Browse the Collection

Browse the diverse collection of Jewish women who influenced the feminist movement by category, key dates or keywords.

Art & Culture

Helene Aylon's Self Portrait, 2004
You see, I have come to believe The Five Books of Moses are indeed the Five Books of Moses, not the Five Books of G-d.
Judy Chicago
It was obvious that birth was a universal human experience and one that is central to women's lives. Why were there no images?
Merle Feld
[I]t expresses the hope, the expectation even, that we will all come together to rejoice in our heritage...
Debbie Friedman
The more our voices are heard in song, the more we become our lyrics, our prayers, and our convictions.
Diana Mara Henry
I was rushing backward as fast as I could in order to get the shot of these proud and happy women energetically marching to the Houston convention center...
Marge Piercy
The poems in The Art of Blessing the Day were written over a 20-year period.
Joan Roth
Standing on top of the world, with a true and equitable representation of its women, seemed a harmonious interchange between dreams and actions, work and belief.
Elizabeth A. Sackler
the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art banner and what it stands for… was a statement to the world, a coming of age for me, and a stake in the ground for all people, forevermore.
Joan Snyder
The histories of the women in the Bible were nothing if not those of women ferociously pioneering for the rights of females.
Meredith Tax
It was too good a story to leave in a history book.
Ruth Weisberg
I am particularly nourished by the history of art, the history of the Jewish people, and by the unwritten history of women.
Naomi Weisstein
Why not see what would happen if we created visionary, feminist rock?

Diversity & Tolerance

Lynn Gottlieb
We who seek liberation from the oppressive structures that deny us the same economic, educational, and spiritual opportunities as the privileged among us need each other.
Gloria Greenfield
I was making a conscious decision to change my primary identity from ‘Jewish radical feminism’ to ‘feminist Jew.’
Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz
Though the content of our mission is not specifically feminist, we have modeled feminist activism...
Loolwa Khazzoom
The facilitator was shocked when I informed her I could not possibly have an authentic experience or feel emotionally safe without more Jewish diversity.
Letty Cottin Pogrebin
After evaluating the results of my anti-Semitism survey and writing the article for Ms., I saw the importance of being a public affirmative Jew.

Education

Sue Levi Elwell
Annette returned home that night with her mind ablaze and her heart pounding with excitement. A new Jewish door was opening for her.
Susannah Heschel
Twenty years ago, writing about Judaism from a feminist perspective, rather than discussing women from “Judaism's” point of view, seemed audacious.
Paula Hyman
Within several months we determined that if any Jewish issue required political action, it was this one, the status of women.
Evelyn Fox Keller
The creativity unleashed by such questions was astonishing, and the interest and enthusiasm generated explosive.
Gerda Lerner at Sarah Lawrence College
From 1980 on, the celebration of Women's History Week, and later, Women's History Month, spread to every state, every county, and most communities in the U.S.A.
Lynn Sherr
Anthony's home in Rochester—the centerpiece of this clip—remains a living symbol of the first stirrings of feminism in America.
Catherine Steiner-Adair
[W]hy are so many incredibly bright, talented, and capable teenagers developing these new, life threatening eating disorders?

Feminist Publishing

Rachel Adler
The size and diversity of the gathering were strong evidence that we were not just disaffected individuals. We were a movement.
Susan Brownmiller
I can argue that my chosen path—to fight against physical harm, specifically the terror of violence against women—had its origins in what I had learned in Hebrew School...
Aviva Cantor
What captivated me was developing what amounted to a “unified field theory” by applying feminist methodology to explain all of Jewish history, culture, and psychology.
Ophira Edut
We wanted a fun magazine that portrayed women as diverse, smart, soulful, AND sexy—not airbrushed and anorexic—while still telling the truth. So, we created one ourselves.
Maralee Gordon
‘How can we include you in the circle?’ replaced the boundary line keeping the ‘abnormal’ out.
Blu Greenberg
My critique was two–pronged: what Orthodoxy and feminism could learn from each other.
Florence Howe
I knew also that if this magnificent story had been “lost” for 90 years, much more must have also been lost.
Clare Kinberg
We should not be dissuaded from seeking specifically Jewish and feminist perspectives on the most pressing issues of our time...
Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Our goal at Ms. was to make such lives visible, to honor women's work, and to expose the legal, economic, and social barriers that stand in the way of women's full humanity.
Susan Weidman Schneider
The cover of the first issue featured our artist's version of the Jewish superwoman, who managed to amalgamate almost all possible roles...

