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Jewish Women Who Shake The World

Daily Beast’s list’s Jewish women on being Jewish women

Dan Klein
March 06, 2012
Julie Zeilinger.(Lisa Dejong, The Plain Dealer/ Landov)
Julie Zeilinger.(Lisa Dejong, The Plain Dealer/ Landov)

Newsweek released their “150 Women Who Shake The World” list today ahead of their third Women in the World conference. It’s hard to take lists like this seriously (and some have strange track records), but on the other hand it’s nice to think about what a list like this would have looked like 50, 75, 100 years ago.

There are six Jewish women on the list, from the expected: Jill Abramson, editor-in-chief of the New York Times; Gabrielle Giffords, national hero; Tzipi Livni; Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum. Then there is new kid on the block, Julie Zeilinger—an 18-year-old feminist wunderkind, and dark-horse pick Roseanne. If you, like me, run a betting pool every year on which women Newsweek will choose, Rosanne would have paid out great.

Here are some of the things that these women of the tribe have said about being women of the tribe.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

In my family, if you want to get something done you take it to the Jewish women relatives. Jewish women, by and large, know how to get things done.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum:

I never wanted to be simply a female rabbi. I want to be a part of a Judaism that is transformed by feminism.


The kids now they have this MILF thing. A JILF is a “Jew I’d like to …”. It’s about my generation of JILFs. We are the sexiest and hottest of all women who’ve ever lived, because we’re first of all the most educated of all women and we have a world open to us that wasn’t open to any women before us, for instance to be able to openly study Kabalah.

Julia Zeilinger

I am a teenage feminist.

While for me this is a statement of pride, a statement of who I am and what I believe, whenever I say these five words in general conversation—with peers, adults, whomever—I am usually met with surprise. To me, this statement is no different from saying, “I am a Jew” or “I am a Democrat.” It’s a belief I maintain and a defining element of my identity. It should be simple. And yet it confuses so many.