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Vicki Gabriner, 1942 - 2018

Activist, agitator, proud Brooklynite, feminist, lesbian, socialist, wit, wife, cherished friend and relative. Vicki Levins Gabriner was articulate, principled, often ahead of her times.

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.

Audre Lorde, Meridel Lesueur, and Adrienne Rich, 1980

Poetry as Protest: Adrienne Rich Fought for All Women

by Abigail Glickman

Rich once said, “In a time of frontal assaults both on language and on human solidarity, poetry can remind us of all we are in danger of losing–disturb us, embolden us out of resignation.” In other words, poetry has the power to express the things that unite us all as humans and can inspire us to work together toward a common goal.

Fabric Collage

Vashti's Story: A Midrash

by Rabbi Rachel Bearman and Rabbi Paul Kipnes

Rabbis Rachel Bearman and Paul Kipnes retell the story of Vashti in her own voice in this “Midrashic Monologue.”

Topics: Feminism, Purim
Phonetic Spelling of Privilege

Privilege and the Chosen People

by Ava Berkwits

I feel as if I won the lottery by being born Jewish, as so many of my most cherished memories and values are inherently tied to this part of my identity. As proud as I am of my Jewish identity, I’ve always been troubled by one of the fundamental ideas in Judaism: that Jews are “the chosen people.”

"Jewish Feminisms/American Visions" Conference Poster

Seven Lessons from our Feminist Foremothers

by  Judith Rosenbaum

JWA’s Executive Director Judith Rosenbaum reflects on her experience at the “Jewish Feminisms/American Visions” conference at the University of Michigan.

Bella Abzug Speaking with Constituents, 1976, by Diana Mara Henry

Hurricane Bella: A Whirlwind of Intersectional Feminism

by Emily Axelrod

Abzug is an exemplar of what it means to be an intersectional feminist. She used her power and privilege to advocate for those she described as “on the outside of power.” Being a Jew herself, she was familiar with identity-based oppression, and because of that she knew she had to use her power to help fight for others.

Beate Sirota Gordon, 1987

Beate Sirota Gordon

by Amy Jarkow

An unexpected champion for women’s rights in post-war Japan, Austrian born Beate Sirota Gordon was an inspiring intersectional feminist. At age of 22, and fresh out of college with a degree in modern languages, Gordon, along with a small team of Americans, was responsible for writing Japan’s constitution in the aftermath of World War II.

Ilana Glazer Cropped

My Intersectional Feminist Queen, Ilana Wexler

by Lily Drazin

“Madonna, Rihanna, Ilana!” That’s just one of the many unique jingles enthusiastically sung by none other than the ultimate feminist, Jewess, and queen: Ilana Wexler. Wexler, the fictional character from Comedy Central’s hit series Broad City, embodies every aspect of what it means to be a badass, world-changing, intersectional feminist.

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.

Evelyn Torton Beck

Evelyn Torton Beck: An Intersectional Role Model

by Shira Minsk

Beck’s acknowledgment that Jewish lesbians had a unique struggle for acceptance and belonging in the feminist, lesbian, and Jewish communities was a radical move. She fought for more recognition and validation by feminist activists and lesbian activists, who she felt did not take her work seriously.

You Are Worthy

How to Practice Radical Self-Love

by Rachael Dubinsky

Post Valentine’s Day, peep these tips for how to practice radical self-love.

Topics: Feminism
Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, 1983

Rosalie Silberman Abella: The Canadian RBG

by Nina Baran

In my opinion, Abella has demonstrated intersectional feminism through her work as a legal advocate and supporter of civil rights for marginalized communities. Before her appointment to the bench, Abella was considered one of Canada's foremost human rights lawyers.

Bernice “Bunny” Sandler, 1928 - 2018

Bunny’s passion for changing the field of education’s treatment of women was spurred by her own experience in academia. In 1969, after earning a doctorate at the University of Maryland, she hoped to secure one of seven open teaching positions in her department at that university. When she learned that she had not been considered for any of them, she asked a male colleague why. His reply was, “Let’s face it. You come on too strong for a woman.” For Bunny, those were fighting words, and battling discrimination in educational institutions became her lifelong passion.

Ilana and Abbi in Broad City Episode, "Witches"

Why I Rewatched Broad City's “Witches” For My Birthday

by Rena Lubin

For my 22nd birthday in December, I decided to rewatch Season 4 Episode 6 of Broad City—“Witches”and let it all sink in as another year goes by, another birthday passes, and I apparently keep growing older.

Topics: Feminism, Television

Episode 27: The Power of Women’s Anger

On this episode of Can We Talk?, Judith Rosenbaum talks to Rebecca Traister, author of Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, one of JWA’s Book List picks this year. We explore the topic of women’s anger: how it is perceived, how it has historically been put to use, and how in 2018 midterm elections, women harnessed it to win a record-breaking number of seats in Congress. From Abigail Adams, to labor organizer Rose Schneiderman, to Congresswoman Bella Abzug, women have wielded their anger to create political change.

Mind The Gap

Mind The Gap

by Ava Berkwits

I know that with every conversation I have with my friends, I will walk away with a stronger, more nuanced point of view, and hopefully they will too. When engaging in respectful discourse, my ideas become bigger, and my ignorance fades.

Lila Zinner in Fifth and Eleventh Grade

Reclaiming “Bossy”: How Sexism Shaped Who I Am

by Lila Zinner

As a child, I was loud and outspoken. I prided myself on my intelligence and eagerness to learn; I truly had killer confidence. I told people I was going to be “the dictator of the world” when I grew up. But as time went on, it became increasingly apparent that the education system didn’t have room for a personality like mine. Well, at least when that personality belonged to a girl.

Pauline Steinem Letter 1 (1910)

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

by 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.

Girl Speak Event

Pressing “Post” on Speaking Up

by Emma Cohn

Last winter, I created Girl Speak, an event-based organization built to foster education and action on issues affecting teenage girls as an answer to the calling I’d felt for years. When I first started labeling myself a feminist in middle school, I began searching for a way to become more engaged in social justice work and start making more of an impact on the world.

Topics: Feminism
Man and Woman Talking, Question Marks

Let’s Talk about the C-Word

by Hannah Downing

While I can understand why some feminists want to reclaim this word, I personally believe it’s one of the vilest things you can say to or about someone. It’s indicative of our society’s contempt and disgust for the female sex.

Topics: Feminism
"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.”

The Personal is Political

Politically Personal: Personally Political

by Ava Berkwits

To me, being a feminist means working to achieve equity for all members of society, confronting personal bias, alleviating institutional sexism, and prompting others to do the same. There are so many ways feminism manifests itself in my life, but until freshman English class, I didn’t even think to consider one of the most significant ways that I’m involved in political feminism.

Topics: Feminism, Schools

#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.

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