This website is made possible by generous donations from users like you. $18 helps keep JWA online for one day. Please consider making a gift before our June 30 fiscal year end. Thank you!

Close [x]

Show [+]

Synagogues/Temples

Content type
Collection
Ima Alleluia Nwachukwu

Igbo Jews: A Threatened Community

by Patrick Egwu

Reporter Patrick Egwu details the persecution facing the Igbo Jewish community in Umuahia, Southern Nigeria.

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.”

Inside of Quincy Market

My Power is My Privilege

by Naomi Bethune

Power and privilege have always played, and will continue to play, a very significant role in my life. As a biracial, Jewish woman, my life has always been complicated, and oftentimes, confusing. That being said, I acknowledge and know I have an incredible amount of privilege.

Memorial at Tree of Life Synagogue

Rising Voices Fellows Respond to Pittsburgh

by Ava Berkwits

In the wake of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting, the 2018-2019 Rising Voices Fellows came together to reflect, respond, and call people to action. In these pieces you will find connection, sadness, outrage, courage, and compassion. You will find the strength of today’s teens who are growing up in an age of so much senseless gun violence.

Mirabel Sandler at her Bat Mitzvah

My Big Fat Feminist Bat Mitzvah

by Mirabel Sandler

The very idea that I would have to proudly chant and accept this story, this version of Judaism that so obviously conflicted with my feminist sensibility, forced me to question my Jewish identity in a very real way, and for the first time.

Lila Zinner at Consecration

Growing Up Jewish

by Lila Zinner

I made the decision to continue Hebrew school after seventh grade when my friends informed me that they signed up because it “sounded fun.” That decision, although not well thought out, was one of the best choices I’ve ever made.

Phoebe Chapnick-Sorokin and Family at Disneyland

Leaving My Liberal Bubble

by Phoebe Chapnick-Sorokin

Because of my upbringing, the gender separation at my cousin Zoe’s bat mitzvah came to me as a shock. Why couldn’t I stand with my dad and all my male cousins? Why wasn’t Zoe reading Torah like all the other girls I knew did at their bat mitzvah services?

Max M. at his Bar Mitzvah

It Takes a Village

by Dorrit Corwin

Over the years, I’ve been to countless bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies. While each one has been unique to the specific teen being honored, all of the services have been catered to the typical Jewish kid: one who can read English and some Hebrew, memorize prayers, and stand at the bimah and speak about about his or her Jewish education and life experiences. In February, I had the honor of being part of a bar mitzvah that was unlike any of the others I had previously attended. My family friend Max became a bar mitzvah without speaking a single word.

Daniella Shear Outside Elementary School

The Day School Question

by Daniella Shear

There’s a lot to think about when choosing schools for your kids: private or public, religious or secular, co-ed or single sex. Parents try to make the best choice for their child and for their family with the resources they have. It’s impossible for a parent to know what the best fit will be for their four or five-year-old for the next 13 years, so ultimately they just have to choose a school and hope for the best.

Cantor Alisa Pomerantz-Boro

Blazing a Trail, One Note at a Time

by Sofia Gardenswartz

I’ve always considered words to hold a certain power. As the old saying goes, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” So, when I was sitting in the front row as my little brother was called to the Torah for the first time as a bar mitzvah, something struck me about the language of the event. Usually, the English translation in the siddurim (prayer books) follows the literal Hebrew on the opposite page, reading “God” for “Adonai” and “He” for “Hu.” But in the readings that day, God was genderless. The biblical Hebrew that has been passed down for millennia wasn’t changed, but the English translation avoided the use of any pronouns that would invoke gender. 

Natalie Harder at her Bat Mitzvah

A Woman’s Place is in the Cantorate

by Natalie Harder

If you ask any member of Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley, Massachusetts, they will tell you that Jodi Sufrin was made to be a cantor. Not only does she have a beautiful voice, but she radiates this soft warmth at all times—inviting everyone to take part in what she is saying or singing. From sing-alongs in Beth Elohim’s preschool to Friday night services, Cantor Sufrin has been a gentle, but nonetheless powerful female presence in my life. She is, and has always been, the type of person I (and every other young Jewish girl at my temple) aspire to be. And as I grew up and became the person I am today, I couldn’t have been luckier to have a role model like her, showing me what being a Jewish woman can mean.

Rabbi Jennifer Singer

Faith and Feminism

by Minnah Stein

Last year I met Rabbi Jennifer Singer, and I immediately looked up to her. She’s a strong, spiritual, and independent woman who commands the room with her lively personality. She’s an excellent rabbi, and I always leave her sermons with new ideas and ways of thinking. 

