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Jewish Education

JWA's Institute for Educators: Making it all about the learning

Last week I was able to spend a week learning from the wonderful people at the Jewish Women's Archive as they were teaching us how to use their online archive in our schools, especially the Living the Legacy curriculum. The curriculum teaches about the role of Jewish women and men in the civil rights movement, an event that changed the world we live in.

Bat Mitzvah: A Balancing Act

A few months back, I dragged my 12-year-old, Harry-Potter-enthusiast sister to go with me to see the new Disney princess movie Tangled (which retells the Rapunzel story). In one part of the film, Rapunzel has just escaped from the tower against her mother's wishes and is encountering the World, and her independence, for the first time. (Watch the clip here.) While her companion patiently waits for her to come to terms with her new-found freedom, Rapunzel goes from one extreme to the other, from excitement to shame and worry.

Women's Liberation and Jewish Identity: Bringing it home

Last week, I had the great privilege of attending the conference “Women’s Liberation and Jewish Identity: Uncovering a legacy of innovation, activism, and social change.” (JWA was a conference sponsor, and you can check out Judith Rosenbaum’s response to the conference here!) As a research intern for Professor Joyce Antler, the conference convenor, this past summer, I spent hours reading short essays, activist statements, and poetry by many of the conference’s speakers, who were primarily Jewish women involved in feminist activism in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Seeing their words come to life as they spoke to an audience of peers, academics, and a few young feminists was enlightening, particularly as it provided me with a chance to rethink my own relationship to Jewish feminism as it relates to Jewish ritual practice.

Vivian Finkel, 1921 - 2009

I recently learned that Vivian Finkel died last June. She wasn't a great stateswoman, famous entertainer or business mogul. She did, however, help shape the lives of countless Jewish children in Manhattan over the course of more than fifty years. And that counts for a lot, at least in my book.

Mattie Levi Rotenberg, 1897 - 1989

"You're writing about your grandmother?" a friend inquires.
"Yes," I tell her. "The one who had a Ph.D. in physics."
"What about the grandmother who was a radio broadcaster?"
"It's the same one," I say.

Born in 1897 in Toronto, Canada, the oldest of 10 children, my grandmother was a "flash," to use the slang applied to her at the turn of the 20th century. Evidently brilliant from the earliest years, she excelled in school. Her 19 grandchildren grew up knowing that she had read all of Shakespeare by the time she was 12.

Florence Melton, 1911 - 2007

When I met Florence over twenty-one years ago in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, she had already proven to be a successful inventor and business woman. Florence had developed Shoulda-Shams, removable shoulder pads for the tailored look of the 40s. Because of their success, she became a co-founder of R.G. Barry Corporation where she invented the world's first foam-soled, soft washable slipper, known internationally as Dearfoams.

Alla Denisenko, 1952 - 2008

Alla Denisenko was born on January 28, 1952, in Omsk, a Siberian town in the Soviet Union. When she was eight years old, the family moved to Ryazan, Central Russia. In Ryazan, Alla went to school and met the love of her life, her future husband Sergey. After finishing high school, Alla entered Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages, English Department and upon graduation started working as a teacher of English at a high school in Moscow. In 1974 Alla and Sergey got married.

The Sisterhood reviews "Living the Legacy"

Renee Ghert-Zand, a regular contributor to The Sisterhood, raves about Living the Legacy.

When we think of Jews who played a role in the Civil Rights Movement, names like Andrew Goodman, Mickey Schwerner and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel immediately come to mind. Few of us would name Judith Frieze Wright, Heather Tobis Booth or Beatrice “Buddy” Mayer. A free, new online curriculum called “Living the Legacy,” written by Judith Rosenbaum and published by Jewish Women’s Archive is attempting to change that — by shedding light on Jews and the Civil Rights Movement through a distinctly feminist lens.

Kohenet: the Hebrew Priestess Institute, launches its first training institute in Accord, NY

August 14, 2006

Reclaiming Jewish ceremonies and holidays for feminists, training Hebrew Priestesses of all stripes, and publishing a Siddur (prayer book) that includes earth-based rituals, the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute is a new women’s movement in Judaism.


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Education." (Viewed on March 18, 2018) <>.


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