Marriage & Family

Gay Block
I know now that she lost herself as soon as she married, taking on the persona of the wife she imagined she must be.
Marla Brettschneider
We are an adoptive, multi-racial, two mom family with a mix of Jews birthed, raised, and by choice.
Tamara Cohen
I floated between moments of exaltation at what we were creating and moments of exasperation and tears at the difficulty of it all.
Rivka Haut
While these attempts did much to increase knowledge about agunah agony, this unjust situation is still widespread.
Nicole Hollander in her Workspace
It was feminism and humor that made me a cartoonist.
Belda Lindenbaum
It was Blu Greenberg and my own smart and provocative mother who brought feminist ideas into my Jewish life.
Alix Kates Shulman
The idea was simply this: that a woman and man should share equally the responsibillity for their household and children in every way...
Marcia Cohn Spiegel
In the 1970's, when I joined a feminist consciousness-raising group, I heard other women's stories. I recognized that I was not alone.

Politics

Joyce Antler
Besides they told me, ‘only bad girls get abortions.’
Marla Brettschneider
We are an adoptive, multi-racial, two mom family with a mix of Jews birthed, raised, and by choice.
Sonia Pressman Fuentes
I became the staff person who stood for aggressive enforcement of the sex discrimination prohibitions of the Civil Rights Act.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The demand for justice runs through the entirety of Jewish history and Jewish tradition.
Diana Mara Henry
I was rushing backward as fast as I could in order to get the shot of these proud and happy women energetically marching to the Houston convention center...
Madeleine Kunin
The sound of applause—not just for me but for women rising to a position of power—reverberated through the hall, like the sound of an orchestra.
Ann Lewis
I might never have heard of Maud Nathan if I had not found these books, just as we know that too much of Jewish women's history has gone untold.
Ruth Messinger
The public often has different expectations of women than of men. They are not sure that women should be working, particularly in a business they think of as dirty.
Joan Roth
Standing on top of the world, with a true and equitable representation of its women, seemed a harmonious interchange between dreams and actions, work and belief.
Gloria Steinem
Then younger feminists came along with an analysis that included all females—a revolution and not a reform—and it made sense of my own life.
Nina Totenberg
The hearings ripped open the subject of sexual harassment like some sort of long-festering sore.
Rebecca Traister
...when she decided that she knew how to make the world a better place, she’d stage an all-out battle

Sexuality

Ellen DuBois
From this point on, feminist approaches to sexuality were complex and multifaceted...
Joan Nestle
More than ever, I believe in a feminism that does not run from the full complexity of women's lives, from the vital differences between us as well as the connections that bind us.

Spirituality & Ritual

E.M. Broner
This is a narrative of a community that is not in isolation but reflects the polis of the time.
Nina Beth Cardin
In the early years of women entering the rabbinate, many women felt were welcomed to rabbinical school on the expectation that we would act like men.
Kim Chernin
[T]he idea of re–writing the Haggadah seemed startling and even blasphemous. Now, 30 years later, this re–writing has itself become part of an emerging Passover tradition.
Tamara Cohen
We knew that Jewish feminism needed to be suffused through all of Jewish practice so that it would be impossible to ignore.
Rachel Cowan
I believe that it took a group of women—including rabbis—to break through the Jewish cultural barrier that saw medical treatment as the only response to illness.
Marcia Falk
I recited these blessings as though they had been written a couple of millennia ago by the rabbis, rather than the day before, by me.
Merle Feld
[I]t expresses the hope, the expectation even, that we will all come together to rejoice in our heritage...
Debbie Friedman
The more our voices are heard in song, the more we become our lyrics, our prayers, and our convictions.
Sally Gottesman
Like my mother and her father, my grandfather, I was both a committed Jew and a feminist.
Gloria Greenfield
In the late 1960s, I began a journey “out of the patriarchy” towards territory unknown.
Lori Lefkovitz
This stone symbolizes for me the loving feminist reclamation of our great grandmothers' folkways.
Deena Metzger
Our intention in turning it into a poster was to invite the world to look at a one-breasted woman and exult in her health and vitality.
Marge Piercy
The poems in The Art of Blessing the Day were written over a 20-year period.
Judith Plaskow
B'not Esh has provided a model for how separatist feminist spaces can generate ideas and energy that spill over in to a larger community.
Savina Teubal
‘Question Authority.’ Those two words did for me what the burning bush did for Moses: they changed my perception of reality.
Ruth Weisberg
I am particularly nourished by the history of art, the history of the Jewish people, and by the unwritten history of women.

