Feminism

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Bella Abzug at a Women Strike for Peace Protest

#JWAmegaphone: Voices of Power and Protest

by  Judith Rosenbaum

At JWA, we believe that history is not only about the past, but also about the present—it’s unfolding every day.

Alicia Jo Rabins

With her indie rock song cycle Girls in Trouble, musician Alicia Jo Rabins has reinterpreted the women of the Bible for a modern audience.

Biblical Deborah

My Gateway to Jewish Feminism

by Lili Klayman

When I was younger, I learned about a woman who drove a people from war times to peace. She was widely respected in a male dominated era, and she was one of only seven women who spoke to God directly. The protagonist of the story is the prophetess Deborah. 

Rachel Swirsky

Rachel Swirsky’s experimental and feminist stories have garnered both awards and controversy from the science fiction and fantasy community.

Esther Friesner

Fantasy author Esther Friesner uses humor and imagination in her writing to question the tropes and clichés about women in general and feminists in particular.
Jane Harman (Cropped)

Jane Harman: Crushing Gender Boundaries in Politics

by Madisen Siegel

Since November 8th I’ve been thinking a lot about politics. Personally it was devastating to see Hillary Clinton lose the Presidential election. It took me a while to digest the news because nearly all the polls had predicted otherwise, and most people assumed it was a sealed deal. 

Henny Wenkart

Through her creation of the Jewish Women’s Poetry Workshop, Henny Wenkart created much-needed community and resources for Jewish women writers.
Cartoon Image of a Woman with a Thought Bubble

Tongue-Tied

by Emma Bauchner

There’s pretty much only one way to make sure your opinions are heard: speaking up. While this might be the best way to get your ideas out there, it's not always easy.

Topics: Feminism, Schools
2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Lili Klayman on a Service Trip

Cleaning The World of Mansplaining

by Lili Klayman

“It doesn't seem to matter if you have a PhD in neuroscience, that won't stop some [man] from assuming you are ignorant on the subject and carefully explaining what he learned in his high school bio class.” This quote, from an article by Lily Feinn published on Bustle, perfectly explains the art of mansplaining. 

Topics: Feminism, Schools
"That's funny. Do you want me to ruin it with my feminism?"

I Walk the Line: The Shaky Tightrope of Male Validation

by Katy Ronkin

Freshman year, my new friend John (name changed to protect the male ego) made a lot of gay jokes, and I laughed at every one of them. He would make all these jokes about Jews, egged on by his Jewish friends, and I laughed at every one of them. Freshman year, John would joke about rape, and when I didn’t laugh, John laughed at me. 

Topics: Feminism, Schools
2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Maya Jodidio Pipetting DNA into a Gel

Whoever Said Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend Never Saw a Girl Doing Science

by Maya Jodidio

High school boys often try to explain physics or calculus problems to me in a way that clearly implies they think I have no idea what I’m doing. Sometimes a classmate asks me a science question and almost immediately a male peer nearby says, “Don’t worry! I can explain this if she can’t!” In addition to mansplaining, jokes about feminism and subtle sexist comments occur on a daily basis at my high school, so I’ve become used to it. 

Stock Image of Girl Wearing Athletic Jersey and Visor

Fifth Grade Feminist Football Fight

by Aliza Abusch-Magder

I didn’t want to play football, I just wasn’t accustomed to being told no, especially without being given a logical reason. So the right for girls to play football, which I could’ve cared less about personally, became a cause for which I fought with persistence.

Topics: Feminism, Schools, Sports

Episode 8: WITCH in Action

On Halloween of 1968, a coven of witches in black robes and pointy hats hexed Wall Street. They called themselves WITCH—Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell—but there was nothing international or violent about this guerrilla theater protest group that emerged in the early days of the women’s liberation movement. We talk with Bev Grant about WITCH’s origins at the Miss America Beauty Pageant, and Heather Booth, who was part of a coven in Chicago. Historian Joyce Antler puts WITCH into context.

"Shelo Asani Isha" Blessing

The Oxymoron of Jewish Feminism

by Abigail Fisher

I had fallen so deeply in love with Jewish text study that I neglected to see the many ways in which I was not represented in those texts. The tension became clear: How could I honor  a tradition that did not make space for me as a female? 

