Tags: Inspiration and Hope, People and Society, Arts and Culture

Jewish female heroes are not hard to find. Making sure people know about them can often be a challenge. 

There are hundreds of historical examples, and most would love to share the powerful quotes of Golda Meir or shout out the various female figures using their passion to fight for Jewish rights. Some aren’t familiar with the Jewish women partisan fighters in the Holocaust, or those on the front lines in the War of Independence. But today, we see our proud women soldiers of the many units they serve to those who are using various media as their platform - Fleur Hassan Nahoum, Sheryl Sandburg, our own Elana Heideman. The famous dames - Gal Gadot, Noa Tishby, and Debra Messing.

And the social media activists and influencers have come out in full force - with new names and faces making their voice heard. @Lilaq_Logan, @avivaKlompas, @Melissa_Ashley_Sussman, @therealmelindastrauss, @EmilyinTelAviv, the formidable @JoanofJudea, @Prettay_Prettay_Jewish, @Inbar_Cohen95, @Jessicagcoook, @theAmyAlbertson, @Judean.first, @ysabellahazan@wodniweht, @zionistofarabia, @samanthaettus, @lizzysavetsky - there are many many more to add to this list… 

One thing is clear: women of the nation of Israel are using their voice to make a difference in how others can understand the challenges that are faced by Israel and by Israeli women in particular. 

Today, in a post-October 7 world, we see a new image of the modern Jewish woman. In fact, Israeli women who, in spite of the feelings of violation and silencing we are feeling, are now more than ever, a model of the strength and pride we can all connect with.  From our soldiers to social media activists, we can all be inspired by these women of our people, heroines in their own way and an example of what is possible within a Jewish Society that strives for excellence under every circumstance, especially in the fight for our freedom. That we can be Israel Strong.

Israel is one of the world's leading countries forging ahead with women's rights, yet with still much to change to reach the exemplary society we dream our Jewish state can be for all our citizens. But as Israel deals with war, the targeting of women and girls as victims of unimaginable torture on October 7 has taken center stage as Hamas terrorists specifically targeted female victims. Most feel incapable of hearing the testimonies because of the pain and trauma of just imagining these horrific experiences. And while the feminist movement has been silent about abuse and ongoing rape of hostages in captivity. Women's rights supporters believe the conflict should mark a watershed moment for the world as a whole, and many are doing what they can to bring attention to this important issue. 

Some of the women we proudly feature are Israeli activists, while others are journalists or public figures, but each has had a positive impact in some way on presenting Israel's story and how it is regarded around the world.  All the women on the frontlines - the moms, the grandmothers, the miluimnikiyot (female reserve soldiers), the teenagers involved in chesed projects, the educators, the volunteers, the trauma experts - each serves an important role in showing what it means to be a Jewish woman today.


While women have long been drafted into the Israel Defense Forces, society's perceptions of their roles as combat soldiers continued to shift. The incredible stories of those involved in rescue missions, as security commanders and air force pilots, are all an inspiration for any young woman today. Their stories and their experience are the most fitting tribute to the uniqueness of the women of Israel. When Hamas overran their base on October 7, female soldiers stationed at a nearby base needed to react as Hamas terrorists slaughtered their colleagues and other female soldiers. 

Women in Yatar capture terrorists who infiltrate from the sea, an all-women tank company attached to a mixed-gender infantry battalion helped repel the attack, and female intelligence officers alerted superiors of the raid. Israel even boasts the first male/female unit internationally of an infantry unit defending Israel’s borders and conducting offensive operations in times of need.


Aviva Siegel (L) and her daughter Shir testify at the Knesset caucus on victims of sexual and gender violence in the war, January 23, 2024 (Screen grab used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The women who were kidnapped by Hamas testify to the rapes that took place during and after October 7. Upon their release from captivity, they have found the strength and bravery to share with the world the facts and experiences of torture and abuse that were imposed on women in particular during the attack and during their incarceration by terrorists, UNWRA teachers, hospital staff, and local citizens.

Their voices are essential to combatting the denial of the rape of Israel and her women and girls, the evidence for which has been provided to all international organizations who, sadly, remain silent. Watch this testimony to learn more. 


