Politics and Government

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Student Council Yearbook Photo with Rising Voices Fellow Elisabeth Eigerman

Student Council Speeches and Politics

by Elisabeth Eigerman

I love student council. I’ve served on student councils since sixth grade. Contrary to what television says, student council races are rarely competitive. In fact, I’ve only been in one race where there was actually an opponent, and even then it was pretty clear who was going to win. My sophomore year in high school, three people ran for three spots each year so there wasn’t even voting. Still, we had to give speeches. 

Rising Voices Fellow Abby Richmond on Election Day 2008

Halt the Hillary Hate

by Abby Richmond

If you know anything about me, you know that I love Hillary Clinton. I’ve been infatuated with Hillary since 2008 when she ran against Barack Obama. One of the most iconic pictures from my childhood is a blurry photo of eight-year-old me holding a sloppily drawn sign for Hillary on Super Tuesday of that year. I didn’t know too much about politics back then, but I knew fervently that Hillary was my favorite candidate. 

The White House

Why I Fell in Love with The West Wing

by Hani Fish-Bieler

The West Wing is, in my opinion, one of the greatest TV shows of all time. It’s the perfect balance of seriousness and comedy, with enough storylines to keep you interested but not too many to get confused. It’s intellectual, but totally engaging. The characters are witty and lovable. I could go on about my love of The West Wing for hours. And I wouldn’t be done.

Which Jewish Woman in Politics Are You?

Firebrand or bipartisan—who's your inner politician?

Women Voting in 1936

What Really Counts

by Lisa Batya Feld

As we enter an election cycle that promises to be intense and potentially groundbreaking, the Jewish Women’s Archive is looking to collect your stories about elections.

Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton

Clash with the Titans

by Lisa Batya Feld

This has been a lousy week for feminists of all ages. The longstanding tensions between second- and third-wave feminists have been boiling over as the old guard claims that younger women mistakenly think feminism is a thing of the past, that we’re distracted by other causes, that we don’t understand the importance of having the first woman president.

Donald Trump

It's About Time We Dump Trump

by Noam Green

Donald Trump isn’t a name thrown around fondly in my social circles. I’d say I live comfortably in a liberal bubble, one which sees Donald Trump as an overblown joke.

"True BU" Campaign Image

Marwa Sayed, a Leader in the Community

by Elisabeth Eigerman

Marwa Sayed was the first Hijabi I ever met. I was a freshman in high school and she was a junior. A force to be reckoned with, she terrified me. She had strong convictions for equality and justice from which she did not back down. I served on student council with her at Boston University Academy (the high school we both attended) for two years, and during that time she led the charge to abolish the dress code and to establish gender neutral bathrooms. 

Monica Lewinsky

Monica Lewinsky: From Ruin To Role Model

by Abby Richmond

While we know the most intimate details of the scandal, what most Americans don’t know about (or don’t care about) is the extreme personal harm that Lewinsky endured as a result. 

            

Emma Goldman with Noam Green

My Friend Crush on Emma Goldman

by Noam Green

There is a certain type of girl our parents always told us to stay away from when we were younger; she was often described as bad news, or as bound to corrupt our innocent souls. Always getting herself into trouble, she's the type of girl who the adults detest and the kids idolize.

Ayn Rand Cropped

No Room For God?

by Maya Franks

It is more difficult, in my opinion, to believe in something that you can’t hold in your hand than it is to live a life strictly governed by accepting the world around you at face value. It goes against human nature, however, not to long, wish, or hope. 

Mollie Steimer

Mollie Steimer earned nationwide attention (and the admiration and friendship of Emma Goldman) for her refusal to compromise her anarchist beliefs throughout the first major trial of the Sedition Act.
Emma Goldman, 1886

Trying To Be The Iconoclast

by Sophie Edelhart

It is telling that the when you Google “anarchy”, two definitions come up: one that calls it a “state of disorder” and the other, “a political ideal.” But in my mind, to paraphrase Ellen Willis, anarchy is not a violent rebellion but an overhaul of societal consciousness. I find it more compelling now to be a critic, of everything, because to live critically is to live truthfully.

Wedding Dress, cropped

Say Yes to the WHAT?

by Tara Metal

I have spent too many nights—nay, entire weekends—doing my nails, eating lunch, drinking gin and tonics—in front of TLC’s masterpiece to see it desecrated by old white men trying to appeal to women voters. I’ve grown up with this show: I remember when Kleinfeld’s consultant Sarah got engaged, when consultant Keisha announced she had breast cancer. I watched in horror as bride Amanda’s dad bought her a $30,000 gown to wear under her $25,000 chuppah, and cried every time a bride got emotional about buying a dress without their mother there. Say Yes To The Dress is my rock: it brings me joy, it’s always there when I want it with countless episodes to rewatch, and it prompts important rants (let’s call them conversations) about feminism and gender in my apartment. The women on Say Yes To The Dress may not all be the most liberated, but they’re MY marriage-obsessed 20-somethings, and I love them.

