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Sister Mary Siena Schmitt, O.P. CROP

The Women Who Organize

by Jeannie Appleman

Jeannie Appleman, Senior Trainer and Organizer for JOIN for Justice, shares five tips for organizing and honors the women who inspired her. Fearless women, presente!

Topics: Activism, Family
Sondra Helene and her sister Margie

Writing Through Grief

by Sondra Helene

Author Sondra Helene describes how her sister’s death led her to write a memoir, Appearances.

Topics: Family, Memoirs
Still Photo from "Working Woman" (2018)

Film Review: "Working Woman"

by Karen Davis

Exclusively for JWA, film critic Karen Davis reviews Working Woman, a film about one woman’s #MeToo story in Israel.

Wherever we live is our homeland

Aunt Bev and Me: Jewish Women at a Women’s College

by Sophie Hurwitz

This Friday, as I host a social justice-themed Shabbat dinner, I’ll be thinking of Aunt Bev.

Topics: Education, Family
Abigail Glickman and Brother

Siblings in Different Voices

by Abigail Glickman

While my brother’s intention was to help me better clarify my writing, that isn’t what my mind told me in the moment. During our conversation, I became resentful of him, and doubtful of myself. I started to question the value of the ideas I wrote about, the ones that he claimed were too big and detached.

Topics: Family, Writing
"Judith Slaying Holofernes" by Artemisia Gentileschi, circa 1614-20 (cropped).

Loving Judith

by Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler

Gentileschi’s rendition of Judith is a self-portrait—allowing her to wield a sword and take revenge, if only in fantasy. Judith Slaying Holofernes was the first piece of feminist art that really moved me. Even now, I get chills when I view it. I thought a lot about Judith this week, after dusting off my menorah and dutifully buying candles and gelt.

Ruth Zakarin and her mother crop

My Mom Used To Say...

by Ruth Zakarin

It was her go-to statement whenever she was cajoling me into doing something she considered a mitzvah, especially when I wasn’t exactly jumping at the opportunity. She would look at me with that, you know, mom look, and say, “Do good things and tell people you’re Jewish.”

Hannah Downing's Extended Family

Photographic Memory

by Hannah Downing

I never paid much attention to our history when I was younger. I felt very disconnected from my Jewish past, as I had little grasp of what the Holocaust really was and what it meant to be Jewish, especially growing up in an area with few Jews.

Topics: Family, Holocaust

Episode 26: A Thanksgiving Seder

The Lauter and Rosenblit families have been celebrating Thanksgiving together for decades. This year will be no different. Together, they will eat turkey, discuss what it means to be a Jewish American, and have a Thanksgiving... seder.

Naomi Bethune Wearing Grandmother's Ring

La Rosa

by Naomi Bethune

When I think of something that represents my Jewish and female identity, I often go to a ring that my grandmother, who I call my abuela, gifted me. It had belonged to her before, and I had always admired it whenever she wore it.

Topics: Feminism, Family
Girl Blowing Shofar

The Harm of Tshuvah: A Letter from an Abuse Survivor

by Rachel Silverman

People view forgiveness as the secret to healing, as if it isn’t a long painful process of flashbacks, relapsing, shame, medication, and therapy, as if there’s some easy way to heal that I have been too prideful to consider. To view forgiveness as the apex of survivors’ progress trivializes each person’s individual struggle.

Rachael Cerrotti

Rachael Cerrotti is a documentary photographer, writer and educator. Her storytelling focuses on narratives of resilience with a unique interest in family history. For nearly a decade, Rachael has been pursuing her long-term project, Follow My Footprints, retracing her grandmother's route of displacement during and in the wake of World War II. She is now writing a book about this journey and regularly speaks in communities and classrooms across the country and abroad.

Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler's Family Menorah

Building a Home

by Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler

As a former Gender Studies major, I have a lot of hang-ups about the concept of building a home. ... I don’t know what kind of Jewish household I’m going to run yet—but I do know the joys of tradition, both old and new, are hardwired in me.

Julia Clardy's Three Grandmothers

My Personal Imahot

by Julia Clardy

When it comes to grandmothers, I hit the jackpot. My grandmothers are some of the strongest and most incredible women I’ve ever met, and because I come from a blended family, I have three of them! My grandmothers are models of power and grace, and they haven’t sacrificed their passions and values as they’ve aged. They’re all fierce defenders of justice, and I am who I am today largely because of their influence.