Moms throughout Israel have been put on double duty. They are afraid, staying calm for their kids. They are sad, but putting on the necessary smile to help the whole family feel a sense of positivity in spite of it all. They are concerned about soldiers, hostages, safety. They are each finding a purpose to serve as a balance to the struggles of being a mom in war time. 
Probably in every generation and in every war, this has been true. But there is something spectacular about the moms and grandmothers and aunts of Israel who are upholding everyone around them with their determination and perseverance. A nation of Eishet Chayil… 

Six mothers had gathered in a Jerusalem home on a Friday to prepare challah. After they recited the blessing that was part of the ritual, each woman added a prayer of her own. “I just want everybody to come back alive and in one piece, mentally and physically,” said one, her voice breaking. “May they return in peace,” said another, wiping away tears. “With this challah, I want to bless my three sons who are in the army and all the soldiers,” said Ruthie Tick, who had convened the mothers so they could comfort one another.

Collectively, they had ten sons serving in the Israeli Army, either in Gaza fighting Hamas in response to the group’s incursion and deadly rampage on Oct. 7 or in the north, where the Iran-backed Hezbollah militia has been launching missiles at Israel from Lebanon. No sooner had the women finished praying than a WhatsApp message appeared on Rebecca Haviv’s cellphone. “I’m gonna be without a phone soon,” wrote her son, Adam, a 29-year-old combat soldier on reserve duty. “Love you so much, ma, and will be in touch.”
“He’s entering Gaza,” said Ms. Haviv, anguished. Adam, her only son and father of her only grandchild, a 3-month-old boy, was beginning his second mission inside Gaza. She had endured 13 days of radio silence during his first. How long would it be this time? “I love you, too,” Ms. Haviv replied, adding a heart emoji and hoping that two blue check marks would appear to signify that Adam had read the message.
They didn’t. 

Israel called up about 360,000 reservists after the Hamas attack and onset of war. The mass mobilization has upended families across the country, and many Israeli mothers turned to one another for support, even as they gained some respite when a temporary cease-fire took hold last week. Read the complete story here

Koolulam performance of Titanium (screenshot)


What happens when women from Israel get together to sing from the depths of their souls? Watch this inspiring version of “I am Titanium” and witness the diversity of Israeli society.

Each one a mother, a daughter, a friend, who knows who lost someone on that horrible day of October 7? Or who has had to endure the sorrow of losing a fallen soldier? Who is a survivor of the massacre, and who might be there singing but without a limb, stolen by the brutality of hate and recovering through the miracles of Israel’s medical care? Who is a singer, an artist, a world traveler, a teacher?

Of all these women, they each have a story to share, and their resilient heart pours out in this song. 



A TEXAN POWERHOUSE OF ACTION: Sword of Iron Volunteers Founder and Activist

A young woman from Texas whose brother was a lone soldier has literally taken over Israel’s grassroots volunteerism and it is ASTOUNDING! To be a part of any of her groups is to witness the incredible power of the Jewish nation wanting to come and do and be with Israelis in our time of need. To experience the way that the citizens of our country pull together, and to get their hands dirty in the holy soil of our homeland - these are the acts of true Virtual Citizens of Israel! 

Are you looking to come to Israel to volunteer? Join the incredible global group of passionate givers that Yocheved has built!


In the fight for women’s rights after October 7, Nitsana is leading the effort in finding legal options that can make a difference for the victims and the accountability of the parties supporting the silence over the sexual trauma imposed on Israel’s citizens. 

"It took months for the international community to even begin to face the terrible truth of the events of October 7. We still do not see decisive actions by governments, the UN, women's rights organizations, the International Red Cross, and other organizations against Hamas, which is still holding Israeli hostages that we know are being assaulted in captivity as we speak.

We hope that we can continue to raise awareness about these atrocities, the need to prosecute Hamas Nukhba terrorists for the War Crimes of sexual assault, and to the need to uproot Hamas rapists from Gaza and to transform their education system that allows them to believe such behavior is acceptable."


Inspired by a protest by Ethiopians in Israel, Tamanu-Shata left journalism to pursue politics. She became the first Ethiopian woman to serve as a member of the Knesset, and worked for equality and affordable housing. She received the appointment as Minister of Aliyah and Integration in 2020, where she worked toward social equality for underprivileged communities, and struggled to keep Israel’s borders open to immigration during the coronavirus pandemic. In June 2021, Pnina Tamanu-Shata was awarded the Magen Begin Prize for Israeli leadership for her efforts and achievements and is involved in the effort to outline strategies for combating sexual violence against women. She now heads the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality.

