Politics and Government

Content type

Raffi Freedman-Gurspan becomes first openly transgender person to work as a White House staffer

August 15, 2015

On August 18, 2015, Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, hired by Barack Obama, became the first openly transgender person to be a White House staffer when she began work as Outreach and Recruitment Director in the Presidential Personnel Office at the White House.  

Gold line drawings of woman, mask, and tambourine on blue and gold background

The Megillah's Two Models of Leadership

Maya Viswanathan

Megillat Esther reminds us of a different way to lead, a different way to change the world.

Death of Empress of Ethiopia Seble Wongel

December 4, 1567

Seble Wongel became Empress of Ethiopia after her marriage to Emperor Lebna Dengel in 1512 or 1513. Wongel was one of the more important and powerful female figures in Ethiopia during the time. She played a noteworthy role in the Ethiopian–Adal war and was known to leave a strong impression on foreigners. 

Sophie Wilmès becomes first Jewish and first woman Prime Minister of Belgium

October 27, 2019

On October 27, 2019, Sophie Wilmès became the first woman and first Jewish Prime Minister of Belgium. A member of the center-left Reformist Movement Party, Wilmès was appointed Prime Minister of a caretaker government, which ran the country while parties were in talks to form a coalition government.

Omer Yankelevich named first female Haredi minister in Israeli Parliament

May 14, 2020

On May 14, 2020, Israeli’s Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz named Omer Yankelevich as Diaspora Minister, making her the first Haredi woman cabinet member. Yankelevich was the second Haredi woman to serve in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament).

Episode 78: Word of the Week: Gaslighting

From MSNBC to Fox News, the word "gaslighting" is everywhere these days. But where does it come from and what does it mean? This time in our Word of the Week series, we dig into the ubiquitous term: its roots in a 1944 Hollywood thriller, how it has come to be used today, and whether it's still a useful word. We speak with linguist Rachel Steindel Burdin and psychotherapist Robin Stern. We'll also hear from comedian Judy Gold and Tik Tok star Miriam Anzovin.

Episode 76: Message From Ukraine

Vlada Nedak lives in Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine, only an hour's drive from the front lines of the war. She's a wife and mother and the owner of a menagerie of household pets. She's also the Executive Director of Project Kesher Ukraine, a network of Jewish women building community and leadership. When Russia invaded Ukraine, like many Ukrainians, Vlada was faced with the difficult choice of whether to stay or try to leave the country. In this episode of Can We Talk?, Nahanni speaks with Vlada about her experiences of the war and about how it has affected the women in Project Kesher's network.

Collage with Breastfeeding Outlined Figure with Blue Pomegranate Patterned Yellow Background

The Fight for Family Paid Leave: From 1919 to Today

Mira Eras

From activists like Rose Schneiderman in 1919 to activists today advocating for the paid leave section of the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill in Congress, we've been trying to change the system.

Shulamit Aloni elected to Israel’s 6th Knesset

November 2, 1965

Shulamit Aloni fought tirelessly for individual rights, women's rights, and religious freedom. She served as an Israeli minister and Member of Knesset for 28 years.

Pnina Tamanu-Shata sworn into office as Israeli Minister of Aliyah and Integration

May 17, 2020

Pnina Tamanu-Shata’s anti-racism activism in Israel and her dedication to equality for all those who wish to live in Israel resulted in her selection as the Minister of Aliyah and Integration in 2020. She was officially sworn into office on May 17, 2020.

Collage of Michelle Wu standing in front of an orange line train

Michelle Wu: The Power of Community Activism and a Hopeful Future for Boston

Talia Bloom

As I look back on my Jewish feminist foremothers and their respective activist efforts, I see many parallels with Michelle Wu’s work on the Orange Line in Boston.

Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp and Annaleigh Ashford as Paula Jones

FX’s Impeachment: A Study in Caricature and Misogyny

Sarah Jae Leiber

By putting some of the show’s female stars in prosthetics, FX’s Impeachment is guilty of the same misogynistic behavior for which it faults the media.

Ruth Messinger wins Democratic mayoral primary in New York City

September 9, 1997

On September 9, 1997, Ruth Messinger became the first female Democratic mayoral candidate in New York City history when she beat Al Sharpton in the Democratic primary election

White Puzzle Pieces on Blue Background

A 1,000-Piece Puzzle: My Jewish Ancestral History

Judy Goldstein

My ancestral history is like a 1,000-piece puzzle with half of the puzzle pieces missing.

Background Collage of School supplies with Picture of Dodie Altman-Sagan Studying at Gann Academy, 2019 in the forefront.

Underfunded and Unavailable: The Need for Accessible Education in the US

Dodie Altman-Sagan

In my family of four kids, my dyslexia made me the odd one out. I believed it was uncommon, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Esther Abrahams

Convicted of stealing lace from a London store in 1786, Esther Abrahams was transported to Australia for seven years’ penal servitude and arrived there with her baby daughter in 1788. She is an iconic figure in Australian history, having almost immediately become the lover, and much later the wife, of a Scottish marine officer who rose to be one of the wealthiest and most powerful man in New South Wales.

Text: "Call Jane" with teal background and bright blue stripes

Heather Booth and The Jane Collective: Judaism in Pursuit of Justice

Ma'ayan Stutman-Shaw

Recently, I’ve found hope in the work of a Jewish feminist icon whose pro-choice activism is awe-inspiring: Heather Booth.

Róża Pomeranc-Melcer

Róża Pomeranc Melcer was a social reformer, feminist, and Zionist active in Galicia and later in Eastern Lesser Poland. She was the first and only Jewish Member of Parliament in the Second Polish Republic (1918-1939) and championed the goals of modern Zionist women's politics.

Drawing of Zelophehad's Daughters

The Daughters of Zelophehad and the Right to Broadband Internet

Noa Gross

Noa and her sisters pushed for something which, at the time, wasn’t recognized as an inherent right. Today, we need to do the same with broadband internet access.

Illustration of Figures Celebrating with Candles in Background

Shabbat During the 2020 Election Week: Finding Community and Solidarity

Simone Miller

On Shabbat, our Mexican American neighbors informed our largely Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of the results: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had won. 

Gallows near the US Capitol, January 6, 2021

The Answer to Rising Fascism in the US? Collective Liberation

Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler

On January 6, 2021, white nationalists stormed the Capitol. What do we do now?

Daniella Levine Cava With Supporters in Coral Gables, Florida

Daniella Levine Cava: Miami’s Matriarch

Goldi Lieberperson

Daniella Levine Cava, to whom I affectionately refer as “DLC,” made history during this election cycle.

Photo of Kamala Harris with Barbie Silhouette Background

From Barbie to Kamala: “Little Girls, Dream Big”

Dahlia Plotkin-Oren

Just as Mattel has expanded Barbie dolls to represent broader diversity, we as a society need to continue working towards equality and representation. Kamala Harris's election is a step in that direction.


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