Naamah Kelman

WHEN THE PLUS61J team asked me to co-edit the supplement for this year’s High Holy Days that would be devoted to Jewish feminism, I initially baulked. For many years, I have rejected joining panels or doing presentations on Jewish women and Jewish feminism.

Where is the front page with a woman blowing a shofar? ‘we have work to do’

MY FIRST ROSH Hashanah edition as editor of the Australian Jewish News was in 1999. We prepared two test covers for the festival supplement: one with a bee and honey design, the other a shofar-blowing image.

Equality in our daily lives but not in our jewish lives

JEWISH MOTHERS GET a bad rap in popular culture. They are portrayed as overbearing, complaining, loud, overprotective and guilt inducing. Often depicted with strong New York accents, they have been typecast,

How to make women’s ritual innovations take root

YOU CAN PROBABLY name some of the new practices and ceremonies that address women’s exclusion from the public face of Judaism and crafted ritual responses to previously unmarked events in women’s lives. Bat Mitzvah, check.

Architects who shaped early jewish society in palestine

THE ZIONIST PROJECT is associated with massive building and impressive community development. While women played a significant role, their stories were not properly told. In my recent book I focused on these important women

Between traditionalism and feminist activism

THE TRADITIONAL Sephardi-Mizrahi identity – the identity of Jews from Muslim countries – is not always understood. It does not correspond to the range of Jewish identities that emerged in Europe as part of their encounter with

My journey to leadership: ‘if I am only for myself, what am I?’

I AM OFTEN asked what led me to law, academia and, more importantly, to human rights and gender equity advocacy?

Feminism and zionism – a work in progress

I HATE HAVING to introduce myself with my pronouns. I have no problem with people wanting to be able to choose their own pronouns, but when asked who I am, there are other aspects of my identity that matter more to me: I am a rabbi,

‘Judaism demands compliance: I can barely follow a recipe’

I WAS 12 when I staged my first feminist protest by refusing to recite the morning prayers at school. Why did boys get to say, “Thank God I was not born a woman”, and the girls had to supplicate with, “Thank you for making me just as I am”?

Weaving a richer tapestry from the vault of our achievements

For the past 18 years, I have chanted the haftarah for the first day of Rosh Hashanah, which tells the story of Hannah. Barren and bereft, despite the love of her husband, she prays so fervently that the high priest, Eli, mistakes her for a

Exclusion of women from public life can’t be tolerated

Equality for women is a revolutionary idea that defines a watershed divide between liberal and conservative positions. It is one of the values that all liberals can agree on. As a result, when it comes to social change in Israel, and surely in the

Empowering feminist teens – and being empowered by them

As we begin a new year, many of us with teenage girls in our lives, families and schools are filled with cautious hope as well as anxiety and concern. Last year was not easy for any of us but the toll on teen girls was especially heavy.