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Hannah Downing in Yorkin, Costa Rica

Bananas and the Bourgeois (How I’m Confronting My Privilege)

by Hannah Downing

Last summer, I embarked on a URJ Mitzvah Corps service trip to Costa Rica. As part of our program we spent a week in Yorkin, a community located in the Indigenous reserve of Bribri.

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.

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.

Rose Schneiderman

A Treasure Trove of Fiery Jewish Women Labor Activists

by Talia Lang

The directory of Jewish female labor activists is endless, from the better-known to the nearly invisible. [This] Labor Day, here is a list of Jewish female labor activists you never knew, or never knew were Jewish, or never knew said that, or never knew did that.

Topics: Labor Rights

Alla Aberson

Alla Aberson is a Soviet Jew who grew up in a family that was critical of Communist Party rule. When she and her family were denied exit visas to emigrate, they became known as refuseniks.

Barbara Penzner

Rabbi Barbara Penzner has been a moral force for her congregation, leading it in multiple actions to uphold human rights around the world and in the local community.
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.

Jenny Hirsch

Jenny Hirsch devoted years to a society for women’s employment, but when the organization ironically refused to pay her, she reinvented herself as a mystery writer.

Janet Jagan

As president of Guyana for two years, Janet Rosenberg Jagan was the first American-born woman to serve as president of any country. Jagan was a student at the Cook County Nursing School in Chicago when she met Cheddi Jagan, a dentistry student.
Clara Lemlich in a Shirtwaist, circa 1910

Writing a Revolutionary

by Melanie Crowder

Authors are often asked about the inspiration behind their books. Usually, that question is a tricky one to answer. But in the case of my historical novel for young adults, Audacity, it’s easy. The life of labor activist Clara Lemlich was all the inspiration I needed.

Topics: Labor Rights, Poetry
Pauline Newman and Josephine Goldmark

The Organizers and Researchers of the Labor Movement

by Bella Book

This Women’s History Month, the Jewish Women’s Archive is celebrating the thousands of Jewish women who have participated in activism and resistance in the United States. We all know the names of the most famous women who shaped these movements, from Gloria Steinem to Emma Goldman: the women with the megaphones, with the loud voices and stirring speeches, the women whose names made it into the history books.

Topics: Labor Rights
Justine Wise Polier

Women Who Fight for Us

by Abigail Fisher

In the late forties and early fifties, a time when many refused to listen to female voices, Polier made her voice heard. She was published in various legal journals and other opinion pieces, and never filtered her views so that others could digest them more easily. She didn’t mince words or walk on eggshells to sound more feminine. Her writing was unadulterated social criticism. 

The American Jewess on Liberation and Freedom

Investigate what it means for American Jews to celebrate Passover and the Fourth of July in the context of religious and national freedom, by reading an editorial from the April 1897 issue of The American Jewess.

"We Have Found You Wanting:" Labor Activism and Communal Responsibility

After the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, labor rights activist Rose Schneiderman made a famous speech which provided the basis for investigating our communal and individual responsibilities for the well being of others in our midst.

Contemporary Labor Issues (Module #4)

Examine modern labor justice issues to allow students to consider their own stance on events like the 2013 collapse of a clothing factory in Bangladesh or the reports of poor working conditions in Chinese factories that produce iPhones and iPads.

Ethel Baskin Schwartz

From Depression-era protests to twenty-first century marches, Ethel Baskin Schwartz dedicated her life to organizing and fighting for unions and civil rights.

Myra Wolfgang

Hailed by local newspapers as “the battling belle of Detroit,” Myra Wolfgang went from staging sit-ins to becoming International Vice President of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union.

Judaism, Text Study, and Labor (Module #3)

Study several traditional Jewish texts and apply the concepts in these texts to the stories and characters in the game. Think about the lessons Judaism teaches about the responsibilities of workers and employers.

Jill Jacobs

As the executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Jill Jacobs has pushed for rabbis to act as social justice leaders in their communities on issues from environmental reform to condemning torture.

Jill Jacobs

Jill Jacobs, the executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, has pushed for Jews to take an active role in social justice, from supporting health care and environmental reform to condemning torture and human rights violations.

Tamar Eshel

A lifelong diplomat with a strong record of defending women’s rights and human rights, Tamar Eshel capped her career with two terms as a member of the Knesset from 1977–1984.

Ruth Dreifuss

In Switzerland, where women did not get the right to vote until 1971, Ruth Dreifuss made history when she became the country’s first woman president in 1999.

Frances Kroll Ring, 1916 - 2015

F. Scott Fitzgerald asked if she knew anyone in Hollywood. She didn't. He told her to open the top drawer of his dresser, where there were dozens of half empty gin bottles. She shrugged. Satisfied that Grandma wouldn't rat him out to tabloids or judge his drinking, Fitzgerald hired her that day.

Leslie Feinberg

A working-class lesbian, transgender activist, and communist, Leslie Feinberg became an important voice for lesbians of hir generation with the publication of hir powerful 1993 novel Stone Butch Blues.

Naomi Weisstein, 1939 - 2015

Naomi sometimes described herself as a female Lenny Bruce. But she was not an imitation anything. She was pure Naomi.

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