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.
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.
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 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.
Meet the women JWI honored at the 18th annual Women to Watch awards gala on December 3rd in Washington, D.C.
These 10 Jewish role models are making a measurable difference in their professions and their communities.
Three years ago, Jenny Abramson decided to follow a piece of advice that her mother gave her: If you want something done, do it yourself. Today she is the founder and managing partner of Rethink Impact, the “largest impact-oriented venture capital fund in the country with a gender lens.”
Mackenzie Barth is a self-described “bad eater” who didn’t touch a vegetable until she was 21. But that didn’t stop her from recognizing that college students needed a food resource geared to their lives and interests.
Wendy Feldman Block has built a 31-year career in the commercial real estate realm, completing leasing and sales transactions totaling nearly 12 million square feet. And while building her career in a male-dominated industry, she has also demonstrated an extraordinary passion for community service.
When Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann, then 30, moved back to Chicago in 2011 after being away for more than a decade, she wanted to connect with contemporaries but didn’t see a ready avenue. She founded Mishkan, named after the tent that the Israelites carried with them through the desert.
Dr. Logan Levkoff is a respected educator dedicated to perpetuating healthy and positive messages about sexuality and relationships. She teaches widely, has written multiple books about both teen and adult sexuality and is an oft-consulted expert appearing on such TV shows as Nightline, Good Morning America, and The Today Show.
Marlee Matlin has built a body of work – and a life – that reflects her versatility, her skill, her generosity, and her willingness to take risks. She has compelled us to see her not for her disability, but for her talent and humanity, and along the way has helped to normalize the inclusion of all deaf individuals.
Throughout Jill Saxon’s life, from the time on the number one U.S. high school soccer team, to her years as a Navy lieutenant and optometrist serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom, to her current work at the global headquarters of Bausch + Lomb, she has strived to excel, while fulfilling her goal to help people.
A 25-year Wall Street veteran, Beth Chartoff Spector often has been the sole woman in rooms where mergers, corporate debt refinancing packages, and institutional investment decisions are hammered out. Working “to address what is a pretty big gender divide in women coming into this field” has been one of her aims.
From the age of ten, Laurie Strongin showed a knack for leadership. But the full scope of her strength and ability to lead emerged when her son Henry Strongin Goldberg was diagnosed at age two weeks with a rare genetic disease, Fanconi anemia.
Through her philanthropic and hands-on involvement in multiple educational organizations throughout Montgomery County, Md., Linda Youngentob works to impact the lives of first-generation college students, many from immigrant families, by helping them apply for and succeed in college.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Sasha Altschuler
With 67 days until the midterm elections, voting is on my mind. A vote is more than helping shape the future, it's about acknowledging and honoring the past. We are responsible for continuing the legacy of the women who fought for our right to vote; we owe it to our communities to act as a catalyst for change by taking our voices to the polls.
By Erin McMullen
Here at JWI, many of us identify as devout supporters of Bachelor Nation and we’ve been watching this season of Bachelor in Paradise every Monday and Tuesday. However, we were deeply frustrated last night about Leo’s disrespectful treatment of Kendall that exhibited classic signs of gaslighting.
By Ashley Powell
A community organizer, trained social worker and public administrator, explains why she decided to run for office in 2018.
By Jaclyn Margolis
What made you the woman you are today? When Addie’s granddaughter poses this question, Addie leaps at the chance to share the milestones of her life. In 320 pages, we read Addie’s monologue, chronicling the story of a strong Jewish woman raised in Boston in the early twentieth century. We are immersed in childhood rebellion, family tragedy, resilient friendships, and great love.