2017 has been a doozy of a year. It’s tempting to fall into despair or to become inured to news that goes from bad to worse. But we need to resist and to persist—and to do that, we need sustenance. The following have functioned as Jewish feminist manna for me this year, and I hope that Lilith readers find these 7 highlights of 2017 nourishing as well. (For those curious, 7 is the number associated with creation and blessing in Jewish tradition!)
1) Thanks to a lawsuit brought by Renee Rabinowitz, a retired lawyer and Holocaust survivor in her 80s, El Al airlines will no longer be able to ask women to change their seats to accommodate ultra-Orthodox men. As someone who wrestled with such a request on my first trip to Israel, I am inspired by Rabinowitz’s pursuit of justice and gender equality.
2) Jewish feminists had a banner year at the movies, with Gal Gadot playing Wonder Woman and Orthodox director Rama Burshtein showing her range with The Wedding Plan, whose comic pathos sharply contrasts with the intensity of her 2012 Fill the Void. But my favorite flick this year was The Women’s Balcony, (directed by Emil Ben Shimon and written by Shlomit Nehama) about the religious intolerance, activism, and alliances that result when a slick but nefarious rabbi inserts himself into a spiritual void. This smart movie with heart and hope tackles the issue of Jewish communities riven by gender fundamentalism.