Politics and Government

Content type
Collage of Belle Winestine on green background

Representing Perspectives in Wisconsin Across Generations

Talia Richmond

I find my work with the local board of education to be an exciting demonstration of one of the most foundational elements of a representative democracy: pluralism.

Collage of Emma Goldman with her signature and name in Yiddish

Education, Activism, and Anarchy: Examining Emma Goldman’s Legacy

Aria Lynn-Skov

Balancing the good with the questionable doesn’t mean we should ignore the harder parts of history, but in the end, it’s important to focus on what we can learn from them.

Collage of torn paper forming a stylized American flag

Voting Rights in the U.S., From the Women’s Suffrage Movement to Now

Lucy Targum

As a feminist who cares about voting equality, it is clear to me that current voting rights advocacy is in part descended from the women's suffrage movement.

Collage of outline of Iran and Roya Hakakian

Speaking Out as an Iranian Jewish Woman

Shamim Elyaszadeh

As the daughter of two Iranian immigrants, I am compelled to take advantage of the opportunities and privileges my mother, aunts, and grandmothers were deprived of.

Ruth Fein


Sylvia Greene interviewed Ruth Fein on June 12, 1992, in Brookline, Massachusetts. Ruth discusses her family history, childhood in Washington, DC, and experiences living in Chapel Hill, Washington, DC, and Boston, highlighting her early exposure to politics, encounters with anti-Semitism, education at Goucher College and Johns Hopkins University, as well as her marriage to Rashi Fein and their life in different communities, underscoring the varying levels of political engagement and her extensive volunteer work in Boston and Washington.

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.

Sherry Gorelick

Barnard: Jewish Women Changing America

Jayne Guberman interviewed Sherry Gorelick on October 30, 2005, in New York, New York, as part of the Barnard: Jewish Women Changing America Oral History Project. Gorelick discusses her upbringing, Jewish activism, feminism, and her experiences with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including her involvement in peace conferences, the Gay and Lesbian Movement in Israel, and her recent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

Julius Levy

Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Dr. Julius Levy on October 13, 2007, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Dr. Levy discusses his Jewish upbringing, medical school experience, involvement with United Jewish Appeal, and the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Jewish community and New Orleans while expressing his love for the city.

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. 

Bernice Stern

Weaving Women's Words

Pamela Brown Lavitt interviewed Bernice Stern on June 22 and July 31, 2001, in Seattle, Washington as part of the Weaving Women's Words Oral History Project. Stern discusses her Seattle upbringing, involvement in the Jewish community, activism in social justice causes, political engagement, and her roles as a councilwoman and grandmother.

Madalyn Schenk

Women Who Dared

Abe Louise Young interviewed Madalyn Schenk on January 11, 2005, in New Orleans, Louisiana, for the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Schenk discusses her journey as an activist, starting with her involvement in the National Council of Jewish Women, her work in building economic partnerships between the US and Israel, organizing the first pro-choice rally in Louisiana, and her contributions to political campaigns supporting pro-choice and women politicians.

Semah Unterman

DAVAR: Vermont Jewish Women's History Project

Ann Buffum and Sandy Gartner interviewed Semah Unterman on August 12, 2005, in Belmont, Vermont, for the Vermont Jewish Women's History Oral History Project. Unterman discusses her family, childhood activism, experiences during the war, career in education and local politics, the importance of critical thinking, and her daughter's illness and travels.

Judy Somberg

Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Judy Somberg on July 18, 2000, in Boston, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Somberg recounts her activism through the years, reflecting on her involvement in anti-war movements, women's rights, and the Cambridge Sister City Project, advocating for human rights and supporting affected communities.

Ellen David-Friedman

DAVAR: Vermont Jewish Women's History Project

Ann Zinn Buffum and Sandra Stillman Gartner, project directors, interviewed Ellen David Friedman on November 8, 2005, in East Montpelier, Vermont, as part of DAVAR's Vermont Jewish Women's History Project. Friedman reflects on her family background, immigration history, Jewish identity, involvement in progressive politics, volunteer efforts, and her role as a grassroots labor organizer in Vermont.

Hinda Miller

DAVAR: Vermont Jewish Women's History Project

Ann Zinn Buffum and Sandra Stillman Gartner interviewed Hinda Miller on December 5, 2006, in Burlington, Vermont as part of DAVAR's Vermont Jewish Oral History Project. Miller details her family background, travels to Lithuania, Ireland, and England, growing up in Montreal, educational experiences, involvement in yoga and Kabbalah, inventing the sports bra, political career as a state senator, and reflections on her family and Jewish identity.

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.

Julie Harris

Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Julie Schwam Harris on October 14, 2006, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Harris shares her family background, her work in the Mayor's office during Hurricane Katrina, witnessing the impact on vulnerable populations, her identity as an agnostic Jew, her involvement in grassroots politics, and her hopes for a more equitable future for New Orleans.

Alan Gerson

Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Alan Gerson on August 3, 2007, in New Orleans, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Gerson discusses his family history, childhood as a Jew in New Orleans, college experience, artistic pursuits, evacuation and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, emotional toll, community support for artists, disillusionment with the government, and a vivid memory of an abandoned beach ball after the storm.

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).

Joanne Alter

Women Who Dared

Deborah Michaud interviewed Joanne Alter on February 22, 2004, in Chicago, Illinois, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Alter reflects on her upbringing in a Christian suburb of Chicago, her early activism fostered by wartime experiences, her involvement in political organizations in college, her efforts in foreign relations and women empowerment, her successful political career, philanthropic work, and the influence of her Jewish identity on her activism.

Miriam Waltzer

Women Who Dared

Abrielle Louise Young interviewed Miriam Waltzer on January 12, 2005, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Waltzer shares the story of her childhood in Germany during World War II, her marriage to an American, their involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, her career as a judge, and her contributions to humanitarian organizations.

Rosalie Silber Abrams

Weaving Women's Words

Marcie Cohen Ferris interviewed Senator Rosalie Silber Abrams on May 24, 2001, in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the Weaving Women’s Words Oral History Project. Abrams, a progressive health advocate, and former Maryland Senator, reflects on her life and career in an interview, highlighting her nursing background, political engagement, and contributions to healthcare and senior services.

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.


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