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Diana Myers Wearing Tefillin

Binding My Religious and Feminist Identities Together

by Diana Myers

I started wearing tefillin at camp. I was fourteen and I had a lot of ideas about overthrowing patriarchal Judaism, and I thought it looked cool. Tefillin are traditionally worn only by Jewish men who have reached bar mitzvah age (thirteen), although Conservative and Reform Judaism, some of the more liberal sects of Judaism, are very accepting of women wrapping as well. 

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Aliza Abusch-Magder with her Mom

My Jewish Feminist Roots and The Fruit of My Mother’s Labor

by Aliza Abusch-Magder

My mother struggled her whole life to bring her love of Judaism and her expectation of gender equality together. I was raised on the foundation that she had worked tirelessly to build. 

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Sarah Biskowitz with her Sister and Friend

A Podcast That Sounds Like Me

by Sarah Biskowitz

“‘We talk about current events, friendship, Beyoncé, and politics,’ Aminatou Sow said in Episode One of the podcast Call Your Girlfriend. I smiled to myself. That’s exactly what I talk about with my friends, I thought.”

Topics: Feminism, Media
The Blue Coat School: Birmingham, UK

How the WASP-iest School in America Taught Me to be a Feminist

by Madisen Siegel

I would understand if upperclassmen boys bad-mouthed feminism – they tend to have the need to silence strong women. But our head of school? The first female to hold this position at my school? What kind of example does that set for new girls on campus? 

Topics: Feminism, Schools
Hands in the Shape of a Heart

Power Through Words

by Lili Klayman

Boys in my preschool told me that I should like pink. “Boys like blue and girls like pink;” that was their reasoning. They told me that if I wanted to play with them at recess I couldn’t “act like a girl.” I didn’t understand what they meant, but I agreed to the terms. While things like this didn’t bother me in preschool, as I got older, people’s choice of words started to have more and more of an impact on me. 

Topics: Feminism, Schools
2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Eden Olsberg in Tsfat (Cropped)

A Pluralistic Girl in a Non-Pluralistic City

by Eden Olsberg

As a vocal feminist, you might expect me to get upset at various sites in Israel, such as the Kotel, because women are not treated equally to men. On the contrary, I tend to forgive these characteristics that go against my personal values, and instead embrace the spiritual and Jewish aspects to which I can connect. However, I broke this trend on a Shabbat trip to Tsfat, one of the holiest cities in the country with one of the most observant populations. 

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Emma Bauchner at Camp

Deciphering the Code

by Emma Bauchner

Dress codes. If you’ve been on the internet in the past few years, you’ve probably noticed that teenage girls tend to butt heads with them quite a bit. You may have read about how blatantly discriminatory dress codes are when it comes to gender. You might already be informed about how they contribute to victim blaming, are a form of slut shaming, and reinforce rape culture.  Indeed, dress codes have become a sort-of gateway into feminist thought for teenage girls. For me, they were certainly a rude awakening.

Jewish Food

Holidays and Eating Disorders

by Mitali Desai

This fall, when we greet family members we have not seen in a long time–especially our female relatives–let us comment not on their physiques, but on their accomplishments at work or school. Let us make a collective effort to refrain from commenting on other people’s food choices when we sit down for dinner.

Topics: Feminism

Episode 7: Women of the Wall

This month, Can We Talk? attends a Bat Mitzvah with Women of the Wall at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The group has been fighting for women's right to read Torah at Judaism’s holiest site for nearly three decades—there have been arrests, multiple lawsuits, and a rift in the organization. The Israeli Supreme Court recently took the government to task for failing to provide a non-Orthodox prayer space at the Wall—and indicated it will take matters into its own hands if the government doesn’t act soon.

March into the National Women's Conference, 1977, by Diana Mara Henry

Seven Quotes by Jewish Women that Give Us Life

by Bella Book

It feels safe, and true, to say that Women’s Equality Day exists, in large part, because of the activism of Jewish women. It was Bella Abzug who, as a congresswoman in 1971, proposed that August 26th be designated “Women’s Equality Day.” She did this to commemorate women’s fight for the right to vote and the passing on the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920 and the one-year anniversary of the “Women’s Strike for Equality” March, in which 50,000 women marched down the streets of New York City, demanding free childcare, equal access in education and jobs, and the right to safe and legal abortions.

Topics: Feminism

Lilith Evolved: Writing Midrash

Interrogate the notion of midrash using "The Coming of Lilith" by theologian Judith Plaskow as an example of how contemporary Jewish feminists have created their own midrashim—retellings of biblical stories—to incorporate women's viewpoints into the traditional texts of Judaism.

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