Josie Rosman Trip Photo

Lessons from Rabbi Lauren

by Josephine Rosman

All my life, I’ve been learning lessons both about the Torah and about how to live a fulfilling life from Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann at Kol Tzedek (my synagogue) in Philadelphia. From services and Torah school, to the time we spent together prepping for my bat mitzvah, Rabbi Lauren was the person who taught me how to look at Jewish texts in a new light, and turn them into something inspiring and relevant. She taught me about the concept of social justice, and how as Jews, we have a moral responsibility to make the world a better place. 

Kara Sherman Bat Mitzvah

My Jewish Role Model and her Humanist Role Models

by Kara Sherman

You haven’t really lived until you’ve had a meal at my Aunt Roberta’s kitchen table. It’s small and made of light, grainy wood, and I really think it should be recognized as the capital of Jewish free thought. This, of course, has nothing to do with the make or model of the table, nor with the meals served on it, but has everything to do with the woman who owns it. I may be slightly biased, but Roberta Schiffer, my mother’s paternal aunt, is undoubtedly one of the most intelligent, introspective, and loving thinkers I have ever met.

Dorrit Corwin and Rabbi Laura Geller

Rabbi Laura Geller: Torah of Jewish Feminism

by Dorrit Corwin

I wasn’t always easily identifiable as the Jewish feminist activist I am today. In fact, I was a Hebrew school drop-out ... but then I discovered Rabbi Laura Geller.

Fran Putnoi

The first woman to serve as president at Temple Israel of Boston, Fran Putnoi was an active member of the movement for Soviet Jewry in Boston.

Cooking Woman

Kitchen Culture and Me

by Tamar Cohen

I have this memory where I'm five and it's Thanksgiving, or I'm 12 and it's Chanukah, or I'm 15 and in AP World History. They're all the same memory, and there are more. Almost every year of my public-school education, there has been some kind of school celebration of cultural and ethnic diversity. The common factor in these celebrations is food, because what better way to bring a diverse (and generally uninterested) group of students together?

Julie Seltzer

And It Will Touch Your Heart

by  Julie Seltzer

At the museum in that first week, between introductions and protocol and photo shoots, I finally took out my Tikkun, the book used to copy the Torah from, word for word, line for line, eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. I opened up to page two. Here were the first words of my Torah. My Torah – as if these words were mine.

והוא ימשל בך . And he will rule over you.

Daniella Shear Practicing for Bat Mitzvah

If Only You Would Listen

by Daniella Shear

I’m very lucky to have had access to high quality prayer services for youth when I was younger. There were options for every age from two to 18, and they were fun. Unfortunately, this rich offering of services for kids didn’t last forever.

Lisa Edwards

As a rabbi serving the oldest LGBT synagogue in Los Angeles, Lisa Edwards has worked for decades to make the Jewish community a more welcoming place for gays, lesbians, and transgender Jews.

Amy Bernstein

Amy Bernstein has used her position as rabbi of one of the largest Reconstructionist synagogues in the country to create the kind of welcoming community that she longed for at an earlier age.

Rising Voices Fellow Hannah Himmelgreen's Aunt Sophie

Lessons from Aunt Sophie

by Hannah Himmelgreen

I often find myself thinking about how lucky I am to have spent my childhood surrounded by strong women; my mother, my aunts, and my grandmothers have all taught me that shattering the glass ceiling takes not only the force of a sledgehammer, but also the courage to face what lies beyond. As I, a once incredibly timid child, have grown into a strong Jewish woman, I’ve realized that this idea applies just as much in my religious life as it does in my secular one. 

Rising Voices Fellow Molly Pifko at her Bat Mitzvah

My (Eloquent, Intelligent, and Inspiring) Rabbi

by Molly Pifko

Rabbi Emily Mathis always seems to know the right thing to say. I remember being a little girl looking up at her on the Bimah during Friday night services, and wondering how she produced such beautiful and meaningful speech. I had the opportunity to speak with her recently, and I found myself wondering how she was able to answer so many of my questions before I had even asked them. 

Arlene Fickler

Different Stories, Same Meaning

by Diana Myers

A longtime fixture in the Philadelphia Jewish community, Arlene has been president of our synagogue for the past four years, overseeing numerous changes in shul clergy, staff, and financial circumstances. She’s everywhere all the time, attending board meetings, giving announcements from the bima, schmoozing with congregants at services. 

2016-2017 Rising Voices Fellow Molly Pifko with her Bat Mitzvah Project Display

Honey and Hanukah: How Food Justice has shaped my Judaism

by Molly Pifko

Food and food justice had always been something that my family and I were passionate about, so I decided that for my Bat Mitzvah project, I would found a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at my temple. CSA is a system in which customers pay a deposit in exchange for weekly bags of fresh vegetables, giving farmers more financial security, and the customer a steady supply of healthy, environmentally friendly, and in-season produce. 

Subscribe to Synagogues/Temples

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

Can We Talk?

listen now

Get JWA in your inbox