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Fiction

Content type
Collection
Collage of open book, torn paper, and Jewish star

Reading Beyond Holocaust Literature: Prioritizing Jewish Joy

Halleli Abrams Gerber

Learning about the Shoah became a constant as I explored my local libraries. This sent me the message that Jewishness was inextricably linked to suffering. What if it wasn't?

Topics: Fiction, Holocaust
Headshot of woman with long dark blonde hair and book cover reading "Death Valley by Melissa Broder" in pink with image of eye on top of cactus

Grief is a Desert in 'Death Valley'

Abby Richmond

The poignant and often hilarious novel made me consider my own experiences with grief and (metaphorical) lostness.

Topics: Fiction, Theology, Ritual
Collage of stack of books superimposed over antique printed paper

Understanding My Identity Through Books

Aria Lynn-Skov

Every day I find new books to read, and I know that they will continue to help expand my understanding of my own identity, and of the world around me.

Topics: Fiction, Non-Fiction
Sara Lippman Headshot

Q & A With Author Sara Lippmann

Sarah Groustra

JWA talks to author Sara Lippmann about suburbia as an irresistible setting for fiction, radical retellings of the Torah, and more. 

Topics: Fiction, Rabbis, Bible
Zia Saylor Reading - cropped

Add One (or More) of these Graphic Novels to Your Summer Reading List

Zia Saylor

Add one of these graphic novels with badass female heroines to your summer reading list. 

Topics: Fiction

Episode 95: Word of the Week: Shiksa

From Portnoy’s Complaint to Seinfeld, the word “shiksa” is firmly embedded in popular culture. Where does the word come from, and how has its meaning changed over time? In this episode, we’re bringing back our “Word of the Week,” feature, where we dig into one word and explore how it relates to Jewish women. Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath, Keren McGinity, and Kylie Ora Lobell give us their takes.

Bookshelves collaged on orange patterned background

The Future of the Jewish-American Literary Canon

Irene Y. Raich

The Jewish-American literary canon is not only dismissive of women but hostile to them, and this is insidious and damaging to the narrative we tell as Jews and women.

Topics: Publishing, Fiction
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret film still: girl with hands clasped in prayer,

A Coming-Of-Age Story for Every Generation

Sarah Jae Leiber

The film, like the book on which it’s based, acknowledges that sixth-grade feelings are among the realest we ever feel.

Topics: Film, Fiction, Children
Judith and Ma'ayan Rosenbaum sitting on a stage with microphones, red curtain behind them

Celebrating and Challenging Margaret in Book and Film

Judith Rosenbaum

JWA's CEO Judith Rosenbaum reflects on a recent screening of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, the film adaptation of Judy Blume's groundbreaking novel. 

Topics: Feminism, Film, Fiction
Animal drawings by Liana Finck on orange gradient background

Making Space

Judy Ruden

In Liana Finck's exploration of the kabbalistic concept of Tsimtsum, the idea of God's contraction as a means of creation, I find the beginnings of a Jewish feminist future. 

Line drawings of a book and pens on light blue background

Interpreting The Sun Also Rises

Maya Viswanathan

Reading The Sun Also Rises was the first time I encountered depictions of antisemitism as an almost normal part of conversation and interaction. I didn’t know how to react to it.

Collage of character from Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse on gold background

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse Taught Me the Importance of Teshuvah

Clara Sorkin

When I thought about where I learned how to make amends, I realized it wasn't just from Hebrew school or from my family. It was, instead, one of my most-read books from childhood: Kevin Henkes’ Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse.

Batya Gur

Israeli author Batya Gur is best known for her mystery novels centering on the investigations of detective Michael Ohayon. Her work brought literary complexity to the Hebrew mystery novel.

Merle Feld

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Merle Feld on July 19, 2000, in Northampton, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Feld recounts her upbringing in Brooklyn, her involvement in the Jewish community, her work in facilitating Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, and the profound impact of her activism on her life and career as a writer and public figure.

Collage of Judy Blume on dark blue checkered background

Opposing Book Bans with Judy Blume

Sonia Freedman

Having the option to read Blume’s book about growing up as a girl did not necessarily change my view on womanhood, but taking away a comforting story that offers reassurance about a girls’ preteen years is disappointing and ridiculous.

Fleishman is in Trouble promo image

"Fleishman is in Trouble" Asks Universal Questions

Sarah Jae Leiber

This very Jewish TV adaptation of the bestselling novel crackles with sharply drawn characters and brilliant performances. 

A-WA

Happy Mizrahi Heritage Month!

Jen Richler

Celebrate Mizrahi Heritage Month by checking out some of our favorite JWA content by and about Mizrahi women. 

Outlined drawings of hamsa, pomegranate, and candles over blue background with pens

Writing My Jewish Magical Realism

Sofia Isaias-Day

My two identities and their literary traditions, Torah and magical realism, work together to shape my writing style.

Topics: Fiction, Ritual

Mindy Portnoy

Project
Washington D.C. Stories

Deborah Ross interviewed Rabbi Mindy Portnoy on November 9, 2010, in Washington, DC, as part of the Washington D.C. Stories Oral History Project. Rabbi Portnoy shares her personal journey and observations as a female rabbi, her motivations for entering the rabbinate, her perceptions of women in this new position, and her responses to challenges during a transformative period in Jewish life.

Shmutz Book Cover by Felicia Berliner

“Shmutz” Subverts the Traditional Ex-Orthodoxy Narrative

Chanel Dubofsky

Felicia Berliner's debut novel Shmutz upends the notion of a binary choice so frequently seen in literature concerning Jews living unhappily in insular communities.

Roz Chast

One of New York’s most distinct Jewish cultural voices, Roz Chast is most famous for her New Yorker cartoons over the past four decades. Her works range from whimsical, irreverent, and quirky to poignant and heartbreaking, and she is widely considered one of the most comically ingenious and satirically edgy visual interpreters of everyday life.

Molly Cone

Project
Weaving Women's Words

Roz Bornstein interviewed Molly Cone on May 22, 2001, in Seattle, Washington, as part of the Weaving Women’s Words Oral History Project. Cone recounts her family's immigration history, childhood in Tacoma, Washington, feeling different as a minority, education, writing career, marriage, raising children, Jewish holidays, and her passion for travel, including visits to Israel.

Movie Still from "Ghost World", 2001: Image of Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch

"Ghost World": Flawed Portrayals of Flawed Jewish Women

Lucy Waldorf

Ghost World is satirical, but is that fact enough to excuse the writing of the Jewish female characters?

Ennis Bashe and the cover of their book Scheme of Sorcery.

Interview with Disabled, Non-Binary, Jewish Poet and Novelist Ennis Bashe

Jen Richler

JWA talks to Ennis Bashe about how their different identities intersect, and what they want every disabled and able-bodied person to know.

Lillian Simon Freehof

Lillian Simon Freehof (1906-2004) was a leader in developing transcription services for people with visual impairments and blindness, working with Sisterhood volunteers at Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh, PA, and, at the national level, with the Federation of Temple Sisterhoods (now WRJ).  She also wrote books and plays for children and young adults and books on needlework and Jewish festivals for adults. She was the wife of Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof.

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