It took me a very long time to come up with a name for this blog. It was suggested to me to make a word wall where I brainstormed every word I could come up with in terms of Judaism and feminism and write them on post-its. I then tried to mix-and-match. This was difficult because experience has told me that Judaism traditionally excludes parts of feminism. My goal in a name then became to challenge that exclusion, to reclaim, to subvert, to question.
How can we define Jewish feminism? How can we define two indefinite -isms that fuse together when everyone defines each differently in terms of their own individual identities? Susannah Heschel proposed, “Jewish feminism is not about equality with men. Why should we women want to define ourselves by imitating male Jewishness?” Already this contradicted my definition of feminism yet it made sense. I define feminism as a movement for equality through the empowerment of choice. The choice part rings true for Jewish feminism yet we should also be encouraged to make our own rituals, our own causes, and our own equally-empowering roles within Judaism. So yes, we should strive for equality, but our first goal is to make a name for Jewish women, to give each and every one of them an identity that can be seen, heard, and read as wonderfully unique.