Feminism

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Willow Season 6

In Willow's Defense

by Rena Lubin

From my initial pre-teen viewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with my mom, to the countless times I have revisited the series since, I have always adored Willow Rosenberg, Buffy’s Jewish best friend who is lovable, dorky, and consistently overshadowed by the dramatic fight scenes, the messy romances, and everything having to do with Buffy Summers. That is, until the infamous sixth season when her witchy powers become her downfall.

Topics: Feminism, Television
Image from A Yes on 3 Rally

Young People Will Always Be Powerful

by Sky Karp
Every Tuesday in the cramped living room of the Beacon Hill Friends House, I transform into someone who’s not only their equal but their mentor, their advisor, their trainer, and their coach. Every Tuesday, I’m not some powerless queer kid scared at the state of the world, but a powerful Jewish organizer with the ability to engage dozens of people in our movement.
Eighth Grade Movie Image

Eighth Grade, #MeToo, and Me

by Larisa Klebe

One scene from this movie that I can’t get out of my head, is one that, in the age of #MeToo, speaks volumes about not-quite-right sexual encounters at a young age.

Topics: Feminism, Film
Hannah Gadsby and Omi

How Hannah Gadsby Helped Me Reclaim My Omi’s Story

by  Zoë Shannon

I thought Omi’s story should have been collected because I thought I knew what her story was. I had created an easy narrative that both mythologized and sanctified her. Unknowingly, I forged an account of Omi as a “perfect woman” who spent her days working and her nights taking care of her son.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 3 Promo

J.A.P. - Jewish American ... Proletariat?

by Lisa Kahn

I am not, by an stretch of the imagination, a princess, dripping in designer merch after swiping my dad’s credit card. My mom grew up in an a working-class home with four sisters and was raised almost solely by her mother.

Carrie Fisher in When Harry Met Sally

The Five Most Feminist Moments from When Harry Met Sally

by Bella Book

Imagine my delight when I discovered that, much like a fine wine and the old bag of M&Ms I recently found in the console of my car, Nora Ephron’s classic, smart, script has not only aged well but has in fact been improved by a growing social awareness that women shouldn’t be shamed for knowing what they want and how they want it.

Topics: Feminism, Film
Rena Lubin and Her Mother as Young Girls

The Power of Personal Histories

by Rena Lubin

As an aspiring oral historian, I’ve always gotten chills when listening to recorded interviews. I love the interviewer’s inviting questions, the way the interviewee may leap into a narrative, the chance for the listener to peer into the interviewee’s past, and the powerful, sometimes nostalgic, recollection of a story.

Mental Health in Scrabble Tiles

Embracing Crazy and Having Hope

by Tamar Cohen

There are several points in the year of an American Jewish feminist student that demand a certain degree of self-reflection – Yom Kippur, for example, or the secular new year. Or, as I see now, the last month of school. I began this school year as an ally for people struggling with just about everything, but most passionately for those struggling with mental health issues. Along the way, my own mental health started to take precedence. But activists and Jews are creatures of hope, so when I started to lose hope, it was this dual identity that kept me afloat.

Topics: Feminism
Women's March on Washington, 2017

Authentic Community Organizing, From Food to Feminism

by Sofia Gardenswartz

From dining on Mexican-fusion cuisine at Macho’s, to learning about the intersectional practices of San Diego’s large Mexican-Jewish population, my identity has largely been shaped by San Diego’s multiculturalism.

Topics: Feminism, Food
Cantor Alisa Pomerantz-Boro

Blazing a Trail, One Note at a Time

by Sofia Gardenswartz

I’ve always considered words to hold a certain power. As the old saying goes, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” So, when I was sitting in the front row as my little brother was called to the Torah for the first time as a bar mitzvah, something struck me about the language of the event. Usually, the English translation in the siddurim (prayer books) follows the literal Hebrew on the opposite page, reading “God” for “Adonai” and “He” for “Hu.” But in the readings that day, God was genderless. The biblical Hebrew that has been passed down for millennia wasn’t changed, but the English translation avoided the use of any pronouns that would invoke gender. 

Stage with Microphone and Stool

Dear Male Comedian

by Rabbi Leah Berkowitz

I spend a lot of time trying to shift the focus away from my appearance, my love life, and my sexuality. By sizing me up in front of my entire community, you undid three years of that work in 30 seconds.

Topics: Feminism, Comedy, Rabbis
Rabbi Jennifer Singer

Faith and Feminism

by Minnah Stein

Last year I met Rabbi Jennifer Singer, and I immediately looked up to her. She’s a strong, spiritual, and independent woman who commands the room with her lively personality. She’s an excellent rabbi, and I always leave her sermons with new ideas and ways of thinking. 

