Women's Rights

Content type

Marcy Syms


Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Judge Marcy Syms on October 3, 2023, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Judge Abrams explores her family, education, career path, focus on gender issues, and notable legal cases in an interview. The interview with Marcy Syms covers her diverse life, exploring her immigrant and Jewish roots, early encounters with feminism, experiences with discrimination, leadership in her family's company, activism for the Equal Rights Amendment, and insights into gender equality and workplace reforms.

Rabbi Minna Bromberg leading a workshop

Why We Need Fat Torah

Ariadne Wolf

Until fatphobia is erased from our Jewish lives, people with bodies like mine will never be able to truly come home.

Rebecca Chernin

Women Who Dared

Elise Brenner interviewed Rebecca Chernin on December 19, 2004, in Sharon, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Project. Rebecca discusses her family, childhood, and Jewish identity, highlighting her advocacy efforts to combat teen violence and support domestic violence victims within the Jewish community; she also shares her personal experience as an Orthodox teen survivor of an abusive relationship, her work with REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, and her outreach efforts to address domestic violence within the Jewish community, guided by the Jewish value of shalom bayit, and reflects on her ongoing advocacy goals.

Diane Balser

Women Who Dared

Julie Johnson interviewed Diane Balser on March 8, 2005, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Balser discusses her journey into activism, including her early involvement in peace activism and the women’s movement, and her efforts to raise awareness on global gender inequality issues and facilitating discussions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Nairobi.

Episode 96: Can We Talk? 2022-23 Season Wrap

That's a wrap! In this episode of Can We Talk?, Nahanni Rous, Jen Richler, and Judith Rosenbaum recap the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 seasons—from a celebration at a queer Jewish chicken farm to the fight for Israel's "chained women" to reproductive rights after Roe, and much more. 

Arms holding up a protest sign with 3 power fists on it on yellow background

Toward A Besere Velt (A Better World)

Ava Weinstein

The more I learn about the world and the society we live in, the more dissatisfied I feel and the more eager I am to change it.

Episode 94: Rebbetzins in America

What did talented, dedicated Jewish women do before they could become rabbis? Some became rebbetzins. In this episode of Can We Talk?, we’re looking at the changing role of the rebbetzin—the rabbi’s wife. Women have been rabbis in America for just over half a century, but for as long as there have been rabbis, there have been rabbi’s wives—and they've often served as leaders, too. We'll hear from Shuly Rubin Schwartz, author of The Rabbi’s Wife: The Rebbetzin in American Jewish Life, and from three spouses of rabbis.

Renee Brant

Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Renee Brant on July 18, 2001, in Newtown Highlands, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Brant discusses her upbringing, activism, and career in addressing sexual abuse, emphasizing personal growth, and promoting mental health services in medicine.

Judith Wright

Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Judith Wright on July 25, 2000, in Gloucester, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project, Wright discusses her family, Jewish identity, political activism, involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, incarceration during the Freedom Rides, and her continued engagement in various causes, including women's rights and antiwar activities.

Episode 92: Beyond the Binary: Making Hebrew More Gender-Inclusive

Hebrew is a very gendered language; every noun in Hebrew is either feminine or masculine. So are pronouns, including “I” and “you.” This makes it nearly impossible to utter a sentence in Hebrew without using gender. So as a Hebrew speaker, how do you refer to a mixed-gender group? What about nonbinary people? In this episode of Can We Talk?, we speak with Michal Shomer, Dafna Eisenreich, and Tal Jenner-Klausner, three activists who are taking Hebrew beyond the gender binary and promoting a Hebrew language that includes people of all genders.

Episode 91: Israel at 75: Voices of Protest

Israel turns 75 this week. This milestone comes at a moment of unprecedented upheaval in Israeli society and escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Over the past few months, around 1.5 million Israelis have poured into the streets to protest the judicial reforms proposed by Netanyahu’s far-right coalition government, which would weaken the power of the Supreme Court.

