbian, socialist, wit, wife, cherished friend and relative. Vicki Levins Gabriner was articulate, principled, often ahead of her times.

Still Photo from "Working Woman" (2018)

Film Review: "Working Woman"

by Karen Davis

Exclusively for JWA, film critic Karen Davis reviews Working Woman, a film about one woman’s #MeToo story in Israel.

Audre Lorde, Meridel Lesueur, and Adrienne Rich, 1980

Poetry as Protest: Adrienne Rich Fought for All Women

by Abigail Glickman

Rich once said, “In a time of frontal assaults both on language and on human solidarity, poetry can remind us of all we are in danger of losing–disturb us, embolden us out of resignation.” In other words, poetry has the power to express the things that unite us all as humans and can inspire us to work together toward a common goal.

Fabric Collage

Vashti's Story: A Midrash

by Rabbi Rachel Bearman and Rabbi Paul Kipnes

Rabbis Rachel Bearman and Paul Kipnes retell the story of Vashti in her own voice in this “Midrashic Monologue.”

Topics: Feminism, Purim
Phonetic Spelling of Privilege

Privilege and the Chosen People

by Ava Berkwits

I feel as if I won the lottery by being born Jewish, as so many of my most cherished memories and values are inherently tied to this part of my identity. As proud as I am of my Jewish identity, I’ve always been troubled by one of the fundamental ideas in Judaism: that Jews are “the chosen people.”

"Jewish Feminisms/American Visions" Conference Poster

Seven Lessons from our Feminist Foremothers

by Judith Rosenbaum

JWA’s Executive Director Judith Rosenbaum reflects on her experience at the “Jewish Feminisms/American Visions” conference at the University of Michigan.

Bella Abzug Speaking with Constituents, 1976, by Diana Mara Henry

Hurricane Bella: A Whirlwind of Intersectional Feminism

by Emily Axelrod

Abzug is an exemplar of what it means to be an intersectional feminist. She used her power and privilege to advocate for those she described as “on the outside of power.” Being a Jew herself, she was familiar with identity-based oppression, and because of that she knew she had to use her power to help fight for others.

Beate Sirota Gordon, 1987

Beate Sirota Gordon

by Amy Jarkow

An unexpected champion for women’s rights in post-war Japan, Austrian born Beate Sirota Gordon was an inspiring intersectional feminist. At age of 22, and fresh out of college with a degree in modern languages, Gordon, along with a small team of Americans, was responsible for writing Japan’s constitution in the aftermath of World War II.

Ilana Glazer Cropped

My Intersectional Feminist Queen, Ilana Wexler

by Lily Drazin

“Madonna, Rihanna, Ilana!” That’s just one of the many unique jingles enthusiastically sung by none other than the ultimate feminist, Jewess, and queen: Ilana Wexler. Wexler, the fictional character from Comedy Central’s hit series Broad City, embodies every aspect of what it means to be a badass, world-changing, intersectional feminist.

Shirley Siegel, 2015

Shirley Adelson Siegel Is My Intersectional Feminist Role Model

by Madelyn Gelb

Shirley Adelson Siegel is proof that Judaism isn’t something that has to hold me back from being a good feminist or activist. On the contrary, Judaism can be the force that propels me forward and pushes me to be a better person. Judaism has taught me to love my neighbor as I love myself, to not speak ill of others, and to take care of people who need help, all of which are things that make me a better person and a better feminist.

Evelyn Torton Beck

Evelyn Torton Beck: An Intersectional Role Model

by Shira Minsk

Beck’s acknowledgment that Jewish lesbians had a unique struggle for acceptance and belonging in the feminist, lesbian, and Jewish communities was a radical move. She fought for more recognition and validation by feminist activists and lesbian activists, who she felt did not take her work seriously.

You Are Worthy

How to Practice Radical Self-Love

by Rachael Dubinsky

Post Valentine’s Day, peep these tips for how to practice radical self-love.

Topics: Feminism
Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, 1983

Rosalie Silberman Abella: The Canadian RBG

by Nina Baran

In my opinion, Abella has demonstrated intersectional feminism through her work as a legal advocate and supporter of civil rights for marginalized communities. Before her appointment to the bench, Abella was considered one of Canada's foremost human rights lawyers.

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