By Courtney Pories
As a young adult who has lived in her first apartment for just a year now, it’s interesting to reflect on how I’ve made my home Jewish. Living with a few other twenty-something Jewish girls, we’re always running between working and socializing, trying to figure out how this whole “adulting” thing works - how do we take the time to build a home?
By Erin McMullen
I was reminded during these Seders how community building is a key component of repairing our world. I observed how a group of strangers and friends can collectively share a deep commitment to making this world a more socially just and equitable place. [The Seder was] a chance to pause, brainstorm, and envision ways that we can create a better and safer world for everyone with the guidance of Jewish texts and each other.
By Deborah Rosenbloom
The overarching question is: At what cost, and at whose cost, is shalom bayit created? When is shalom bayit a façade masking suffering and pain, making it essential to speak out and speak up?
By Sue Tomchin
Psychologist Robin Stern is committed to empowering us to break free from the spell of manipulative relationships—whether in the public sphere or in personal lives. Her advice is something we all need to listen to.
On March 15, Stern spoke to an audience of over 200 shelter professionals taking part in one of JWI’s monthly webinars, educating them about the signs of gaslighting and how they can help clients recover from its effects.
by Sarah Tuttle-Singer, New Media Editor at The Times of Israel
So this Purim I’m teaching my daughter another lesson. I’m teaching her that Vashti was a hero, too.
by Courtney Pories
No healthy friendship or relationship should make you feel intimidated, uncomfortable, or forced to do anything you don’t want to do.
by Sarah Barasch-Hagans
After Esther 4:16
“Go, assemble all the Jews who live in Shushan, and fast in my behalf; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens will observe the same fast. Then I shall go to the king, even though it is against the law; and if I am to perish, I shall perish!”
by L. Goodman
After a few years, he increasingly gave me additional duties; I was thrilled not to be stuck behind my desk writing all day. I would go to sales meetings with him, he sent me to a trade show, and he would talk to me about marketing and dealing with clients. It felt good. I felt that my potential was being discovered and developed. He would occasionally call me at home to talk and I enjoyed our conversations; although, I did feel uncomfortable with the fact of them, unsure how appropriate they were, though they were always appropriate. I didn’t tell my husband, afraid he would be jealous, that he would think he could decide for me with whom I could or couldn’t talk.
by Rabbi Richard Hirsh
What an odd moment in American cultural history surrounds this coming season of Purim. The opening chapters of the Megillah are replete with narratives that resonate in contemporary terms. A husband orders his wife to appear wearing her royal diadem — and, in the midrashic imagination, “nothing else” — for the amusement of his banquet guests, none of whom speak to the inappropriate and degrading demand.
by Shira Epstein
We explored the need to hold both in our classrooms: Our biblical characters who speak up, and those whose voices are silenced or who censure themselves out of shame and fear. Those whose power is elevated through voice, and those who we never hear.
by Stephanie Black
I can feel my cheeks flush again. I can remember it like it is still happening. I can still feel the weight of hundreds of women’s eyes on me, wide and shocked, waiting for me to respond. Weeks later, though I am alone, their eyes have not left me.
by Rabbi Donna Kirshbaum
Will we as women, not to mention as role models for girls, be able to extricate ourselves from the cultural framework into which we’ve been born, built for competition among women rather than mutual support?
by Naomi Ragins Senser, Executive Board Member of SHALVA, the Jewish Domestic Abuse Counseling Center in Chicago
The Talmud teaches that anyone who has the ability to correct a situation and is derelict in doing so bears the responsibility for whatever results. If abuse is not acknowledged, it is tolerated. Standing by while a sin is being committed is a violation of Jewish law. Abuse is happening in our neighborhoods. Women and their children are being harmed. We cannot stand by.
by Rabbi Andrea Steinberger, Hillel at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Vashti's bravery differs from Esther's, but she was brave, too. She stood her ground. It’s time for Jewish tradition to venerate Vashti for her bravery.
by Meredith Jacobs, COO, JWI
In today’s era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, it’s now time to add #IAmVashti.
How the couples in the Book of Esther communicate—or not—speaks volumes about the quality of their relationship.
by Rabbi Nicole Roberts
Reading between the lines of a queen’s refusal.
Instead of using Vashti and Esther as foils for each other, let us amplify their voices as unique and independent responses to their challenging circumstances.
When we look at the Book of Esther through a modern lens, it can teach us a thing or two about developing a strong sense of self and how that enriches our relationships.
Dressing as Queen Esther is never out of fashion, but we think it’s time to branch out. While one obvious choice is to pull your hair back in a tight bun, throw on a black robe, accessorize with a lace collar, and large, dark-rimmed glasses and go as the honorable RBG, here are some other empowered women worth emulating this Purim.
In the midst of all the advertisements that tell us we should want chocolate, jewelry, and flowers, let's take a moment to think about some gifts we'd really like for Valentine's Day: equal pay, paid family, leave, and the end of the patriarchy all come to mind. (But also, feel free to send any unwanted chocolate our way.)
JWI’s tagline certainly rang true last month throughout the Young Women’s Leadership Conference. I felt informed of women’s issues in the workplace and out inspired to make a difference in my community and my life and empowered to make the changes I need to see it all through.
The 2017 Young Women’s Leadership Conference brought together over 200 Jewish women from across the United States to network with and learn from JWI’s inspiring Women to Watch honorees. Hali Simons attended the event and wrote about her experience for JW magazine.
Since attending the conference last year, I have become an active Network member, and I am now honored to serve on the D.C. Network Board. As part of this year’s YWLN Conference Committee, I am so excited to energize a new generation of leaders, and to continue learning from women who speak their minds, and from their hearts.