Voting Rights

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Episode 49: Jewish Women Vote

As history unfolds in this election season, we talk with Jewish women about their voting stories—past and present. We hear from a poll watcher in Georgia, a young voter whose name was nearly wiped from the voter rolls, and a rabbi who said a blessing as she slipped her ballot in the ballot box. We'll also hear from a 92-year-old voter in Florida who remembers meeting suffragist Alice Paul in the 1970s, and a candidate for US Congress who talks about the dilemma she faced in sixth grade—whether to vote for herself for class president.

Episode 44: The Nineteenth Amendment Turns 100 (Transcript)

Episode 44: The Nineteenth Amendment Turns 100 (Transcript)

Episode 44: The Nineteenth Amendment Turns 100

One hundred years ago on August 26, 1920, Congress adopted the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. In this episode of Can We Talk?, Judith Rosenbaum talks with historians Ellen Dubois, Martha Jones, and Melissa Klapper about the role of African American and Jewish women in fighting for the vote, and the racism, classism, and antisemitism that undermined the movement's impact.

Heather Booth and Fannie Lou Hamer, 1964

Freedom Summer: The Fight for Universal Suffrage Continues

Dr. Debra L. Schultz

Scholar Debra Schultz explores the history of Freedom Summer and the fight to enable all American citizens to vote.

Topics: Voting Rights
Adam and Eve Cast from the Garden of Eden by angel

Beyond Crime and Punishment

Mica Maltzman

America’s prisons, police forces, and courts seem beyond repair. Imagine how the world might look if God hadn't jumped to punish Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. 

Topics: Voting Rights, Bible
Margaret Sanger and Fania Mindell on courthouse steps, 1917

Suffrage and the Fight for Reproductive Justice

Nina Henry

Many Jewish suffragists (and anti-suffragists) also belonged to the nascent birth control movement.

Emma Goldman in Union Square, 1912

Voting Isn't Enough: A Look Back at Emma Goldman's Radical Anti-suffrage

Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler

Is voting the be-all and end-all of civic engagement? Emma Goldman didn't think so.

Elizabeth Warren on stage in a purple suit, microphone in hand.

A Thank-You Note to Smart Women

Ella Plotkin-Oren

I'm writing this note with a hopeful but heavy heart. In March 2020, I voted for the first time. I believed that this would be a tremendous year for women. 

Suffrage in the United States

At the turn of the twentieth century, Jewish women in the United States participated vigorously in virtually all the era’s mass social movements, including the suffrage movement. Although individual American Jewish women had supported suffrage since the movement’s beginning in the mid-1800s, its revitalization during the 1890s—just when the American Jewish population was growing tremendously due to mass migration from eastern Europe—brought ever-increasing numbers of Jewish women (and many men) of all class, ethnic, national, and religious backgrounds to the cause.

Elaine Weiss and book cover

An Interview with Elaine Weiss, Author of "The Woman’s Hour"

Betsy More

Exclusively for JWA, Elaine Weiss discusses her new book, The Woman's Hour, and the fight for women's suffrage in the United States.

porcupine quills

Quills

Emily Axelrod

I couldn’t understand why it was this incident that spurred me to tears—why it was the struggle of a dog rather than the countless struggles of humans that had made me cry.

Stock Photo of "I Voted" Stickers

Voting: Still a Right, Right?

Emma Nathanson

Typically, walking through the doors of my high school gym brings on a feeling of dread, accompanied by the smell of body odor and wet paint. When I walked into the gym this past November, however, the only thing I felt was excitement. On the day of the 2018 Midterm Elections, I had decided to spend my Tuesday afternoon and evening as an election official, helping voters register, cast ballots, and, most importantly, go home with an “I Voted!” sticker proudly affixed to their shirts.

Women Protest the Dissolution of Bella Abzug's 19th Congressional District, 1972

Channeling Bella and Challenging Power

Rachael Dubinsky

Women are strong leaders because we understand how deeply intertwined policy is with our everyday lives. Labeled a “passionate perfectionist,” Abzug refused to separate idealism from activism.

Pauline Steinem Letter 1 (1910)

I Learned it in the Archives: Women’s Rights Activism Runs in Steinem Family

Lisa Rickey

The letterhead listed the names of all the officers, and one name in particular caught my attention. The woman’s name was Pauline Steinem.

Emily Axelrod at L'Taken

Stirred and Spurred to Action

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.

Trans Equality Cover Image

As a Jewish Feminist, I stand for Trans Rights

Mimi Micner

As a Jewish feminist, I have a particular obligation to fight alongside my transgender siblings as their rights are threatened at the state and national level.

Rita Schwerner

When her husband was murdered during Freedom Summer in 1964 in Mississippi, Rita Levant Schwerner Bender used the ensuing media attention to focus the public’s awareness on the importance of civil rights.
Parade of Suffragists, July 4, 1910

The Five Jewish Disruptive Patriots You Should Know

Emily Cataneo

Let’s be honest: the Fourth of July is a fun holiday, what with the hamburgers, the watermelons, the fireworks, and the summer camps, but I’m guessing that many of us are not super enthused about celebrating the land of the free and the home of the brave this year, given the current garbage fire of American politics and the dark truths that said garbage fire has revealed about the priorities and mores of our nation.

Anita Pollitzer (cropped)

Looking Back to the Future

Eden Olsberg

But I don’t want to be silent. After all, it’s not silent women who get stuff done, it’s an explosion of nasty women. So, in thinking about how to move forward and stand my ground, I look to the past. I look to a woman who got stuff done. I look to Anita Pollitzer.

Sing a New Song: Jews, Music, and the Civil Rights Movement

Using the letter of a Jewish civil rights activist and several freedom songs, explore how music is able to cross racial and religious boundaries and build community.

Ida Ginsburg

Despite her short life, suffragist Ida Ginsburg made an impact on her community as founding president of the Jewish Women’s Club of Temple Beth El, which became the Detroit chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women.
Maud Nathan, 1913, cropped

Icons for the New Year: Maud Nathan

Tara Metal

In Maud Nathan’s second life as an activist, she became president of the New York Consumers League, vice president of the Woman’s Municipal League of New York, and chair of the industrial committee of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. Her husband, once her companion at parties and fundraisers, began marching beside her at suffrage parades.

Taxation Postcard from the Ann Lewis Collection

This Women’s Equality Day, Let’s Celebrate the Women Who Got Us Here

Tara Metal

As we approach yet another election year, American voters may be drawing nearer to an enormous landmark: electing a woman president. With Hillary Rodham Clinton polling as the top Democratic contender, it’s never felt more possible.

Ida Dehmel

Deeply enmeshed in German cultural life as a writer, salon hostess, and women’s rights activist, Ida Coblenz Dehmel found herself squeezed out of the very communities she had helped shape when the Nazis came to power.
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