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Women

The guiding principle of sexuality in the Jewish tradition is k'doshim tih'yu, “You shall be holy.” (Leviticus 19:2). Sexual assault is a blatant violation of the victim, and it cuts into the very holiness of our society.

Miriam Chilton
Elementary school-aged girl wearing blue boxing gloves with hands above her head

When two colleagues and I created the Israeli Reform haggadah in 2009, we were well aware of the tension between the significant role of women in the Passover story and the relatively little written about them in the haggadah. Because invisible lines of connection bind seder participants to the history of the Jewish people and to the traditions of individual families, ethnic groups, and their own personal heritage, we felt compelled to make the haggadah gender inclusive and to incorporate the stories of women from throughout Jewish history and today.

Rabbi Dalia Marx, Ph.D.

The orange will remain on my seder plate as a sign that we are always striving to help everyone to feel included, a sign that we are always looking out for those who might not feel that they belong, and a sign that we are full of juicy vitality: always growing, always changing, and always aware, keenly aware, that our history of bondage requires us to tell those stories.

Rabbi Phyllis Sommer

The heroism of the women who made Passover possible is a strong and accurate answer to those who claim that women always play a secondary or subordinate role in Jewish thinking. An orange does not make their case. Telling their story does.

Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs

While the current media climate seems to have no limits as to what’s deemed acceptable, Broad City is proof that it’s still possible to provoke and challenge. The show's creators, as comfortable with their Jewishness as they are with their sexuality, are part of a new wave of Jewish women who continue to test the limits of what’s permissible in popular American comedy.

Wes Hopper

A rabbi with a black hat and beard once told me that a black hat and beard don’t make a Chassid, a pious Jew who goes beyond the law in fulfilling their duties toward others and God – and a specific gender doesn’t, either.

Bruce Josephy
Moses in a reed basket

It’s a recurring biblical pattern: Time and again, it’s the woman who “gets it” and the man who does not.

There is much we can learn from these women, starting with Eve.

Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs
Judge's gavel, sound block, and name plate that says "ABORTION"

In the days before Roe v. Wade declared abortion a constitutional right, the symbol of women’s underground, dangerous – and persistent – efforts to obtain abortions was the simple wire coat hanger. Despite the constitutional protections in place since 1973, this gruesome symbol has recently made a troubling return to our discourse on reproductive justice.

Rabbi Audrey R. Korotkin

The curriculum at my synagogue focused on tikkun olam and social action, so I grew up knowing I had a responsibility to “repair the world.” In Togo, I found the tiny portion of the world I wanted to help repair. 

Rebecca Walsh

Hafrashat challah (separating the challah) is a practice popular in Orthodox circles, as it is one of three mitzvot (commandments) considered special for women.

Sharon Mann

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