Feminism

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The Blue Coat School: Birmingham, UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Queen Esther and Bella Abzug: Costumes, Leadership, and Identity

Discover how two remarkable Jewish women: The biblical figure, Esther, and the historical figure, Bella Abzug, both fought for justice and liberation by adopting personas that helped them achieve their goals.

Taking Risks, Making Change: Bat Mitzvah and Other Evolving Traditions

The letters from one girl's campaign to have the first Saturday morning Bat Mitzvah in her congregation in 1974 serve as a case study for exploring how we confront controversial issues and make change in our communities.

Tefillin Barbie: Considering Gender and Ritual Garb

Using the provocative image of "Tefillin Barbie"—created in 2006 by soferet (ritual scribe) Jen Taylor Friedman—examine the relationship between gender, body image, and ritual garb.

The American Jewess on Liberation and Freedom

Investigate what it means for American Jews to celebrate Passover and the Fourth of July in the context of religious and national freedom, by reading an editorial from the April 1897 issue of The American Jewess.

Wrestling with God and Jewish Tradition

Learn about Jewish immigration and the development of the Jewish community in America through a 1790s letter, originally written in Yiddish by Rebecca Samuel to her parents in Hamburg, Germany, describing her life in Petersburg, Virginia.

Marj Jackson Levin

Journalist Marjorie “Marj” Jackson Levin was an important voice for feminism in Detroit, raising awareness of domestic abuse and other women’s issues.
Group Shot, 2016 Ghostbusters

Who Ya Gonna Call? Feminism and Race in This Summer's Ghostbusters Reboot

Bella Book

This summer, paranormal activity gets a new set of adversaries as four awkward and highly intelligent women come together to prove not only that ghosts are real, but that women are capable of rebooting a previously all-male franchise.

Topics: Feminism, Film
Stack of Magazines

Celebrity Status

Hani Fish-Bieler

I don’t think I fully understood the importance of my mother's words at the time. But looking back, this lesson, and being raised in a household that constantly preached passion and hard work over vanity, are some of the things that have shaped me most into who I am today.

Topics: Feminism, Motherhood
High School Graduation Photo of Rising Voices Fellow Ariela Basson

The Beauty of Insignificance

Ariela Basson

I wouldn’t really say I write for change. In theory, yes, that’s a wonderful idea: the idea that everything can be changed through the power of the pen (or should I say keyboard), but I honestly don’t believe that’s true in my case.

Topics: Feminism, Writing
Maya Franks Photo Collage

I Am My Own Person and Proud

Maya Franks

Each day when you wake up in the morning, you have a choice. You can be positive, or you can be negative. Sometimes people blame what choice they make in the morning on what is going on in their lives, be it trivial or life threatening issues. I am one of those people.

Topics: Feminism
Delaney Hoffman with a Camp Friend

On Feminism’s Place in a Conventional Summer Space

Delaney Hoffman

My summer camp has rats in the walls and rotting wooden decks and haunted basements. My summer camp is hot and cold, made up of love and hate and freedom and restriction and myth and reality. My summer camp is more corrupt than the Brazilian government but still comforting enough to call it a religion. My summer camp is where I grew up two weeks at a time. 

Heather Booth / Alicia Garza

Organizers

Organizing for Equality

Feminist Relics in Rising Voices Fellow Sarah Groustra's Room

Cool Girls Club

Sarah Groustra

When I was nine, I idolized Hermione Granger. I had just finished the Harry Potter series, and I was convinced that she was everything I aspired to be--bookish and intelligent, a powerful witch who stood up for what she believed in, but who could also snag the world’s best Quidditch player as a prom date. 

Empty Journal

A Journalistic Odyssey: Or, Why I write obsessively

Caroline Kubzansky

I’ve kept a journal since I was ten years old-- just over a third of my life. After seven years of writing, I’ve filled eighteen notebooks, all of which I’ve kept in a box under my bed. I can get lost for hours in these old volumes; I’ve been known to lose full weekend evenings to re-reading my thoughts from sixth grade. 

2015-2016 Rising Voices Fellowship Cohort Selfie

Finding A Community

Rana Bickel

Such is the life of a Rising Voices Fellow.  Late nights full of soul searching and edited drafts covered in red. Going to sleep feeling like your latest piece is worse than your third grade diary, and waking up realizing it’s halfway decent. But it’s not just about the writing. 

Topics: Feminism, Writing
Rising Voices Fellow Sarah Groustra

This is Purely Theoretical

Sarah Groustra

You are female.

You wake up in the morning and get ready to go to school. Picking out clothes can sometimes be a little emotional for you. Like 91 percent of other girls, you are unhappy with the way you look. Doing your makeup isn’t easy either. The day that you ran out of time to put any on, someone called your skin gross. A few days later, your friend tells you you’d be prettier if you just didn’t wear so much makeup. 

Man and Woman in Profile

Are they picking on you?

Hani Fish-Bieler

I appreciate an outstretched hand in a moment of need. Kindness is a necessary building block for a just world. I do not, however, appreciate my voice being minimized because of my gender. I do not appreciate condescension in a moment when I am working to prove myself. 

Topics: Feminism, Schools
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