Feminism

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Collection

Sue Levi Elwell

A pioneer of inclusive Judaism as one of the first openly gay women rabbis, Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell helped empower countless Jewish women to take ownership of Jewish tradition.

Amy Eilberg

Defying expectations placed on her as the first woman rabbi ordained by the Conservative Movement, Amy Eilberg forged her own path as a chaplain and pastoral counselor.

Gesa Ederberg

Gesa Ederberg’s status as the first woman rabbi to serve in Berlin since the Holocaust has helped her reinvigorate the German community that once represented the cutting edge of liberal Judaism.

Dianne Cohler-Esses

As the first woman rabbi from the Syrian community, Dianne Cohler-Esses has used teaching to open up new possibilities for others.

Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Sharon Cohen Anisfeld has brought her passion for activism into her role as dean of the rabbinical school at Hebrew College, inspiring her students to blend both engagement with tradition and engagement with social justice.

Rachel Adler

Rachel Adler has always challenged her religion from within, from her early days as a pioneer of the Jewish feminist movement to her later ordination as a rabbi.

Resilience is an attitude Cropped

The Power of Resilience

by Ariela Basson

Change: the act or instance of making or becoming different. Change can be wonderful. Change can be terrifying. Change can be exciting, but change is never easy. Whether we want it to happen or not, change doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye. It takes time and effort. I learned this lesson when I decided to start a new position for my temple’s USY (United Synagogue Youth) board. 

Twitter Icon

The Twitter Abyss is Real, and I Fell Into It Once. Whoops.

by Delaney Hoffman

Twitter has slowly, but surely, cemented itself as the ideological battleground of the 21st century. With access to only 140 characters per post, the ability to put out and respond to personal opinions seems to adhere to that one line from Hamlet that most people don’t remember is from Hamlet, “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

Pixabay Image of a Woman Crying

I Hate Being an Activist

by Rana Bickel

My activism takes the form of words. Words that tiptoe out of my mouth and gently push others on a path towards justice.  But increasingly I find myself not being able to speak. Why? Because being an activist is making me miserable.

"Grease" Rehearsal

Is Grease Sexist?

by Elisabeth Eigerman

I once told a friend of mine that I think Grease is horribly sexist because the plot is basically: girl changes herself to get the guy. He responded, “I always thought it was her throwing off negative social norms. It’s not like the whole goody two shoes thing was good.” His sentiments versus my own are the crux of the argument about whether Grease is a sexist movie, or one that supports feminist ideals. 

Topics: Feminism, Schools, Music, Film
Pride and Prejudice, 2005 Film

Elizabeth Bennet, Feminist Killjoy

by Sarah Groustra

I became a full-blooded Janeite when I read Emma as a twelve year old, shortly followed by Austen’s classic, Pride and Prejudice, a few months later. I was captivated by a world of lavish parties, grand estates, and husband-material men who make five thousand a year

Topics: Feminism, Film, Fiction
Jennifer Lawrence in "Joy"

The ‘Miracle Mop’ Can’t Wring Out Dated Stereotypes

by Eliana Gayle-Schneider

Joy is a cute movie, to say the most. Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Joy Mangano, is a housewife who strives to become a businesswoman despite the men in her life advising her against it. On the surface, this is a powerful story about  a woman coming into her own; a working class woman in the late 80s who moves beyond her meager station in life to make a name for herself. 

Barbra Streisand in What's Up, Doc?

Unlearning Silence in What’s Up, Doc?

by Caroline Kubzansky

For all that I am the outspoken, proud nerd in my school life, for all that I try to speak up for my views and ask questions in academic settings, for all that I am confidently liberal in conservative settings— I am distinctly self-conscious about all of it. 

Topics: Feminism, Comedy, Film
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Feminist Force Awakens

by Gabrielle Cantor

On December 17, I joined millions of people around the world in a line. Now this was no ordinary line. In front of me stood Chewbacca, and behind me several Stormtroopers waited patiently. This was the line to see the latest and possibly greatest movie in the Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens. That evening, I joined fans both young and old in delighting in the marvels of another world. I lost myself in the journey of Rey and Finn, cheering for their victories and crying at their defeats.