Women's Conferences

Rachel Adler
The size and diversity of the gathering were strong evidence that we were not just disaffected individuals. We were a movement.
Shifra Bronznick
There was no territory that our feminist imaginations and visions could not discover, recover, or transform.
Barbara Dobkin
[T]he needs of Jewish women and girls in both the U.S. and Israel are still not high priorities for our community.
Ellen DuBois
From this point on, feminist approaches to sexuality were complex and multifaceted...
Blu Greenberg
My critique was two–pronged: what Orthodoxy and feminism could learn from each other.
Gloria Greenfield
In the late 1960s, I began a journey “out of the patriarchy” towards territory unknown.
Diana Mara Henry
I was rushing backward as fast as I could in order to get the shot of these proud and happy women energetically marching to the Houston convention center...
Cheryl Moch
That mythical portal had been revealed exclusively to women at the '73 conference: now we'd partner with our brothers and walk through together.
Sheryl Baron Nestel
Unfortunately, we made the same mistake that many feminists were to make in the ensuing years: we sought respectability at the expense of the inclusivity.

Women's Health

Joyce Antler
Besides they told me, ‘only bad girls get abortions.’
Heather Booth
Jane ultimately served over 10,000 women before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in 1973.
Susan Brownmiller
I can argue that my chosen path—to fight against physical harm, specifically the terror of violence against women—had its origins in what I had learned in Hebrew School...
Phyllis Chesler
In a sense, my first protest took place in 1946 when I refused to learn Yiddish (a decision that I of course regret) but insisted instead on learning Hebrew.
Eve Ensler
V–World is the lives our mothers never got to live.
Nancy Miriam Hawley with the Boston Women's Health Book Collective
[W]e realized that the title “Women and their Bodies” was itself a sign of our alienation from our bodies.
Deena Metzger
Our intention in turning it into a poster was to invite the world to look at a one-breasted woman and exult in her health and vitality.
Barbara Seaman
This feminist disobedience, day after day, became a major story in the news, and by June we had secured an FDA warning to users of the Pill.
Catherine Steiner-Adair
[W]hy are so many incredibly bright, talented, and capable teenagers developing these new, life threatening eating disorders?

Women Rabbis

Nina Beth Cardin
In the early years of women entering the rabbinate, many women felt were welcomed to rabbinical school on the expectation that we would act like men.
Dianne Cohler-Esses
Jewish feminism provided the bridge from one shore to the other.
Amy Eilberg
As it turned out, in the spring of 1985, I was to be the first woman so ordained.
Paula Hyman
Within several months we determined that if any Jewish issue required political action, it was this one, the status of women.
Francine Klagsbrun
As the commission delved into the issue, testimony it received from scholars showed that no Jewish legal barriers stood in the way of ordaining women.
Sharon Kleinbaum
I never wanted to simply be a female rabbi. I want to be a part of a Judaism that is transformed by feminism.
Rabbi Sally Priesand
When I decided to study for the rabbinate, I never thought much about being a pioneer, nor was it my intention to champion the rights of women. I just wanted to be a rabbi.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Browse the Collection." (Viewed on October 14, 2019) <https://qa.jwa.org/feminism/key-concepts>.

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