Rachel Harris with Grandparents and Brother

Lessons from Savta

by Rachel Harris

I always knew my grandma was pretty cool. As soon as activism became something of interest to me, my mom started telling me stories about her experiences growing up with my grandmother. They never ate Domino’s because the owner had expressed strong anti-choice sentiments; they didn’t eat grapes to support Cesar Chavez; activism was simply ingrained in my mom’s life from a very young age — mostly because of her mom.

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 Fellow Dorrit Corwin with her Grandfather

L’Dor V’Dor: A Legacy of Love

by Dorrit Corwin

My grandfather means something different to each and every person he’s met. To some, he’s kindness, always putting others before himself no matter the circumstances. To others, he’s community, building a network so wide that everyone he runs into is an old friend. To his parents, he was a miracle, not predicted to survive long past birth, or live to create all that he has in his lifetime. To me, he’s all of these things stitched together into one simple phrase: L’dor v’dor (from generation to generation).

Once Upon a Time

Agree to Disagree

by Julia Clardy

My brother-in-law, Alex, is incredibly smart. He’s a Harvard-educated banker in his early thirties, and he genuinely loves to debate. His style of debate isn’t to make other people feel stupid, but it’s clear that he loves feeling like he has changed someone’s mind or broadened their perspective. I’ve realized, through many conversations with him, that this is something with which I struggle.

Rising Voices Fellow Emma Mair with her Cousin Izzy

A Letter to My Little Cousin

by Emma Mair

In the past year a lot has changed in the world that we live in, and all of these changes–many scary–have inspired me to try my hardest to tell you the truth about the reality that girls once lived in, and the reality we live in today.

Episode 15: A Day at the Met with the Mixed-Up Files

Beloved children’s book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler turns 50 this year. E.L. Konigsburg’s best-selling novel tells the story of two suburban children who run away to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. To celebrate the book’s anniversary—and to gear up for summer reading—Can We Talk? took two ten-year-old girls to the Met for an official tour retracing Claudia and Jamie Kincaid’s week in the museum. Tune in to join us on the tour and to hear an interview with Konigsburg’s daughter and a conversation with the girls about why the proper yet rebellious Claudia Kincaid still resonates with today’s young readers.

Episode 14: Making a Family

“I think people need to talk about how families are created and there’s so many different ways, and there’s more every day. And it’s not easy and it’s not a given.” In this month’s episode, we tell the story of a Jewish couple who struggled with infertility for years, then decided to hire a surrogate to deliver their children. They talk about the emotional trials of infertility, what it was like to be part of a family-centered Jewish community while they struggled to have children, and the surreal experience of watching another woman give birth to their babies. This moving episode hopes to honor and create conversation around non-traditional family making, as well as to remind potential parents who are having trouble conceiving that they’re not alone.

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Hannah Himmelgreen Visiting Colombia

Politics and My Dual Identity

by Hannah Himmelgreen

I love to listen to other people’s perspectives, and jump in only when I feel that staying silent isn’t an option. When I’m passionate about something, I can temporarily push my introverted nature aside, and speak up.

Topics: Family

Writing Home: A Letter from an Early American Jew

Learn about Jewish immigration and the development of the Jewish community in America through a 1790s letter, originally written in Yiddish by Rebecca Samuel to her parents in Hamburg, Germany, describing her life in Petersburg, Virginia.

2015-2016 Rising Voices Fellow Eliana Gayle-Schneider

Why I Write

by Eliana Gayle-Schneider

Two driving forces in my life are creativity and passion. These qualities have always gone hand in hand. As I have grown through the years, my love for writing and my passion for activism have blended into one tremendous, creative, passionate, one-act play.

Rising Voices Fellow Noam Green Eating Sauerkraut

Reclaiming Shtetl Life in 2016

by Noam Green

In looking forward into my near future, I’ve seen it fit to look into my distant past for inspiration and as a guide. I’ll soon be leaving my childhood home and will be tasked with forging a life and identity separate from that which I had with my parents. I’m an Ashkenazi Jew, one that has always felt connected to the “old country,” so to say. 

Topics: Family
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