Women in America preserving Jewish Tradition

Jewish Women in America: preserving Jewish Tradition.

Women play an important role in the preservation of the Jewish identity within families and larger communities. Women hold many positions in society that aid this role including more traditional roles for women, such as mother or teacher, as well as contemporary roles, such as writer, politician, or other professional. Jewish women in America face the challenge of facing a rapidly changing contemporary society while continuing to uphold and pass down, to new generations, ancient traditions rich in symbolism and meaning. This essay will briefly introduce three prominent American Jewish Women who have played a contemporary role in upholding and preserving Jewish Tradition in the broadest sense.

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The Jerusalem Post printed a special piece, in celebration of Shavuot, on “The Fifty Most Influential Jews in the World.” The list included seven women, two of which are Americans: the first one Ruth Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; and Elena Kagan, U.S. Supreme Court nominee. Although both are highly accomplished, neither is known for her role in preserving a Jewish identity or passing down Jewish Traditions per se. Therefore a search was made to find three women, lesser known and perhaps less influential, who excel in the aforementioned talents: Blu Greenberg, Dr. Jayne Guberman, Julie Wiener

Blu Greenberg is an American writer, who was born in 1936. She specializes in women’s issues in Modern Judaism and has become involved in Jewish Feminist Movements and is the co-founder of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. Wanting to learn what “feminism and Orthodoxy could learn from one another,” she identified seven areas of interest: language, legal testimony, family law, prayer and community, life cycle ceremonies, learning, and leadership roles. Holding two Master’s degrees, she is an accomplished writer who has published, “On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition,” and “How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household,” among other works. She lectures to Jewish communities and university in the United States and beyond. The American Jewish Congress Commission for Women’s Equality awarded her the “Woman Who Made a Difference” award in AD 2000.

Next is Dr. Jayne Guberman who is the Director of Oral History at the Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA), where she manages the national oral history and exhibition program. A component of this position was to direct “Weaving Women’s Words,” an oral history project that recorded the experiences of American Jewish women. Oral history is a time honored treasure of Judaism. Oral histories allow women, in particular, to be custodians of their own family memories, but more importantly it is a tool that connects the present with the past of the Jewish people as the children of God. In addition, Dr. Guberman has edited the very valuable “In Our Own Voices: A Guide to Conducting Life History Interviews with American Jewish Women,” a JWA guidebook for recording oral histories which encourages a sensitivity to the difference in male and female perspectives when it comes to memories, and story recall. Jayne Guberman’s contributions in this field are immeasurably valuable.

Thirdly, Julie Wiener is a young associate editor of The New York Jewish Week. A prolific, widely-read journalist since 1997, she wrote for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, she now writes a column from her own perspective, called “In the Mix,” about her life as a Jewish mother and wife and includes topics on food, education, tradition, and marriage. She is married to a “righteous Gentile” and they have two young daughters. Her recent article, “Return of the Chanukah Lady” reveals her openly honest, face-value style so common among her peers. Julie speaks bluntly of her desire to be Jewish and the struggles she encounters on that journey.

This is but a sampling of the wonderful treasure-hold of contributions that Jewish women are making in their religious and broader communities.



To Create your Citations: http://citationmachine.net

Article: “The Fifty Most Influential Jews in the World”


Blu Greenberg:

Jewish Women’s Archive


The Jerusalem Post


Belief Net: Orthodox, Feminist, and Proud of it.


Dr. Jayne Guberman:

Jewish Women’s Archives, “Blogging the Institute: What a Week!”


Julie Wiener:

Jewish Outreach Institute: Wiener’s Winning Column http://joi.org/blog/?p=240

The Jewish Week: http://www.thejewishweek.com/blogs/julie_wieners_mix/shavuot_cracked_eggs_gradual_convert_and_supportive_jewish_mother_in_law

Jewish Women’s Archive


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