Gann Academy Teacher Amy Newman

My Jewish Studies Teacher Is My Favorite Jewish Feminist

by Julia Clardy

At every school, in every subject, there’s a certain teacher who everyone hopes to see on their class list in the fall. At Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts, in the Jewish Studies department, that teacher is Amy Newman. I’ve been lucky enough to have her two years in a row, making me the object of much envy from my peers, but she is truthfully one of the most exceptional educators I’ve ever met. Amy is incredibly knowledgeable, gracious, and funny, and she makes a sincere effort to let her students into her life and teaching process as much as she can.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2004

RBG: Icon and Bubbe

by Bella Book

The film traces her transformation from a young Jewish girl in Brooklyn ... to her current status as a veteran justice, cultural icon, and bubbe. Younger women may know more about RBG’s more recent work, but the film emphasizes how her early work in the 1960s and ‘70s totally changed life for American women in fundamental ways.

Topics: Feminism, Film
Three RVF Fellows in Feminist T-shirts

Women's Rights are Human Rights

by Larisa Klebe

Feminism is a big part of the Rising Voices Fellowship, and our Fellows involve themselves in feminist work in a variety of different ways. From attending conferences about issues facing women today, to addressing sexual assault in schools and beyond, these young women are standing up for themselves, and for women in their communities.

Topics: Feminism
Rabbi Leah Berkowitz at her Ordination

The Consequences of Professional “Negging”

by Rabbi Leah Berkowitz

Having started my career young (and single, and a woman), I feared that congregations wouldn’t take me seriously. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that, once congregations invited me to be their rabbi, they’ve treated me as one, without question.

Topics: Feminism, Rabbis
Rachel Brosnahan

The Marvelous Concept of Imperfection

by Rachel Harris

My mother is an avid recommender. She sends me articles and book titles, offers topics to blog about—she even suggested I see Hamilton with my grandma when it first opened on Broadway (before it got super popular). Unfortunately, more often than not I just roll my eyes and ignore these recommendations (as us teenagers often do), and so I have yet to see Hamilton. In the spirit of not making the same mistake twice, I didn’t ignore her when she told me to watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Topics: Feminism, Television
Image of crowd from 2017 Women's March

Humility as an Intersectional Practice

by  Judith Rosenbaum

The messiness of the world and the limits of intersectionality as a theory have re-asserted themselves once again in the events surrounding Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory’s embrace of Louis Farrakhan and refusal to publicly condemn his anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ diatribes. I’d like to make a case for an intersectionality rooted in humility. What if, instead of using theory to express what we know, we used it to create space for what we don’t know?

Cast of Runaways

You Go, Gert Yorkes

by Josephine Rosman

I’m a simple woman. I don’t need too much encouragement to start a new TV show. So when I heard there was a Hulu original series coming out that features a purple-haired, teenage, Jewish feminist with a pet dinosaur, I decided to watch it. And, I’m so glad I did. 

Topics: Feminism, Television
Sex and the City Poster

Feminism in Sex and the City: Looking Back and Moving Forward

by Sofia Heller

New York City. Quippy dialogue. Journalism. Fashion and shoes galore.

What’s not to love about Sex and the City?

Topics: Feminism, Television
Gerda Lerner at Sarah Lawrence College

10 Quotes from the Jewish Founder of Women's History Month

by Abby Richmond and Bella Book

Here are some choice quotes on marginality, what progress looks like, and why women’s history matters, from the Jewish woman who started it all!

Silence Breakers Throughout History Composite (Color)

Historical Silence Breakers

by Bella Book

Here are just a few of the Jewish women throughout history who spoke out, breaking long-held silences about social issues and women’s disenfranchisement. Their stories remind us that change happens when women use their voices, loudly and together.

Sarah Deer Headshot

Between Andrew Jackson and Hitler: An Interview with Sarah Deer

by Emily Cataneo

Sarah Deer is a Jewish Native American lawyer and professor who has worked to end violence against women for more than two decades. Her activism has led to legal updates that enable tribes to more easily prosecute sexual assault on their land. She’s also the author of four textbooks about tribal law, and in 2014, received a MacArthur Fellowship for her work.

Black Lives Matter Logo

Kneeling to Take a Stand

by Rachel Harris

I’ve never really distinguished between my feminist and activist identities. They’ve always been one and the same – my feminism inspires my activism, and thus they are not two distinct parts of me. As I’ve grown, I’ve gained more awareness about important social justice issues both inside and outside the feminist movement, one example being police brutality. 

Dorrit Corwin Dressed Up as Julia Child for School Presentation

From Spy to Spatula to the Small Screen

by Dorrit Corwin

When I was in third grade, I had to choose a famous role model to research and present to my class. Naturally, I chose Julia Child – not because I was an aspiring chef or because I wanted an excuse to buy a red wig – but because I left the theater after seeing “Julie & Julia” (2009) absolutely fascinated by her legacy; both inside the kitchen, and beyond its walls. A female public figure with a personality as strong as hers was rare during the 1950s, and her role as a volunteer spy during World War II taught me that no one is just one thing. Even though history often highlights people solely for what they were most famous for, it’s important to look beyond that and explore their multiplicity of talents and contributions to society. 

Topics: Feminism, Food
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