“Only when we women learn to believe in our own strength will we succeed in influencing society. I hope Woman’s Voice will help women learn to believe in themselves.” Thus 90-year-old Rachel Kagan, who served in Israel’s first Knesset at the head of a women’s list, congratulated the organizers of Israel’s first women’s bookstore at its January opening in Haifa.
Aside from the store, which takes up one of the apartment’s four rooms, there is a library/reading room set up as a cafe; a study room; meeting room; and a children’s corner with games, puzzles and children’s books.
Dr. Amalia Bergman, a physicist, and Marcia Freedman, former Member of Knesset, decided to open Woman’s Voice after an extended visit to various women’s centers in the United States. “There are today many women in Israel who are deeply concerned about the status of women,” they said, “although most of them still say, ‘I’m not a feminist, but ‘ We want to provide a place where these women can meet, exchange information, and be introduced to the heterogeneity of feminist culture that is spreading throughout the world. And for feminists visiting Israel, we’ll be a home away from home.”
A cursory glance over the bookshelves revealed a predominance of English, but there is a growing number of feminist books in Hebrew. A Tel Aviv company called “The Second Sex” has already published a Hebrew translation of Barbara Seaman’s Free and Female (available at Woman’s Voice) and will soon be putting out Hebrew versions of Male Chauvinism and Our Bodies, Ourselves.
Original Hebrew works for sale at the bookstore include Shulamit Aloni’s Women as Human Beings, Techia Bat-Oren’s Women’s Liberation, Whither? and Sarah Azariyahu’s History of the Women’s Movement in the Land of Israel, which is the history of the pre-state movement for women’s suffrage. Friends’ Talk the new dual-language women’s magazine, is also on sale there.
Woman’s Voice will also offer classes in such diversified subjects as “An Approach to Legal and Administrative Problems,” “I, A Woman: Consciousness Raising,” “Women in Literature,” self defense, “Women in Zionism,” “Children’s Literature,” “Do It Yourself,” “Feminist Activity: Theory and Practice” and “Preparation for Natural Childbirth: the Lamaze Method.” This last will be divided into two classes: one for couples and the other for single women.