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Marking International Women’s Day, here are some thought-provoking quotes by a wide range of Jewish women.
Women are the bedrock of Jewish communities. They keep the flame of Jewish traditions alive and convey Judaism’s rich culture to the next generation. From Biblical times – when it’s said that our ancient ancestors were redeemed from slavery in Egypt because of the merit of Jewish women – to today, it’s our daughters and mothers, our sisters and grandmothers, who maintain Jewish life.
In honor of International Women’s Day, here are some inspiring quotes by Jewish women.
Not being beautiful was the true blessing. Not being beautiful forced me to develop my inner resources. The pretty girl has a handicap to overcome.
A story once went the round of Israel to the effect that Ben-Gurion described me as “the only man” in his cabinet. What amused me about it is that he (or whoever invented the story) thought that this was the greatest compliment that could be paid to a woman. I very much doubt that any man would have been flattered if I had said about him that “he was the only woman in the government.”
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
Women should be respected as well! Generally speaking, men are held in great esteem in all parts of the world, so why shouldn’t women have their share? Soldiers and war heroes are honored and commemorated, explorers are granted immortal fame, martyrs are revered, but how many people look upon women too as soldiers? Women, who struggle and suffer pain to ensure the continuation of the human race, make much tougher and more courageous soldiers than all those big-mouthed freedom-fighting heroes put together!
Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!
It struck me that our major problem is that our sisters know so little about our history, which alienates them from our people and its traditions.
My dear girls, you are going out into the great world. In a sense, the destiny of Israel of old is in your hands.
The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own. There is no other way.
Men are not the enemy, but the fellow victims. The real enemy is women’s denigration of themselves.
I have so many identities, Jewish, woman, Black, but my first identity is Jewish… my home is the Jewish heart.
I am lucky. I say thank you every morning. In the Jewish culture there’s a prayer that you’re supposed to say every time you wake up in the morning to thank God for, you know, keeping you alive… You say ‘modeh ani,’ which means ‘I give thanks’. “So every morning I wake up and step out of bed and I say, ‘Thank you for everything, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you… Nothing is to be taken for granted.
The history of progress is written in the blood of men and women who have dared to espouse an unpopular cause, as, for instance, the black man’s right to his body, or woman’s right to her soul.
In this lies the true power of the Jewish woman: first, to possess the innate feminine qualities of deep insight, long-term vision, and seeing beyond the surface to a deeper reality. And second, to have the wisdom and courage to act upon it. In this way, each and every Jewish woman, in large and small ways, can truly change Jewish destiny.
Living with purpose means that we stand for truth. We cannot possibly remain silent when we witness the targeting of our people. We must recognize that an attack on ‘them’ is an attack on ‘us’. Because we are one people. Whether in a synagogue or on a college campus, the soul is alive, asking us to join forces with all that is good and pure in this world.
I’m a religious woman; I have a lot of faith that when God gives you the opportunity to do a mitzvah and step up to the plate – helping your neighbor, helping your city, helping your street, or school – whatever God gives you the opportunity to help others – you step up to the plate and just do it.
Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.
So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune.
Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time.
The Jewish people is one collective soul. Indeed, it has individual components, like a body is composed of myriads of cells. But if you wound the tip of the pinkie finger, the whole body feels it. That’s why when there’s a terror attack in Israel or Paris, Jews throughout the world cry, and when Jews are threatened in Colleyville, Texas, Jews throughout the world feel violated.
That’s also why the greatest danger to the collective soul of the Jewish people is not antisemitism from the left or the right. The greatest danger to the collective soul of the Jewish people is when its constituent cells attack each other. In medical terms, such a state is called cancer; it’s an existential threat to the organism.
I would like to suggest to all Jewish women that they should feel proud to make a difference. Believe in yourselves and make a contribution in whatever way you can. You can combine family, religion and high achievement if you want to, and you can also contribute to community life.