By Megan Dorward
Every year, JWI brings young women from all over the country to capitol hill to meet with senior staff and key congressional leaders. As part of our dedication to civic engagement, we meet with more than 20 Congressional offices to discuss key legislative issues including the Violence Against Women Act, Reproductive Rights, gun violence prevention, and equal pay. Read more to learn more about one attendees experience and consider joining us on April 1st from 8:00am-1:00pm.
By Valerie Brown
Esther is regarded as one of the greatest heroines in the Jewish canon. The Megillah tells the story of how, through her beauty and bravery, she is able to save her people from Haman’s evil plan to destroy them. But through a feminist lens, the story is a bit more complicated.
There’s so much to learn from the Purim story - and the writers on the JWI blog have scratched the surface. Before you commence your Purim festivities, we encourage you to curl up with some hamentaschen and reflect on the varied lessons to be pulled from this joyous holiday.
By Anita Silvert
When my girls were little, I thought very carefully about what movies they would watch. Disney movies provided a unique challenge, though many parents show them without thinking. I didn’t.
By Rabbi Richard Hirsh
Despite the hyperbole that is characteristic of the Scroll of Esther, this gender-specific discrepancy in how much time must be allowed to prepare oneself for public presentation remains a conundrum in contemporary teen-age culture, inside the synagogue as well as outside. There remain significant discrepancies between Bar Mitzvah boys and Bat Mitzvah girls when it comes to "how to dress."
More from the Archive
By Sue Tomchin
When you plug the word “entrepreneur” into Google you get 791 million results. Rachel Braun Scherl has carved out a unique and gutsy category within this mammoth realm. She calls herself a “vagipreneur™ —an entrepreneur focused on the business of female sexual health and wellness.
In the last year, JWI and the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence have spent countless hours working to update the Violence Against Women Act. Here’s what you need to know before the bill is finally introduced this week.
Our Change the Culture Student Ambassador Program empowers students to be activists, bringing conversations about healthy relationships to their campuses. One way they do this is through Healthy Relationship Shabbats - where students are brought together over dinner for activities and discussion on the qualities of a healthy relationship in a Jewish context. These student d’vars show how students are engaging closely with JWI’s work, and framing their college experience through ancient text.
For the second year in a row: instead of chocolate, jewelry, or flowers, we'd really like something more substantial for Valentine’s Day (equal pay comes to mind??). But also, feel free to send any unwanted chocolate our way.
By Sasha Altschuler and Erin McMullen
Here at JWI, several of us identify as members of Bachelor Nation, and Caelynn’s disclosure to Colton about her experiences as a sexual assault survivor deeply resonated with us. One in five women are sexual assault survivors, which means one in five women watching the Bachelor are victims of sexual assault. Caelynn’s public confession is more than incredibly brave; it’s an opportunity to open a critical dialogue.
By Dara Biton
With their infectious attitudes, bubbly personalities, and overall joyful demeanors, Edith, Mary Bauer, and Martha Sternback, are the embodiment of “not letting them win.” LAMOTH’s L’Dough V’Dough program (a play on the Hebrew, L’Dor V’Dor--from generation to generation) brings together survivors with participants from local schools and organizations. They spend a few hours together braiding challah dough, and while the challah bakes, hearing the survivors’ powerful stories.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Heading to the JWI Young Women’s Leadership conference for the first time? We’re super excited to meet you! Here’s some tips and tricks I’ve picked up:
By Andrea Deck
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.
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?
By Valerie Brown
How my mom’s civic engagement has transformed from informed citizen to activist extraordinaire - and what she’s done for her community this year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.