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Social Policy

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Beate Sirota Gordon, 1987

Beate Sirota Gordon

by Amy Jarkow

An unexpected champion for women’s rights in post-war Japan, Austrian born Beate Sirota Gordon was an inspiring intersectional feminist. At age of 22, and fresh out of college with a degree in modern languages, Gordon, along with a small team of Americans, was responsible for writing Japan’s constitution in the aftermath of World War II.

Justine Wise Polier and Libby Schaaf

Governing with Valor

by Molly Weiner

As the first woman Justice of New York, Polier valiantly worked to improve the family court, fought for the rights of children and poor families, and tirelessly lobbied to ease quotas on Jewish refugees. Libby Schaaf, the 52-year-old mayor of Oakland, California, also fights for the inclusion of all people.

Emily Axelrod at L'Taken

Stirred and Spurred to Action

by Emily Axelrod

Judaism never seemed to offer anything that stoked my social justice fire. I didn’t hear many calls to action in services; partly because I wasn’t looking, and partly because services felt mundane to me.

Jaclyn Friedman

Video Interview with Jaclyn Friedman

by  Judith Rosenbaum
An interview with Jacyln Friedman about her book, .
March on Washington for Gun Control

A L’chaim to Gun Control

by Kara Sherman

“He who saves one life… is as if he saves an entire universe. He who destroys a life… is as if he destroys an entire universe” (Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:5).

Sofia Gardenswartz with Friend Diana

Dialogue with Diana

by Sofia Gardenswartz

October 2016 was a difficult month. It was the month that Donald Trump started to become a truly scary candidate to me. It was also the month in which my family lost one of our beloved dogs to cancer. Amidst all this, my family was hosting a Chinese exchange student, Diana, in our home for a couple weeks. She was incredibly supportive and understanding as my family grappled with these tumultuous events.

Sheila Finestone

The World Could Use More Sheila Finestones

by Minnah Stein

She was an under-the-radar super hero. She wasn’t famous, and they don’t teach you about her in school, but Sheila Finestone is someone worth celebrating. Even though her contributions to society weren't always noticed the way they should be, she never let the sun set on her sense of service. 

Bella Abzug's Campaign Poster, 1970

Hats Off to Congresswoman Abzug

by Kara Sherman

Like Congresswoman Bella Abzug, “I’ve always had a decent sense of outrage.” I can’t say that I was the first to call for Richard Nixon’s impeachment, or that I was the student body president of Hunter College who later received her law degree from Columbia University, but Abzug’s infinite passion for social and economic justice inspires me to attempt to follow in her footsteps.

Barbara Boxer

Barbara Boxer: Senator, Jewess, Inspiration

by Shira Small

Barbara Boxer: Fittingly a great name for a fighter, and an even better name for an extraordinary, accomplished Jewish woman. As one of seven women in the senate when she was elected in 1992, Boxer’s work broke barriers for all women—especially those aspiring to work in politics.

Marcia Marker Feld

The first woman to earn a PhD in urban planning from Harvard University, Marcia Marker Feld dedicated her career to teaching the next generation of urban planners to base their work on the needs and desires of a community instead of imposing their own visions on neighborhoods.
Betsy Devos, Offical Portrait

Betsy Devos and the Stacked Deck

by Emily Cataneo

Maybe the Obama-era policies needed improvement. But DeVos’ new policy is built on the lie that men’s and women’s lived experiences and testimony are seen as equal in the eyes of society.

Rachel Kagan (Cohen)

One of two women to sign the Israeli Declaration of Independence (the other being Golda Meir), Rachel Kagan shaped women’s rights in the new state.
"The Three Musicians" Sculpture by Sam Cashwan

Art and America-A Letter to Senator Rob Portman

by Tess Kelly

When things get tough, art is usually one of the first things to suffer, but today, I’m asking you to vote in favor of allocating funding for the arts in the federal budget this year.  

