Shalom Life | March 06, 2015

New York Synagogue Launches New Campaign to Promote Gender Equality

Social media campaign #ShoutEquality urges Jewish men and women to raise their voices on Jewish feminism

By: Shalom Life Team

Published: March 5th, 2015 in News » World

B’nai Jeshurun, a 190-year-old Upper West Side synagogue deeply involved in issues of fairness, peace, and justice, is celebrating National Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day by launching the ‘Shout Equality’ social media campaign. The campaign asks Jewish women (and men) around the world to raise their voices on gender equality this month by describing a specific moment or experience when they realized gender mattered to them as Jews and by noting one thing they can do to advance equality in Judaism. Participants will use the hashtag #ShoutEquality in their posts.

The campaign kicks off with an animated video titled ‘The Click Moment.’ It’s a thought-provoking jaunt through the Jewish past from Miriam the Prophet to feminist leaders of the 20th century to modern-day tweeters, showing the development of Jewish feminist consciousness.

“This campaign is meant to raise awareness and calls on Jewish women to join the global call for gender equity,” said Rabbi Felicia Sol of B’nai Jeshurun. “God implanted a life force in every human being, and each one of us should be able to shout out and be heard.”

The #ShoutEquality campaign was inspired by “Meet Me at Sinai,” a conference sponsored by B’nai Jeshurun on February 8, 2015 devoted to celebrating the 25th anniversary of Judith Plaskow’s groundbreaking Jewish feminist theology Standing Again at Sinai. The conference convened a conversation that cut across denominations, gender, sexual identity, and race, and included elements of visual and performing art, film, media, academia and theology. Nearly 300 participants gathered to educate themselves and commit to agitate for change leading to a more just and inclusive Judaism.

The varied and evocative posts in the #ShoutEquality campaign show the power of Jewish women’s collective voice, as evidenced by initial contributions like:

"Realizing that my father's stories of being able to ‘go anywhere in the world and pray as a Jew’ didn't apply to me. #ShoutEquality"

"When I could not read from the Torah for my Bat Mitzvah and I could only give a speech. #ShoutEquality"

"When my grandmother wasn't welcomed on the Bimah even though she was more devout than my grandfather. #ShoutEquality"

"Growing up with a father who was a rabbi and knowing I could not even consider that as a profession. #ShoutEquality"

"At my Orthodox Yeshiva day school, the boys got to learn Talmud and the girls were not allowed. #ShoutEquality"

"Sitting alone, in the equivalent of a broom closet, at a shul for Shabbat services in Israel.” #ShoutEquality"

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