photo courtesy of Zoe Wertlieb
After hearing about the Kol Koleinu Jewish Feminism Fellowship from her rabbi, junior Zoe Wertlieb decided to apply for it this past summer.
Focusing on both Jewish and feminist identities, the Jewish Feminism Fellowship aims at tying the two together and understanding how they influence each other and can be applied within her own communities.
“[This Fellowship] seems really interesting because I have done a lot of feminist fellowships but never a Jewish one and so it was kind of closing the gap,” Wertlieb said.
She feels that this fellowship will strengthen both her Jewish identity and her identity as a feminist and activist through gaining new perspectives and understanding how her Jewish identity plays a role in her work as a feminist.
“A big part of my Judaism is practicing Tikun Olam and I think that activism falls into that,” Wertlieb said. “So I think that this will provide [me] with some information, like the history of Jewish women who did work similar to myself that don’t really get talked about a lot.”
Once a month, the fellows, in grades ninth through 12th will be meeting virtually with one another. During this year-long program, the fellows will take part in activist projects as well as gain opportunities to teach their peers about topics related to Judaism or feminism.
Although Wertlieb has only met with the group once, she is excited to get to know the other fellows who live all around the United States.
“I am definitely looking forward to… seeing other Jewish feminist girls that are my age, what they are doing and what their opinions are,” Wertlieb said.
She views programs such as this as vital in order to give people opportunities to become informed and have the necessary information to back up their beliefs.
“It is really just educating people and making sure that people are as well informed as they can be when going out into the world and making statements about controversial issues,” Wertlieb said. “Also, teaching them how to have conversations about these issues in a respectful way so that something can actually come out of it.”