In this episode of Can We Talk?, we'll hear four Jewish Israeli women from diverse backgrounds reflect on how the country arrived at this tumultuous moment. They'll talk about their hopes and fears for the country, and what the protests have meant to them.

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.

Dina Rosenfeld

Meet Me at Sinai

Jayne Guberman interviewed Dina Rosenfeld on February 8th, 2015, in New York, New York, as part of the Meet Me at Sinai Oral History Project. Rosenfeld talks about immigrating to Boro Park, becoming involved in Jewish feminism through Ezrat Nashim, confronting the Jewish Theological Seminary, and discussing the impact of the movement on women's religious participation.

Barbara Seaman

Barnard: Jewish Women Changing America

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Barbara Seaman on October 30, 2005, in New York, New York, as part of the Barnard: Jewish Women Changing America Oral History Project. Seaman discusses her research on preventative hysterectomies, the influence of Rose Kushner, her family history, activism in the women's movement, and challenges as an activist journalist confronting the pharmaceutical industry.

Collage of Bertha Pappenheim on orange and white background

Bertha Pappenheim and My Great Great Grandmother

Aviva Schilowitz

Bertha Pappenheim and Oma Irene’s work still feels essential today. We still are working to help people in the Jewish community who many would prefer to pretend don’t exist.

Collage of Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Rebecca Gratz, and Emma Goldman on patterned purple background

Fighting for Abortion Rights with My Jewish Feminist Heroes

Leila Nuri

Following in the footsteps of Jewish feminists before us, I think educating others to stop the spread of misinformation, accentuating voices that need to be heard, and acknowledging your own privilege is deeply necessary in this fight.

Florence Schornstein

Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Florence Schornstein on July 31, 2006, in New Orleans, Louisiana, for the Katrina’s Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Schornstein, a longtime political and Jewish community activist in New Orleans, discusses her involvement in politics, her experiences during Hurricane Katrina, her role in rebuilding the city, and her frustration with national services for their lack of support post-Katrina.

Janna Kaplan

Soviet Jewry

Alexandra Kiosse interviewed Janna Kaplan on July 8, 2016, in Waltham, Massachusetts, as part of the Societ Jewry Oral History Project. Kaplan recounts her experiences as a refusenik in Russia, her immigration to the United States, challenges as an immigrant, career struggles, Jewish identity, involvement in the Jewish community, interest in science, and reflections on the Six-Day War, Judaism, and feminism.

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.

Judith Hirschfield-Bartek

Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Judi Hirshfield-Bartek in Boston, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Hirshfeld-Bartek, an oncology nurse, discusses her activism in breast cancer research funding, influenced by her Jewish upbringing and family's philanthropic values, as well as her lobbying efforts for increased funding.

Rita Arditti

Women Who Dared

Julie Johnson interviewed Rita Arditti on March 14, 2005, in Boston, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Arditti, a Jewish activist from Argentina, discusses her upbringing, academic journey, involvement in the women's movement and Science for the People, her battle with breast cancer, and her impactful work with the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo.

Ruth Abrams

Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Judge Ruth Abrams on July 25, 2001, in Boston, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Judge Abrams explores her family, education, career path, focus on gender issues, and notable legal cases in an interview.

Noa Karidi at her bat mitzvah collaged on a blue watercolor background

Honoring the Women of the Wall With My Tallit

Noa Karidi

By choosing this tallit, I am honoring the hard work of other women that allowed me to go through this process.

Episode 83: Fighting for Israel's "Chained Women"

In Israel, marriage and divorce are governed by Jewish law and controlled by the ultra-Orthodox rabbinical courts. If a Jewish woman wants a divorce, she has to get permission from her husband—and he can refuse. That's exactly what happens to about 1 in 5 Jewish women in Israel who want a divorce, according to a recent survey. In this episode of 'Can We Talk?,' we speak with Kylie Eisman-Lifschitz, board chair of Mavoi Satum, about how rabbinical control over the divorce process in Israel harms Jewish women, and about how organizations like Mavoi Satum are taking on the problem, by working with women one-on-one, but also by fighting for systemic change. 


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