Jewish Education

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Collection

Yeshivat Maharat

Founded by Rabba Sara Hurwitz and Rabbi Avi Weiss, Yeshivat Maharat is the first Orthodox rabbinical school to ordain women. Building upon expanding education and ritual roles for Orthodox women in America that began in the late twentieth century, themselves outgrowths of American feminism, as of 2021 Yeshivat Maharat had graduated over forty women who powerfully impact Orthodox and wider Jewish communities all over the world.

Six year old in pink dress seated next to elderly man dressed in a suit, sitting in pews at a synagogue

My Grandfather: Guide in My Jewish Feminist Journey

Simone Feinblum

It may seem strange to credit my 87-year-old grandfather for the development of my Jewish and feminist identities, but he helped me gain the confidence to speak my mind and advocate for myself.

Rezadeiras among Bene Anusim in Portugal

The rezadeiras, prayer-women, began to play an important role in crypto-Jewish practice after the late fifteenth-century Expulsions from Spain and then Portugal forced anyone who wanted to live as a Jew to do so in secret.  

Karen Sarhon

Karen Gerson Sarhon, founder and vocalist of the Sephardic music group Los Pasharos Sefaradis, is coordinator of the Sephardic Culture Research Center in Istanbul, Turkey, and chief editor of El Amaneser, the world's only newspaper wholly in Judeo-Spanish/Ladino. She continues to produce innovative projects for the preservation and promotion of Sephardic culture and language.

 

Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg

Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg is a highly regarded Torah scholar and author. Her complex interpretive lens is both contemporary, in drawing from literary sources, philosophy, and psychoanalytic theory, and very traditional, in reading the Bible through the lens of classic commentaries and rabbinic midrash.

Monica Unikel

Mónica Unikel-Fasja is a chronicler of Jewish immigrant stories. She created a dozen guided walking tours in Mexico City and revitalized the oldest Ashkenazi synagogue as a bastion of Jewish culture, designating it a treasure trove of history fully accessible to the general public.

Open Torah scroll with yad.

A “Boy's Mitzvah”: Discovering the Intersection Between My Feminism and My Judaism Through Torah

Rose Clubok

“Are you going to read Torah? We think that’s a boy’s mitzvah.”

Leike Kogan

Lía Gilinski de Kogan, known as Leike Kogan (1911-2001), was a prominent activist in the Yiddisher Kultur Farband (YKUF/ ICUF) and its women's movement (Organización Femenina del ICUF, OFI), linked to the Yiddish-speaking section of the Argentine Communist Party. She stood out as a leader and teacher in the schools belonging to this network.

Mina Fridman Ruetter

Mina Fridman Ruetter (1922-2003), an Argentinean-born Jew, was the most prominent leader of the Yiddisher Kultur Farband (YKUF) beginning in the 1970s. She studied and worked as a writer, teacher, and translator in organizations linked to the Communist Party and the Soviet Union. She was a highly visible leader and the disciple of YKUF intellectuals such as Pinie Katz and Samuel Gordon.

Photo of Sarah Schenirer

Tracing the Roots of Jewish Women's Education

Ellie Klibaner-Schiff

Sarah Schenirer started the revolution—that is still in process today—to create equal Torah learning opportunities for women.

"Untitled" by Sonia Delaunay, 1917

Each Time I Enter the Synagogue: A Teen on Antisemitic Gun Violence

Madeline Canfield

My reaction to antisemitic gun violence is not one of fear, but of alertness to a threat far more normalized for me than for my elders.

souvenir name mugs featuring illustrated fish. Names "Eva" and "Hanna" are on the mug.

Learning to Love My Name

Ari Fogel

I always knew my name was about to be called when a teacher announced with an almost mocking grin, “I know I’m gonna butcher this one…”

Camp counselor surrounded by campers, all wearing white. Sitting on benches during services.

In the Image of God?

Mica Maltzman

When I was younger, around the time of my consecration, my vision of God was simple.

Rising Voices Fellow Emma Cohn with father

How Jewish Are You?

Emma Cohn

I have spent the last year learning that we are all at different places in our Jewish education; we have all had different sets of experiences. And they are all valid.

Woman speaking into a megaphone

Shouting Doesn’t Have to Mean a Sore Throat

Ilana Jacobs

While at the time I couldn’t admit it to myself, I felt deep down that the world wouldn’t end if I gave up this cause.

Hannah Downing at L'Taken Social Justice Seminar

Raising My Voice

Hannah Downing

I was in a room full of young Jewish liberals of diverse backgrounds, taking workshops on topics such as campaign finance reform and the history of abortion in the Talmud. What could be better!?

2017 NYC Women's March

Gaping Ideologies at Whole Foods

Mirabel Sandler

I’ve spent my formative years in various liberal bubbles, shielded from the reality of a bigoted and unaccepting America. I’ve been fortunate enough to live in New York City, a progressive hub and notoriously accepting city, to spend five summers at Eisner Camp, a Reform Jewish camp where we often discuss gun violence prevention, and to attend the progressive Temple Shaaray Tefila my whole life.

Ruby Russell's Business Card

The Internet’s Girlfriend and the Power of the Business Card

Ruby Russell

Constricting suppositions about young women are nothing new. We’re “bored by academia,” “weak,” “hysterical,” “hormonal,” “boy crazy,” and “fashion-obsessed.” Of course, we teenage girls are sometimes hormonal, fashion-obsessed, and a little romance-crazy (as most teenagers are), but we are so much more than that.

Mirabel Sandler at her Bat Mitzvah

My Big Fat Feminist Bat Mitzvah

Mirabel Sandler

The very idea that I would have to proudly chant and accept this story, this version of Judaism that so obviously conflicted with my feminist sensibility, forced me to question my Jewish identity in a very real way, and for the first time.

Lila Zinner at Consecration

Growing Up Jewish

Lila Zinner

I made the decision to continue Hebrew school after seventh grade when my friends informed me that they signed up because it “sounded fun.” That decision, although not well thought out, was one of the best choices I’ve ever made.

2018-2019 Rising Voices Fellow Shira Minsk in First Grade

Why Keep Passover When You Love Carbs?

Shira Minsk

Now that I’m out in the secular world, I have to decide what Judaism really means to me. I have to distinguish between the things that are actually important to me and the things I’ve just done out of habit.

Nina Baran's Tanakh

Interpreting the Torah Through a Feminist Lens

Nina Baran

I got my own Tanakh and started doing some research. I looked up different passages, including some that I’d heard that seemed to go against my beliefs as a feminist and activist.

Lily Drazin at her Bat Mitzvah

Orthodoxy, Feminism, and Me

Lily Drazin

My family, being more progressive than most in our community, are strong believers in women reading from the Torah. My older sister, Jennie, read Torah at Robinson’s Arch, the egalitarian section of the Western Wall, for her Bat Mitzvah, so it was a given that I would do the same.

Kotel Mechitza

Finding My Space

Molly Weiner

I visited the Western Wall twice as part of my school’s eighth grade trip to Israel—once on a weekday, and once on Friday night. These two experiences couldn’t have been more different.       

Daniella Shear Outside Elementary School

The Day School Question

Daniella Shear

There’s a lot to think about when choosing schools for your kids: private or public, religious or secular, co-ed or single sex. Parents try to make the best choice for their child and for their family with the resources they have. It’s impossible for a parent to know what the best fit will be for their four or five-year-old for the next 13 years, so ultimately they just have to choose a school and hope for the best.

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