Governor Nathan Deal

Making a Deal with Governor Deal

by Aliza Abusch-Magder

Having received excellent sex education when in middle school, I have become somewhat of a “sex educator” for my peers, and I am often shocked by how unknowledgeable some of them are. With the safety and healthy development of Georgia’s youth in mind, I urge you to support comprehensive sex education. 

First Lady Michelle Obama with Students

Nutritious School Lunches for All

by Sarah Biskowitz

Sometimes when I babysit, kids don’t like the meals I prepare for them. They scrunch their noses and whine “ewww!” at the nutritious food on their plates; but then I explain to them how carrots make their eyesight sharper, yogurt makes their bones stronger, and whole-grain pasta gives them the energy to play. Wanting to be strong and healthy, the kids listen and eat up.

SNAP Logo

Food for Thought

by Eden Olsberg

As a resident of Massachusetts, I urge you to fight against any incoming bills that could harm SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and the millions of Americans who cannot feed themselves or their families without it.  

Topics: Food, Social Policy
Charlie Baker

Tuition-Free College: Good for Students and Good for Massachusetts

by Lili Klayman

My name is Lili Klayman, and I am a junior at Mansfield High School. I am writing to you in the hopes that you and your administration will consider implementing tuition-free college for students in Massachusetts who struggle to pay for college. Many of my fellow students are unable to attend college due to their socioeconomic status; this is simply unfair, and prohibits promising students from reaching their full potential, and contributing all they can to society. 

Senator Jeff Klein

Dear Jeff Klein

by Abigail Fisher

With the recent election of a president who has a deleterious agenda, I have grown to depend on my representation more and more. Votes against reckless healthcare plans and sweeping immigration legislation are not merely important, but vital. Now more than ever, our district deserves outspoken representatives who vote their conscience, and accurately represent the needs of their constituents. 

Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney

Please, Sir, May We Have Some More?

by Diana Myers

I have attended city public schools all my life, and know firsthand the various difficulties Philadelphia students have faced over the years, especially those as a result of extensive budget cuts. Even though I’m very fortunate to go to a high-performing and well-funded school, I’m aware that that’s not the case for every school in the city. 

Congressman Lee Zeldin

Through a Jewish Lens: An Argument for Safe, Legal Abortion

by Madisen Siegel

My name is Madisen Siegel. I am an 18-year- old, soon-to-be-registered voter in the first district of New York. As one of your constituents, and a young adult who just moved to New York–fresh from the malls and suburbia of northern New Jersey–I am concerned about your stance on healthcare, and I am asking you to re-think your position, especially when it comes to abortion. 

Statue of Liberty

The Safe Communities Act: Empathetic Immigration Reform

by Molly Pifko

I’m writing to urge your support of the Safe Communities Act, a bill that would ensure that Massachusetts resources are not used to support discriminatory and needlessly harsh deportation policies against immigrants in our state. 

Episode 12: A New Era for the ERA

Surveys show that around 90 percent of Americans support an Equal Rights Amendment—and yet, still, the Constitution does not explicitly guarantee equal rights for women. On this month's episode, we explore the history of this amendment, from its roots as a feminist cause in the 1920s, to the failed attempts to pass the amendment in the 1970s, to the renewed efforts to revive the ERA today. We speak to activist and former NOW president Ellie Smeal about how cultural conservatism and anti-feminist activists helped defeat the amendment in the 1970s, and explore whether the fight for the ERA is still vital in today's America.

Justine Wise Polier

Women Who Fight for Us

by Abigail Fisher

In the late forties and early fifties, a time when many refused to listen to female voices, Polier made her voice heard. She was published in various legal journals and other opinion pieces, and never filtered her views so that others could digest them more easily. She didn’t mince words or walk on eggshells to sound more feminine. Her writing was unadulterated social criticism. 

Martha Minow

Martha Louise Minow has shaped laws to help the disempowered, and as dean of Harvard Law School, has also shaped the next generation of lawmakers.

Benevolent Societies and Tzedakah

Examine different ways that American Jewish women historically—and we today—fulfill the obligation of tzedakah (charity) and gemilut chesed (acts of loving kindness).

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