The White House

Why I Fell in Love with The West Wing

by Hani Fish-Bieler

The West Wing is, in my opinion, one of the greatest TV shows of all time. It’s the perfect balance of seriousness and comedy, with enough storylines to keep you interested but not too many to get confused. It’s intellectual, but totally engaging. The characters are witty and lovable. I could go on about my love of The West Wing for hours. And I wouldn’t be done.

"Legally Blonde" Movie Poster

Is Elle Woods a Feminist?

by Abby Richmond

Elle Woods was one of my favorite heroines growing up, and I was not only in love with her sparkly outfits, but also with her fiery personality. It had been a couple years since I had watched the movie, but I caught myself thinking about Elle’s story as I walked around Harvard Square with my friend a few weeks ago. So, I decided to watch Legally Blonde again. 

Topics: Feminism, Film, Law
Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer

The Broads are Back

by Larisa Klebe

That’s right. The much anticipated third season of Broad City is finally here! YAS KWEEN! After a hiatus which ardent fans like myself would classify as an eternity, Abbi and Ilana have at long last returned with their shenanigans, their pot, their feminism, and, as we learn from season three’s opening sequence, their multi-faceted bathroom use.  

Miss America Pageant, 2014

Pageant Problems

by Abby Richmond

Bess Myerson, the one and only Jewish Miss America, was crowned winner in 1945. Jordyn Rozensky’s 2013 JWA blog post, Here She Comes….Miss America, discusses the influence Myerson had on America and on the Jewish community following her big win. Myerson was the first Jewish woman to win the pageant, and she experienced significant antisemitism as a result. Despite these challenges, Myerson channeled her fame into doing good—she became active with the Anti-Defamation League and launched a successful political career. 

Topics: Feminism, Television
United Synagogue Youth (USY) Convention

Where Have All the Boys Gone?

by Elisabeth Eigerman

As soon as anyone tries to say that feminism is about women’s rights alone, someone pops up and points out that it’s a movement about equality.  But if that person then turns around and says that men are inherently sexist or that men cannot be victims of sexism, they contradict themselves.  Sexism towards men is real. It’s a parent telling their son, “big boys don’t cry.”  It’s a boy feeling unable to ask for help because he’s afraid of being perceived as weak. 

Rising Voices Fellow Gabi Cantor Celebrating Halloween as a Child

I’m Not A Princess Anymore

by Gabrielle Cantor

The world of Jewish women seems to be divided on the J.A.P. issue. Is it a positive term? Or is it a harmful one that reinforces negative stereotypes? In her article, Reclaim the J.A.P. ,for JWA’s blog, Alana Kayfetz argues that while most connotations of J.A.P. are harmful, we as Jewish women should work to redefine the term as follows: a J.A.P. is a  powerful woman who is confident and willing to work hard to get what she wants. 

Topics: Feminism, Children

Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

As dean of Hebrew College, Sharon Cohen Anisfeld has struck a rare balance between overseeing the seminary as a whole and connecting with each of her students on a personal level.

Jill Hammer

Jill Hammer co-founded the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute to offer women alternative ways of connecting with Jewish tradition by focusing on the sacredness of the body and the earth.

Sara Hurwitz

Upon becoming the first Modern Orthodox woman rabbi ordained in the United States, Sara Hurwitz took on the title “Rabba.”
Rising Voices Fellow Ariela Basson

An Open Letter to “Good Feminists”

by Ariela Basson

In her November 2013 post for JWA’s blog, Marissa Harrington-Verb wrote about the challenges and critiques her mother faced with regard to her attachment parenting. Many people, including women, would critique Marissa’s mother for her very involved approach to parenting. Ultimately, Marissa argued that feminism is the freedom to make a choice. I could not agree more with Marissa’s point. 

Topics: Feminism, Children
Mechitza

Orthodox Feminism

by Rana Bickel

A lot of people leave Orthodoxy because of the sexism. Honestly, it’s really hard to stay. Being a teenager with friends who are all forming their identities, I struggle with this a lot. Many of my friends are leaving the movement because they are tired of tirelessly fighting, enduring, and never being equal. 

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