Jewish Women’s Awareness Guide: Connections for the Second Wave of Jewish Feminism

Jewish Women’s Awareness Guide: Connections for the Second Wave of Jewish Feminism
The New Woman Collective, Biblio Press, 1992, $7.95.

What is your first Jewish memory? Growing up, what messages did you get about appropriate work for Jews and nan– Jews? What messages did you get about intermarriage? Do you remember how you were expected to behave at family meals? Did the women in your family work and were they paid for what they did? If you could give one gift to your mother, what would it be?

These are some of the questions posed in the Jewish Women’s Awareness Guide, a how-to manual for forming a Jewish women’s group, which aims to provide a context and a “starter kit” for Jewish women to come together and begin to discuss questions of how Jewish women relate to money, class, and authority, how we see our jobs and our religion and our studies and our families, how we deal with sexuality and relationships. The guide provides exercises which will be relevant to women of all age groups and with a variety of life experiences, and gives a brief overview of the woman’s position in traditional Judaism. Also included is a history of the Jewish women’s movement from the beginning of its differentiation from the larger women’s movement in America.

Acknowledging that the women who form a group may at first be complete strangers, the Guide provides an opening through which participants can learn to share their commonalities and differences. Find a few friends—or complete strangers—and begin comparing notes on what it means to be a Jewish woman. The Jewish Women’s Awareness Guide is both a wonderful starting point for anyone who is not sure where exactly to begin, whether in a college setting or a community gathering, and an excellent reference for those who already have some experience in women’s awareness groups.

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