Spirituality and Religious Life

Content type
Collection
Photo of Monterey Bay

Revelations Through Music at Jewish Summer Camp

Ella Thompson

At camp, every song had a different tune, and for every prayer I knew, there were four more I didn’t.

Photo of Birkenau ash pond, a single red flower growing at its bank.

Flowers At Auschwitz: The Power of Jewish Tradition and Hope

Dahlia Plotkin-Oren

The simple image of a flower growing in Auschwitz reminded me of the strength and power that hope can carry.

Close up image of Shoshanah Curiel-Alessi's tie-dyed pink and purple tallit

How My Bat Mitzvah Tallit Helped Me Find My Voice

Shoshanah Curiel-Alessi

This prayer shawl was the antithesis of everything I’d told myself I was supposed to be; it challenged tradition, caught attention, and took up space.

Illustration of Raised Hands with #MeToo Written on the Palms

Why We Still Need to Be Talking about #MeToo in the Jewish Community

Dahlia Soussan

As too many Jewish women find their allegations unheard and unaddressed, I am responsible to amplify those female voices.

Virtual High Holidays Graphic

The High Holidays Go Virtual: Three Rabbis on Jewish Ritual during a Pandemic

Elana Moscovitch

JWA talks to three rabbis about how Judaism has changed, and stayed the same, during the pandemic.

Helene Aylon's Self Portrait, 2004

Wrestling with "Ruach" (God)

Belle Gage

I tend to have more questions than answers when it comes to God.

Photo of Woman at the Beach

Spirituality, Self-Care, and the Fight for Justice

Ellanora Lerner

To see everything as holy, to be amazed by the simple, beautiful things in the world, not only brings me happiness; it also inspires me to fight for justice.

Rising Voices Fellow Lilah Peck with her sister Adina

"Lech Lecha": My Sister’s Journey from Charlotte to Jerusalem

Lilah Peck

My sister went to seminary in Jerusalem after graduating high school, both geographically and symbolically far from her Charlotte roots.

"Old Olive Tree," 1935

The Wise Child of Climate Activism

Sasha Azizi Rosenfeld

When I asked my mom how she relates to the climate crisis through Judaism, she said, “I’ve never thought about it. I guess I’m the simple child.”

Sketch of Ray Frank, 1893

"L'dor Vador": Like Ray Frank, Paving the Way for Progress

Eleanor Harris

Rabbinic ordination was not one of Ray Frank’s goals; yet, she paved the way for other women to become rabbis.

American Girl dolls

Your Best American Girl

Molly Weiner

Who among us didn't want an American Girl doll growing up?

Maddy Pollack speaking at her Bat Mitzvah party, microphone in hand. Cake on a table in front of her with text "Mazel Tov, Maddy."

The Only Jewish Kid

Maddy Pollack

When I was in third grade, my teacher asked me to tell my class about the Jewish New Year.

Gold Star of David necklace hanging in midair, in partial focus.

Jewelry and Jewish Feminism

Lila Goldstein

Like everything we wear, our jewelry displays our tastes and preferences. On a deeper level, though, it also projects our values to the world.

Stock Photo of Water

Mikveh and Water Justice

Steph Black

I am a mikveh guide. And I am an ecofeminist.

Rising Voices Fellow Emma Cohn with father

How Jewish Are You?

Emma Cohn

I have spent the last year learning that we are all at different places in our Jewish education; we have all had different sets of experiences. And they are all valid.

Woman speaking into a megaphone

Shouting Doesn’t Have to Mean a Sore Throat

Ilana Jacobs

While at the time I couldn’t admit it to myself, I felt deep down that the world wouldn’t end if I gave up this cause.

Ima Alleluia Nwachukwu

Igbo Jews: A Threatened Community

Patrick Egwu

Reporter Patrick Egwu details the persecution facing the Igbo Jewish community in Umuahia, Southern Nigeria.

Phonetic Spelling of Privilege

Privilege and the Chosen People

Ava Berkwits

I feel as if I won the lottery by being born Jewish, as so many of my most cherished memories and values are inherently tied to this part of my identity. As proud as I am of my Jewish identity, I’ve always been troubled by one of the fundamental ideas in Judaism: that Jews are “the chosen people.”

Episode 28: The Torah at Her Fingertips (Transcript)

Episode 28: The Torah at Her Fingertips (Transcript)

Silhouette of a Girl

Fixing the Flaws in Perfection

Ilana Jacobs

Every “perfect girl” I have ever met has been so humble, that they can turn a compliment into self-deprecation. It is so unbearably heartbreaking to me that these girls who are so marvelous all don’t know how marvelous they are. But the truly terrifying truth is that their humility and self-consciousness seem to be an essential part of being the “perfect girl.”

Ruby Russell at the Kotel

Am I Welcome at the Wall?

Ruby Russell

The first time I visited the Kotel (Western Wall), I cried. I know, this is nothing unusual. This historic place often invokes intense spiritual connection or deep reflection from its visitors, moving them to tears. I was certainly overcome by emotion, but for a completely different set of reasons.

Mirabel Sandler at her Bat Mitzvah

My Big Fat Feminist Bat Mitzvah

Mirabel Sandler

The very idea that I would have to proudly chant and accept this story, this version of Judaism that so obviously conflicted with my feminist sensibility, forced me to question my Jewish identity in a very real way, and for the first time.

Lila Zinner at Consecration

Growing Up Jewish

Lila Zinner

I made the decision to continue Hebrew school after seventh grade when my friends informed me that they signed up because it “sounded fun.” That decision, although not well thought out, was one of the best choices I’ve ever made.

Phoebe Chapnick-Sorokin and Family at Disneyland

Leaving My Liberal Bubble

Phoebe Chapnick-Sorokin

Because of my upbringing, the gender separation at my cousin Zoe’s bat mitzvah came to me as a shock. Why couldn’t I stand with my dad and all my male cousins? Why wasn’t Zoe reading Torah like all the other girls I knew did at their bat mitzvah services?

Western Wall

Looking at the Kotel Through a Feminist Lens

Madelyn Gelb

I remember being four years old and writing notes to God to put into the fake Kotel we had constructed at my preschool. It was about three feet tall and made out of colorful building blocks, but to me, that was as good as it got.

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