Jewish Education

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Rising Voices Fellow Emma Cohn with father

How Jewish Are You?

by 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

by 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

by 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

by 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

by 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

by 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

by 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?

by 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

by 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

by 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

by 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

by 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.

Shira Small with her Great-Aunt Esther

Labels vs. Identity

by Shira Small

Jewish. Feminist. Single. Religious. People are so multifaceted that labels often can’t capture the entirety of our experiences. I interviewed my great-aunt Esther about various elements of her complex identity and where they intersect; I mostly came away wondering if labels—namely “Jewish” and “feminist”—can really do our identities justice. As a Jewish, single, working woman in her 70s, I assumed my aunt would have a plethora of stories that fit a single narrative. But life is complex, and messy, and seldom fits into the boxes we create to try to make sense of it all.

Gann Academy Teacher Amy Newman

My Jewish Studies Teacher Is My Favorite Jewish Feminist

by Julia Clardy

At every school, in every subject, there’s a certain teacher who everyone hopes to see on their class list in the fall. At Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts, in the Jewish Studies department, that teacher is Amy Newman. I’ve been lucky enough to have her two years in a row, making me the object of much envy from my peers, but she is truthfully one of the most exceptional educators I’ve ever met. Amy is incredibly knowledgeable, gracious, and funny, and she makes a sincere effort to let her students into her life and teaching process as much as she can.

Dorrit Corwin and Rabbi Laura Geller

Rabbi Laura Geller: Torah of Jewish Feminism

by Dorrit Corwin

I wasn’t always easily identifiable as the Jewish feminist activist I am today. In fact, I was a Hebrew school drop-out ... but then I discovered Rabbi Laura Geller.

Girls in Trouble: Women's Agency and Power in the Torah

Guest teacher Alicia Jo Rabins introduces two new study guides from her "Girls in Trouble" curriculum. By exploring the stories of the Sotah, and the daughters of Tzelofchad, participants consider women's agency and power in the Torah.

Ink of our Own: Women Who Scribe

Torah Scribe and Educator Julie Seltzer takes participants on a behind-the-scenes tour of how Torahs are written, and discusses the Jewish law that has long kept women from being scribes.

Rising Voices Retreat Workshop

Addressing #MeToo with Jewish Teens

by Larisa Klebe

If you work with teens in any number of settings, you know that for many of them, the #MeToo movement is at the forefront of their minds ... Although it’s not our primary role as educators to provide counseling for teens who may be struggling with their own #MeToo experiences, we can play a part in helping them navigate this complex and multi-faceted conversation, and in a Jewish context.

Kathy Green

By reflecting on her life in the context of her family of origin, the community of her childhood, and the historical framework of her time, Kathy deepened our knowledge and understanding of Kathy and the loneliness and losses that shaped her. She also expanded the data that form the stuff of history—shedding new light on growing up female, American and Jewish in small town America, the immigrant experience, assimilation and anti-Semitism, and Jewish women’s religious needs and search for meaning.

Tamar Cohen at her Bat Mitzvah

Near(ly) a Woman

by Tamar Cohen

Every year in the Hebrew month of Shevat, Jews around the world read Parshat Yitro, the Torah portion that contains the Ten Commandments. But the “Big Ten” are only part of this portion – Parshat Yitro also contains a visit from Moses’ father-in-law, a feast, and a set of instructions from G-d transferred with questionable integrity by Moses to the Israelites. Before becoming a Bat Mitzvah at age 12, I spent months studying this portion and its various commentaries. One line was particularly alarming to me: “Be ready for the third day: do not go near a woman.”

Josie Rosman at her Bat Mitzvah

Whose Bat Mitzvah Is It Anyway?

by Josephine Rosman

Becoming a bat mitzvah was the most spiritual event of my life thus far. Being surrounded by my friends, family, and community as I claimed my place as a Jewish adult was exactly as awe-inspiring and invigorating as I’d been promised it would be. The only dark spot of my day came just after services, during the celebratory brunch, when my uncle informed me that my interpretation of the Torah was wrong.

Gloria Steinem and Linda Stein, Suited Up (cropped)

Diving into the Wreck with Linda Stein

by Bella Book

Imagine my surprise when I encountered the equivalent of an androgynous rubber suit embodied in the sculpture of artist/activist Linda Stein. Unlike Rich’s suit, which is confined to the page, Stein’s art is tangible. In fact, some of these sculptures are wearable.

Education for Social Change: Teaching Young Jewish Leaders

JWA is thrilled to partner with Tali Puterman, winner of the 2017 Natalia Twersky Educator Award, to present themes and teaching methods from her winning lesson, “Henrietta Szold: Learning from the Past to Shape Our Future.”

Ruth Calderon

As a Talmud scholar and a member of the progressive Israeli political party Yesh Atid, Ruth Calderon has sought to break down the traditional divide in Israeli society between right-wing Orthodoxy and secular liberalism.

Eliana Light

Eliana Light has used her passion for music and Jewish education to engage children and adults in a relationship with the divine.
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