Feminism

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Image of crowd from 2017 Women's March

Humility as an Intersectional Practice

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

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

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

Abby Richmond
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

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

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

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

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
Rising Voices Retreat Workshop

Addressing #MeToo with Jewish Teens

Larisa Klebe

If you work with teens in any number of settings, you know that for many of them, the #MeToo movement is at the forefront of their minds ... Although it’s not our primary role as educators to provide counseling for teens who may be struggling with their own #MeToo experiences, we can play a part in helping them navigate this complex and multi-faceted conversation, and in a Jewish context.

Episode 20: Breaking the Sound Barrier

Why do women’s voices generate more criticism than men’s? Susan Stamberg – the first woman in America to host a nightly national news broadcast – talks with us about voice and gender bias, losing her New York accent, and becoming the sound of NPR. We also hear from Emily Bazelon of Slate’s Political Gabfest about the reception of her voice and owning her sound.

Josie Rosman's Roller Derby Team

Derby Girl

Josephine Rosman

When I first started playing roller derby (a contact sport played on roller skates) as an 11-year-old, I didn’t know how to skate. I could barely make it one lap around the track in my rental skates. Fast forward to last summer–my team and I made it to the national championships in Colorado. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve come a long way during the past four years—not just as a skater, but as a person. Roller derby has been one of the most empowering forces in my life, and it’s contributed significantly to who I am today.

Topics: Feminism, Athletes
Julia Clardy's Legs

Wearing the Pants, and the Dress as Well

Julia Clardy

When I showed a girl in my class the prom dress I was thinking about buying, the first thing she asked me was whether or not I was going to shave for prom. Her question wasn’t really that surprising. People often associate body hair with uncleanliness, and they don’t expect it to appear in formal situations. The fact is, people only question me about my body hair when I’m wearing something more traditionally feminine. When I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt people rarely look twice at my legs or armpits, but when I’m wearing a dress, people consistently double-take. When it comes to how other people see me, it seems that my casual clothes and body hair make more sense together than my more feminine clothes and body hair.

The H-Spot Book Cover

More than “Galentine's Day”: Recognizing Female Friendships

Rabbi Leah Berkowitz

Recently, a few of my clergywomen friends dropped by a congregational Shabbat dinner, and we spent the latter half of the evening catching up while people finished their meal. Some members of my community didn’t know how to process the presence of these women at my table, and a few expressed resentment that my attention was divided.

Legends Football League Game

1 Down and Yards to Go for the Lingerie Football League

Natalie Harder

I’d like to think that I’m really good at pretending to know about football. As a self-proclaimed Green Bay Packers fan, I can name about 5 players and can usually tell which team is scoring the touchdown. Needless to say, when I found myself watching a Packers game at a friend’s house with all of her friends (who didn’t know me, but certainly knew football), I felt pretty out of place. I couldn’t offer much to the conversation comparing Packers’ quarterbacks Brett Hundley and Aaron Rodgers, but when the conversation turned to the Legends Football League (LFL), formerly known as the Lingerie League, I had plenty to contribute. 

Topics: Feminism, Athletes
Jaclyn Friedman

Video Interview with Jaclyn Friedman

Judith Rosenbaum
An interview with Jacyln Friedman about her book, .
Egyptians Admire Sarai's Beauty

Sarai and the Silence Breakers

Natalie Harder

Once a month, I meet with about ten other Jewish girls as part of the Rosh Chodesh program. We drink tea, bake cookies, do mindful meditations, and kvetch. Most importantly though, we talk about the impact our female identities have on our daily lives and within Judaism. Earlier this month, over a batch of half-baked brownies, we discussed a Torah portion that rattled the foundation of my identity as a Jewish woman.

Topics: Feminism, Bible
Unscrewed Close-up title image

Unscrewing Ourselves

Bella Book

Friedman’s book dives into the national narrative of female sexual submissiveness that’s perpetuated by our patriarchal culture. This narrative comes in the form of abstinence-only sex education, widespread toxic masculinity, and a collective reluctance to support women’s sexuality on a social and political level.

Sheryl Sandberg with Option B

Finding Strength From Our Foremothers

Sheryl Sandberg

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. 

Ask Me Another Rubiks Cube

That Time I Apologized for Winning

Rabbi Leah Berkowitz

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.

Topics: Feminism

Enid Shapiro, 1925 - 2017

Enid Shapiro lived tikkun olam. She was an early feminist, a devoted Jew, an unceasing learner, and she made a difference in countless people’s lives through her devotion to repair the world and her commitment to kindness and care that came from a place of profound integrity.

"Judith Slaying Holofernes" by Artemisia Gentileschi, circa 1614-20 (cropped).

A Feminist Hanukkah

Abby Richmond

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.

Topics: Feminism, Hanukkah
Gloria Steinem and Linda Stein, Suited Up (cropped)

Diving into the Wreck with Linda Stein

Bella Book

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.

Rising Voices Fellow Emma Mair with her Cousin Izzy

A Letter to My Little Cousin

Emma Mair

In the past year a lot has changed in the world that we live in, and all of these changes–many scary–have inspired me to try my hardest to tell you the truth about the reality that girls once lived in, and the reality we live in today.

"Free To Be You And Me" Album Cover by Marlo Thomas

45 Years of Free to Be You and Me

Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr

When he was three, my son, Jacob, asked for Baby All Gone for Hanukkah. And I couldn't have been prouder.

Blame it on “Free to Be You & Me.” Like many of my generation, that album belonged to the soundtrack of my formative years. Teaching about gender equality in an informal and natural way, the songs and vignettes were snappy, clever, and extremely memorable.

Topics: Feminism, Music
Gloria Greenfield Cropped

Lights, Camera, Social Change!

Natalie Harder

Everyone has that movie. The movie you’ve seen a million times and every time you watch it you’re slightly horrified with yourself because you quoted the entire thing and sang some of the background music. But that isn’t what horrifies me most about Spy Kids now. What currently horrifies me the most is that its executive producer, Harvey Weinstein, has been accused by over 30 people of being a sexual predator. 

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