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Civil Rights

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Shirley Siegel, 2015

Shirley Adelson Siegel Is My Intersectional Feminist Role Model

by Madelyn Gelb

Shirley Adelson Siegel is proof that Judaism isn’t something that has to hold me back from being a good feminist or activist. On the contrary, Judaism can be the force that propels me forward and pushes me to be a better person. Judaism has taught me to love my neighbor as I love myself, to not speak ill of others, and to take care of people who need help, all of which are things that make me a better person and a better feminist.

#MeToo and Women's Activist History

JWA and Facing History and Ourselves partner to present this program about the #MeToo movement within the larger context of women's activist history.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel on the Selma March, March 21, 1965

The Privilege to be an Activist

by Emma Mair

I’ve had it with white people–myself included. I don’t consider myself to be a shining example of a good activist, especially when it comes to issues that primarily affect communities of color; and, I know I say ignorant things sometimes, but I’m trying. I’m really trying. 

Topics: Civil Rights
Daniella Shear with her Grandmother

Activism in My Genes

by Daniella Shear

My grandma and I have always been close despite only seeing each other a few times a year. I love the time we spend together in New York City and DC seeing Broadway shows, eating cupcakes, and doing jigsaw puzzles. For my entire life she has had a career as an event planner, and as I’ve gotten older she has let me help with events when I can. Although I knew that she had attended the March on Washington and edited a Jewish newspaper, I didn’t know the extent to which activism had played a role in her life.

Rising Voices Fellows at Winter 2018 Retreat (Intersectionality Talk)

Practicing Allyship

by Larisa Klebe

These Rising Voices Fellows are standing up against racism, and for diversity and racial equality. From attending rallies and conferences, to tackling race-related issues in their own communities, these young women are modeling good allyship, and reminding us that we must advocate for others, not just for ourselves.

Rising Voices and Havdallah Candle (Winter 2018)

Rising Voices Fellows Respond to Parkland

by Emma Mair

In response to the Parkland school shooting on February 14, 2018, JWA’s Rising Voices Fellows decided to put their minds together and do what they do best: write. These are the stories of teenage girls from all over the United States, who have grown up after Columbine, after 9/11, and in the age of gun violence and terrorism.

Sarah Deer Headshot

Between Andrew Jackson and Hitler: An Interview with Sarah Deer

by Emily Cataneo

Sarah Deer is a Jewish Native American lawyer and professor who has worked to end violence against women for more than two decades. Her activism has led to legal updates that enable tribes to more easily prosecute sexual assault on their land. She’s also the author of four textbooks about tribal law, and in 2014, received a MacArthur Fellowship for her work.

Black Lives Matter Logo

Kneeling to Take a Stand

by Rachel Harris

I’ve never really distinguished between my feminist and activist identities. They’ve always been one and the same – my feminism inspires my activism, and thus they are not two distinct parts of me. As I’ve grown, I’ve gained more awareness about important social justice issues both inside and outside the feminist movement, one example being police brutality. 

Rising Voices Retreat Workshop

Addressing #MeToo with Jewish Teens

by Larisa Klebe

If you work with teens in any number of settings, you know that for many of them, the #MeToo movement is at the forefront of their minds ... Although it’s not our primary role as educators to provide counseling for teens who may be struggling with their own #MeToo experiences, we can play a part in helping them navigate this complex and multi-faceted conversation, and in a Jewish context.

Ilana Kaufman

Working with organizations in California and beyond, Ilana Kaufman has drawn on her personal experience as a queer Jewish woman of color to advocate for diversity and inclusivity.
Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963

Eyes Wide Open

by Shira Small

It’s hard to admit I’m not an expert when it comes to race. I do my best to be as informed as possible, but as a privileged white woman, I recognize I’ll never be able to fully understand systemic racism and how it affects people of color. On a school trip to the American South, though, my eyes were opened further, and I learned that there’s far more to racial injustice in this country than I was aware of initially.

Miriam Cohen Glickman (Cropped)

Solidarity, Sister

by Julia Clardy

In the summer of 1963, Miriam Cohen Glickman was arrested in Albany, Georgia, along with several other Civil Rights activists. While in jail, they went on a week-long hunger strike as a form of protest. This passionate solidarity with those seeking civil rights was a large part of Miriam’s career as an activist. 

Topics: Civil Rights
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.

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.

Edie Windsor

Edie Windsor struck a historic blow for gay rights in 2013 when the Supreme Court ruled in her favor in United States v. Windsor, granting same sex couples recognition by the federal government.

Lynne Landsberg

Lynne Landsberg had focused her rabbinic career on fighting for social justice, but when a car accident left her disabled, that fight became far more personal.

Rozka Korczak-Marla

Rozka Korczak-Marla was one of three leaders of the Vilna Ghetto uprising, which, astonishingly, ended with successful escapes rather than mass executions.
Emma Goldman Sign

On More Perfect Unions

by Lisa Batya Feld

We have always been this bad. And we have always been better than this. Grappling with this contradiction has always been hard for us as American Jews, sometimes able to “pass” or be folded into the comforts of white privilege, sometimes abruptly and painfully othered.

Bella Abzug at a Women Strike for Peace Protest

#JWAmegaphone: Voices of Power and Protest

by  Judith Rosenbaum

At JWA, we believe that history is not only about the past; it is about the present. The events of the past year have made us more keenly aware than ever that we’re living through history in the making. And not just witnessing it—we are part of it, makers of history with each action we take.

Lynne Landsberg

After a car accident left Rabbi Lynne Landsberg struggling with a traumatic brain injury, she devoted her career to ensuring that Jews with disabilities have full access to the richness of Jewish life.
Illustration from Stop Sexual Assaults in Schools Cropped

Combatting Sexual Harassment and Assault in Schools

by Sara Lebow

Esther Warkov, a Jewish enthnomusicologist, describes herself as a latecomer to activism. She is now the Executive Director and Co-Founder ofStop Sexual Assault in Schools, an organization that focuses on sexual harassment and assault in K-12 schools.

Parade of Suffragists, July 4, 1910

The Five Jewish Disruptive Patriots You Should Know

by 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.

Carrie Goldberg

By helping victims of “revenge porn” get justice in court, and working to prevent such cases from occurring in the first place, Carrie Goldberg is creating important safeguards for an era in which people live more and more of their personal and professional lives online.

Nadine Gordimer

When Nadine Gordimer’s depictions of apartheid earned her the Nobel Prize for Literature, she used her fame to fund HIV prevention and treatment in her native South Africa.
Angela Peoples: Don't Forget White Women Voted for Trump

Black History Month: A Time to Share or Shut Up?

by Emily Cataneo

In the wake of the Women’s March on Washington, many participants and from-afar admirers celebrated the success of a watershed political moment: a coming together of millions of women all over the world to voice opposition to the new American president and his stance on a variety of political and social issues.

Topics: Civil Rights
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