Rebecca Franks

A British Loyalist in the American Revolution, Rebecca Franks was known in high society for her sparkling wit.
Gloria Steinem, 1972

Political Judo: Why Words Matter

by Lisa Batya Feld

The New York Times had an interesting article today on how female politicians are leveraging offensive and sexist remarks by Republicans to mobilize their base and help with fundraising campaigns. It’s an empowering and deeply satisfying act of political judo, using your opponent’s attacks against them so their smear campaigns only leave them covered in muck themselves.

Children with a Toy Gun

Guns and Jews: Stand Up for the State of Our Union

by  Evelyn Becker

Many gun control advocates are disappointed that President Obama’s State of the Union address last night dedicated just two sentences to preventing gun violence. Since the start of January 2014, there has been a school shooting in our country every other day. Every. Other. Day.

Death of Sadie Loewith, Bridgeport activist

January 26, 1956

Sadie Loewith exemplified the adage that “all politics is local.”

Helen Suzman, 1959

Mandela, Suzman, and All Those Who Stand Together

by Lisa Batya Feld

It was beautiful, last month, listening to the many tributes that went out for Nelson Mandela in the wake of his death. I wanted to say something about my own feelings about the loss of this man who embraced his enemies and helped transform a country, but I felt like I didn’t have the right.  What could I—a Jewish-American white woman—have to say? Then a colleague suggested that I write about Helen Suzman, whose death we remember this week. I drew a blank. Helen who?

Queen Esther and Bella Abzug: Costumes, Leadership, and Identity

Throughout history, activists have chosen different costumes and personas as strategic tools to help them stand up against injustice. Examine how the biblical figure Esther and the historical figure Bella Abzug fought for justice and liberation by adopting personas that helped them to achieve their goals. JWA staff will demonstrate ways to use the stories of these women in your classrooms as you prepare for Purim.

Poverty and Hunger in the Face of the Government Shutdown

by  Jordyn Rozensky

Last week we took a look at some of the aid programs that are being shut down due to the government standoff. As the shutdown stretches into its second week, families who rely on assistance are becoming more endangered—and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

When media coverage focuses on our lack of a panda-cam in the National Zoo, I begin to question our priorities. It is, of course, upsetting that our National Parks, monuments and museums are closed; yet I wonder if these fluffier “human interest” stories detract from what our national conversation should really entail? Jokes from late night talk show hosts and the zeitgeist of the internet seem to hang on sardonic jabs at the government—which makes the shutdown appear to be a game.

In fact, the effects of the shutdown on food insecure families in America are life threatening.  The more I learn, the angrier I get. Just yesterday a friend of mine from Louisiana shared on her Facebook account that the school lunch program at the elementary school she teaches in was in danger of being discontinued. A large percentage of her students rely on this program for their one stable meal of the day. At the risk of putting it too simply, that just doesn’t seem right.

National Park Shutdown, 2013

National Shutdown

by  Jordyn Rozensky

The government shut down is on everyone’s mind—as it should be. Day two and we are all holding our collective breath. As of right now, I’m safe from the effects, but my family isn’t. My sister—a federal employee—is home, without pay, busy cleaning her basement when she should be out there making the world a better place.

My sister isn’t the only woman feeling the burn. Slate took a look at the ways the government shut down is impacting women in an article entitled Seven Ways the Government Shutdown Will Hit Women Hardest. Programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) are included on the list of "non-essential" government services shut down during the stand off.  

Handcuffs to Synagogue: A New Year, A Recommitment to Action

by  Sammie Moshenberg

Orginally published by ZEEK Magazine.

Tonight at Kol Nidre services, I will chant the prayer that absolves me from all oaths taken the previous year. The thing is — just yesterday I took an oath, alongside 119 women on a very hot day in the shadow of the US Capitol building, an oath that I (with the organization I represent, the National Council of Jewish Women) plan to keep. In part, we promised to:

"create a House United for fair immigration reform, a House United through my family, my community and my place of work, a House United for justice and equality for all and especially for the women and children who make up three-quarters of all immigrants but whose needs are woefully ignored by our failed system."

And we put our bodies on the line to reinforce our commitment to this promise.

Stand with Texas Women - Sign

To Governor John Kasich, “Pro-Life” = Anti-Women

by  Ariel Naveh

I think it’s time for those of us who seek to provide options, services and resources to all people to take back that term, and to promote a “pro-life” agenda that provides care from conception to death, and everywhere in between.

James Miller

North Carolina’s Downward Spiral

by  James Miller

Since April 29th of this year, citizens of the great state of North Carolina have been engaging in an ongoing event called “Moral Mondays.” Coordinated and led by the NC-NAACP, Moral Mondays represent the true essence of the Tarheel State—a state and a citizenry who is not afraid of standing up to oppression. It was only 53 years ago that Greensboro, one of the largest cities in NC, experienced this civic action first hand when four African American students from NC A&T staged a sit-in protest at a Woolworth’s segregated lunch counter.

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