THEIR MESSAGE: U.S. teens Stand With Women of the Wall
A video contest in support of gender equality earns teens a free trip to Israel
Philadelphia, PA – Moving Traditions, a national organization that advocates for a more expansive view of gender in Jewish learning and practice, is sending three teens to Israel, where they will celebrate the Rosh Hodesh (New Moon) holiday with Women of the Wall in Jerusalem on January 2, 2014. Inspired by Women of the Wall, a multi-denominational women’s prayer group whose mission is to achieve the right for women to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall (Kotel), Moving Traditions sponsored the “One Moon, One Wall, One People” contest. In the first round of the contest, Jewish teen girls and boys who participate in Moving Traditions’ programs showed their support for gender equality at the Western Wall – one of Judaism’s holiest sites – through a creative tweet-sized slogan. Of those, 20 semi-finalists were selected to submit personal videos about women’s rights to pray at the holy site. Impressed by the passion expressed in the videos, the judges selected three exceptional winners to send on a free trip to Israel, each to be accompanied by one parent. The three teens who won the contest are among the 3,000 girls who participate in Moving Traditions’ flagship program for middle and high school girls, Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! Almost 1,000 boys participate in Shevet Achim: The Brotherhood, Moving Traditions’ new program for teenage boys.
The three young women selected to represent Moving Traditions in Israel are Eliza Moss-Horwitz, 16, from Congregation B’nai Israel, Florence, MA, Lucy Sattler, 15 from Beth Emet The Free Synagogue Evanston, IL, and Alexandra Schwartz, 13, from Temple Sinai Stamford, CT. On January 2, 1014 the winners will join Sally Gottesman, Board Chair and Deborah Meyer, Executive Director of Moving Traditions at the Western Wall to participate in Rosh Hodesh prayers with Women of the Wall.
About the winners:
Eliza Moss-Horwitz is a leader in her school community who says she plans to use the experience of Rosh Hodesh at the Wall to make her a better advocate. She says that the issue is important to her because she believes strongly in gender equality. “The Western Wall is not just for men, we are all connected to Judaism and prayer at this famous landmark. But how can women feel free to connect with their Judaism when they are being treated unlawfully and subjugated? We all deserve an equal chance to pray freely, regardless of gender.”
Lucy Sattler expressed her desire to address injustice at the Wall through a poem which says, in part, “Although it may be far away/ It is where my spirit stays/A place where women don’t have equal power/ Where when they pray, they must cower.”
Alexandra Schwartz – submitted the clever tweet “Eq-wall-ity,” which earned her an invitation to submit the video that stated, “As this old proverb from India says, ‘women hold up half the sky.’ Praying alongside each other should not be a threat, on the contrary, it enhances Judaism.”
About Moving Traditions:
Moving Traditions inspires people to live fuller lives – and to work for a better world for all – by advocating for a more expansive view of gender in Jewish learning and practice. Teen girls and boys in the organization’s programs, Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! and Shevet Achim: The Brotherhood apply a gender lens and Jewish values to the challenges of their everyday lives. Moving Traditions has been chosen as a Standard Bearer for Slingshot 2013-14 — the 8th year in this guide to Jewish innovation — and the organization has been named in a new supplement as “one of 18 leading Jewish organizations committed to impacting the lives of women and girls.”
For more information visit www.movingtraditions.org.
To see the videos and find out more about the contest winners go to: http://movingtraditions.org/category/wow/
Moving Traditions Media Contact: Lisa Gersten, Director of Development and Communications
215-887-4511 X109 and [email protected]
About Women of the Wall:
Women of the Wall is a group of Jewish women from around the world who strive to achieve the right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem, Israel. The Western Wall is Judaism’s most sacred holy site and the principal symbol of Jewish peoplehood and sovereignty, and Women of the Wall works to make it a holy site where women can pray freely.