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Judaism-Orthodox

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Emma Goldman/Women of the Wall

Making Space Where There is None

by Ilana Jacobs

To ask for the space you need is a daunting, terrifying task. But to take the space you need without permission? That’s even more challenging. Emma Goldman and Avigail Antman are two women who refused to settle for less, and who weren’t afraid to demand more. 

Composite Image of Jew in the City Logo with Allison Josephs.

Building Bridges: An Interview with Allison Josephs

by Abby Richmond

There are extremists on both the right and the left...by the extremist left I’m often called an apologist, by the extremist right, I’m called immodest or a heretic. There will be extremists on both sides who won’t engage in conversation because they pre-judge me, because I’m Orthodox, or a woman, or whatever.

Gann Academy Teacher Amy Newman

My Jewish Studies Teacher Is My Favorite Jewish Feminist

by Julia Clardy

At every school, in every subject, there’s a certain teacher who everyone hopes to see on their class list in the fall. At Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts, in the Jewish Studies department, that teacher is Amy Newman. I’ve been lucky enough to have her two years in a row, making me the object of much envy from my peers, but she is truthfully one of the most exceptional educators I’ve ever met. Amy is incredibly knowledgeable, gracious, and funny, and she makes a sincere effort to let her students into her life and teaching process as much as she can.

"The Chosen" Book Cover

One Chosen People, Many Chosen Ways

by Tamar Cohen

As a young Jewish woman in contemporary society, I tend to use the word "pluralism" a lot, in a fairly abstract way. I sometimes struggle to explain this concept despite it meaning so much to me, but I have found no example better than Chaim Potok's iconic young adult novel, The Chosen. When I first read The Chosen in tenth grade, it brought on a series of mixed emotions. I was beginning the journey toward understanding my religious and secular identities, and simultaneously saw so much and so little of myself in the protagonists, Reuven and Danny.

Natalie Harder in Israel

Adonai, Open Up My Ears

by Natalie Harder

During the summer of 2016, I went to Israel with my summer camp and met a man named Yehoshua, who, being male, middle-aged, Israeli, ultra-Orthodox, and a Yankees fan, was everything I wasn’t.

Rama Burshtein

As an Ultra-Orthodox filmmaker working within her own community, Rama Burshtein offers a view of Haredi life rarely depicted onscreen.

Veronika Cohen

Veronika Wolf Cohen has shaped Israeli minds in two very different ways, by developing national music curricula and by leading innovative Israeli-Palestinian dialogue groups.

Tova Mirvis

In her novels, Tova Mirvis returns to the themes of characters living in Orthodox communities while struggling with their faith.
Tova and The Book of Separation

Tova Mirvis’ Journey from Orthodoxy to Memoir

by Tova Mirvis

Tova Mirvis is the author of the recently released The Book of Separation, a memoir chronicling her growing doubts about her Orthodox faith and her ultimate decision to leave after forty years in the community.

Haviva Ner-David

Haviva Ner-David’s 2006 ordination made her one of the first Orthodox women to claim the title of “Rabbi,” part of her lifelong work to enable Jewish women—and Jews in general—to reexamine and reengage with the tradition.

Ruth Balinsky Friedman

As a member of the first cohort to graduate from Yeshivat Maharat, the first Orthodox seminary for ordaining women, Ruth Balinsky Friedman is helping shape what religious leadership will look like for the next generation of Orthodox women and girls.

Rachel Kohl Finegold

A member of the first class to graduate from Yeshivat Maharat, a seminary for ordaining Orthodox Jewish women, Rachel Kohl Finegold is the first Orthodox woman to serve in a clergy position at a Canadian synagogue.

Mimi Feigelson

Reb Mimi Feigelson teaches the tradition of her Hasidic forbears through the lens of her own experience as the first Orthodox woman rabbi.

Haviva Ner-David

Rabbi Haviva Ner-David chronicled her struggles to become an Orthodox woman rabbi in her celebrated book Life on the Fringes: A Feminist Journey Toward Traditional Rabbinic Ordination before finally achieving her dream in 2006.

Rachel Kohl Finegold

One of the first women ordained by Yeshivat Maharat, a seminary for Orthodox Jewish women, Maharat Rachel Kohl Finegold is the first woman in Canada to serve as clergy for an Orthodox synagogue.

Mimi Feigelson

Reb Mimi Feigelson, the first Orthodox woman ordained as a rabbi, has followed in the footsteps of her mentor, Shlomo Carlebach, by welcoming students from across the spectrum of religious practice.

Ruth Balinsky Friedman

One of the first graduates of Yeshivat Maharat, the first Orthodox seminary to ordain women, Maharat Ruth Balinsky Friedman is crafting a new model of religious leadership for Orthodox women and girls.
Stephanie Ives

Sometimes Your Mom’s Friends are Your Friends Too

by Abigail Fisher

Stephanie grew up going to a single-sex Orthodox day school and later went to Stern College for Women, a partner with Yeshiva College. But knowing her today, you’d never be able to tell. Since then Stephanie has exploded into a Jewish feminist badass, and yet a lot remains the same. 

Ben Shapiro

Facts Sometimes Have Feelings

by Abigail Fisher

“Torah Judaism does not support abortion, Torah Judaism does not support same-sex marriage,” right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro explained with a confident smirk to a cheering audience of Yeshiva University students. I expect it’s a lot easier to blindly subscribe to one binary view on what is seen as one of the most enigmatic documents in existence, rather than to actively engage with this foundational text, and question its claims. 

Lila Kagedan

The first Orthodox woman to claim the title of Rabbi, Lila Kagedan has worked to make Jewish learning accessible to all.
Cartoon Image of a Girl Looking Embarrassed

Can I Ask You Something?

by Abigail Fisher

For as long as I can remember, I’ve butted heads with Orthodox men. There was the time in third grade when I volunteered to sing the Torah trope, but was discouraged  by a boy in my class who said that “girls don’t actually read Torah at their bat mitzvahs.” In other words, why bother? Then in sixth grade, when all I wanted was to learn advanced Talmud,  I was met with a discrediting, “okay, Abigail, okay. We’ll see.” 

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Diana Myers Wearing Tefillin

Binding My Religious and Feminist Identities Together

by Diana Myers

I started wearing tefillin at camp. I was fourteen and I had a lot of ideas about overthrowing patriarchal Judaism, and I thought it looked cool. Tefillin are traditionally worn only by Jewish men who have reached bar mitzvah age (thirteen), although Conservative and Reform Judaism, some of the more liberal sects of Judaism, are very accepting of women wrapping as well. 

Hurricane Katrina: Community Responsibility and Tikkun Olam

Explore Hurricane Katrina as an example of how Jews respond to catastrophe. Gail Chalew, a Jewish reporter from New Orleans, tells the story of Haley Fields, a thirteen year old girl from Los Angeles, who came up with her own unique way of helping those in need.

Ray Frank's Yom Kippur Sermon, 1890

Read the 1890 Yom Kippur sermon by Ray Frank, the first Jewish woman to preach formally from a pulpit, and consider what unites and divides the Jewish people both historically and today.

Naomi Kutin

Naomi Kutin earned the nickname “Supergirl” and set the weightlifting record for her weight class … at age ten.
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