Acting on the Young Women’s Leadership Conference

By Carrie Seleman

We all know the story: You go to a conference; you take note of ideas, strategies and goals; you leave the conference telling people you’re going to implement all of these new ideas, strategies and goals. Then, regrettably, you fall back into your usual rhythm. You come down from the high of being surrounded by successful and inspiring role models without implementing any of the ideas, strategies or goals that you left the conference with.

I’ve starred in this story more times than I can count on two hands. But the YWLC was different.

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Hanukkah and the Normalization of Violence

By Rabbi Donna Kirshbaum

As Hanukkah approaches, we are reminded that we are not the first generation of Jews who have had to balance the desire for peace with the necessity of force.  We gather around hanukiot,  kindling light against the many kinds of darkness that threaten our sense of safety, security and shelter.

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Tikkun Olam and Beyond: What Judaism means to our Women to Watch

The strong Jewish women leaders we feature for Women to Watch come from diverse backgrounds and fields. However, in common they have the Jewish wisdom informs their work - whether in Jewish or secular fields. Values passed down from generation to generation, observance of ritual, and appreciation of our shared history connects the legacy of women honored at Women to Watch.

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I'm not an entry-level employee - here's what I'm planning to gain from the YWLC

By Stephanie Arbetter

You might think that JWI’s Young Women’s Leadership Conference is geared toward entry-level professional women who are facing the working world for the first time: wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, eager to learn the art of asserting themselves in the office. If you already have a few years of professional experience on your resume, I’m here to tell you that there’s a place for you here, too.

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What being a Woman to Watch meant to these honorees

Honoring women in our community for the last 18 years has brought inspiration and joy to attendees of Women to Watch. For our honorees, being named a Woman to Watch can be a validation of their hard work, a recognition of their impact on our community, and a time to connect with contemporaries across many fields. Today, it’s ever more important to lift the work of women in our community and celebrate the accomplishments of those around us.

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Over 2,000 people donated to my Facebook fundraiser following the Tree of Life shooting

By Monica Edelman

I don’t know the race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability, or personal history of the vast majority of my fundraiser’s donors. In this digital age, for me they are generous little circular profile pictures alerting me of a new donation every thirty seconds. For two days I watched their faces flash and flash, over and over, continually curating new donations on the screen of my cell phone in what was a beautiful slideshow of names, both familiar and foreign, giving what they could to help out complete strangers.

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Why you should absolutely, definitely, avoid the Young Women's Leadership Conference at all costs.

By Susanna Lustbader

Don’t ask me to abandon my bed on a chilly afternoon in early December. After all, I have an appointment with my pillows to hole up with mac & cheese and binge watch an entire season of The Office. Why would I want to surrender my well-broken-in sweatpants for casual office attire, my day of splendid vegetation for a Young Women’s Leadership Conference? 

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The Choice

By Nancy C. Snowden

How should we move forward in a world that feels like it is ripping at the seams and actively seems to be working to stop us—and the Jewish community we are a part of—from being exactly who we are, Jewish. We mustn’t give in to hate, and we must continue to love each other, our neighbors and the world. Hate must not win.

Today, and every day, while I am always Nancy, I am most certainly also Binah, my Hebrew name. I am Jewish and I am unrelenting. While I am afraid, I will not let that fear change who I am.

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Love Thy Transgender Neighbor

By Idalia Friedson

We were a sight to behold:  six Jews and two Hindus standing shoulder to shoulder on the synagogue bimah (stage) , smiling and teary-eyed as we watched “Abe” receive a new Hebrew name, an important part of his Jewish identity. He  beamed as the Rabbi blessed him and gave him the new name, one that he could now use as a transgender man.

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Mayonnaise Sandwiches

By Nancy C. Snowden

The young boy I was sitting next to unzipped his shiny red vinyl lunchbox and pulled out a massive homemade Rice Krispies® Treat covered in plastic wrap. I unrolled my brown paper bag and pulled out a sandwich. I opened it up and found nothing inside but mayonnaise. I looked over at his snack longingly…

This was how I became aware that some people in the world have a lot, and some people do not.

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How our Women to Watch have seen women's leadership evolve

We asked our former Women to Watch honorees how they’ve seen women’s leadership change over the last decade, and their responses show us how far we’ve come together. There’s still so much work to be done, but by recognizing the incredible women in our community, we’ve marked and honored the legacy of women who came before us.

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On the Blasey Ford testimony

As we watch Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testify before the Senate committee, we need no further confirmation of the of the life-altering trauma that she has suffered and survived at the hands of Brett Kavanaugh, and we are outraged on her behalf. 

Yet the actions and statements made by some of our political leaders have moved us back in time – back to a time when sexual assault and domestic violence survivors were silenced and incidents where men take advantage of women were swept under the rug.

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How do we define feminism? A discussion of The Female Persuasion

By Jaclyn Margolis

I’ve heard the word feminism defined in many ways over the years, and I admitted to our group that I found the descriptions of feminism in The Female Persuasion very intriguing. I asked the group how they defined feminism and if they agreed with the delineations in the book, and, this question spurred such a strong and deep dialogue on the meaning of feminism.

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The Breakfast Club

By Nancy C. Snowden

I am often asked why I work for a fraternity and what I as a woman could possibly glean, let alone benefit from, in this role. While I could provide numerous examples of what working for a fraternity has taught me, what I have learned about the desperate need for more resources and transparency around men, masculinity, and mental health often takes my breath away.  

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Bringing open-heartedness into 5779

By Lori Weinstein

This time of year directs us to turn ourselves inside out, make amends, begin anew – with a fresh gaze and an open heart – all in our life journey to do better and be better. Open-heartedness is the journey of forgiveness. It is spacious and rejuvenating. It enables you to return to your daily battles with renewed vigor, commitment and optimism.

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