“It shocked our world forever, rocked the foundations of our secure existence in our country. The pictures of mothers shielding infants and children with guns pointed at them, is a memory that will never fade. 
The reactions from the UN in general and from the women’s committees in particular were too little, too late. If the world is incapable of standing with Israeli women who experienced the atrocities of terrorism under the auspices of Iran and its proxies, the promise ‘Never Again’ has lost its meaning. I call on my fellow female lawmakers to stand shoulder to shoulder alongside Israeli women and remember that what happened in Israel could happen anywhere in the world, if we don’t work together to defeat terrorism and bring these monsters to justice.”


"The world has failed the women of October 7th. We claim we stand against rape, violence against women. We will not let women be victimized and then silenced. We say we believe women, stand with women, speak out for women, until it is Jewish or Israeli women. We will not agree to let women become victims and then silence them. We say we believe in women, stand by women and speak boldly.”


PUBLIC DEFENDER: @LawfareProject Founder, Attorney, Filmmaker, On-Air Commentator, Author

As an activist to #EndJewHatred, Brooke has been working nonstop to bring the crisis facing Israel to global attention. Her work to help those on campuses continues to inspire young activists. 

“Could you imagine if these things happened to any other minority group? There would be national outrage. But because they are Jewish students, not only is this not taken seriously by the media, but local law enforcement, federal law enforcement, unfortunately, do no not feel a need to do a proper job investigating crimes.

Today every Jews must learn how you can make positive change in your community, and gain useful knowledge of the strategies and tactics we use to make an impact. Together, we will end Jew-hatred in our lifetime.”


Adele describes herself as a pacifist who has always advocated for a non-violent solution to the region’s conflict. But now, there’s been a shift. A resident of Nirim, originator of the well-known Life on the Gaza Border Facebook group, Adele was evacuated from her home and displaced since October 7. She continues to share her voice and passion for a secure and peaceful future for Israel’s Southern Border residents. 

“After I saw over 3000 terrorists and just regular Gazans flooding through our borders, wreaking havoc in our communities, murdering in the most barbaric ways. I’m thinking, where were the good Gazans? Where were they? They cut babies out of their mother’s womb. They chopped children’s fingers off. They dismembered people while they were alive and they were so proud of it that they took video footage of it, which I have not seen and I will not see, but it is out there and people need to see it, to understand what it is that we’re up against. These are monsters.
Gazan children have an end of the year play and they dress up as Gazan fighters and IDF fighters and the Gazans kill the IDF soldiers and take them hostage. These are the kids that grew up to be the monsters that came into our community on October 7th. They’ve been trained for this. They have textbooks in Gaza that teach you math. Saying if you had 10 Jews and you kill seven, how many are left? And it’s been going on for decades. 
A switch in my DNA tells me that before we can get into diplomacy,  before we can make peace, we have to make war. It’s not going to be pretty and it’s not going to be short. It’s not going to be easy. And we can’t have a timeline imposed. We can’t have a time limit on this.  The IDF has to be allowed to do what they know how to do best.”


Sivan Rahav Meir is an Israeli journalist, news reporter, and TV and radio anchor. Coming from a secular home in Herzliya to becoming a leading voice of Israel's Religious Zionist community – is both remarkable and inspirational. Her lectures on the weekly Torah portion are attended by hundreds and the live broadcast attracts thousands more listeners throughout the world. Since October 7, she has been using her voice to offer support to the Jewish community as a whole.

"In the midst of all the darkness, noise, sorrow, and grief of this war, we can still hear some good news – we just have to keep an ear out for it. Israelis have been returning to their roots, dusting off some long-forgotten traditions. The values of community, security and, yes, agriculture and working the land have taken center stage in the world of the average urban Israeli; We begin to internalize the understanding that in order to harvest crops, you first have to plant seeds, water them, and wait because processes, in nature as in life, take time and patience. Such is the life of every Jew. The significance of the land of the Land of Israel, and issues like sovereignty and security have intensified. The slogan of Nachal Oz, the kibbutz that reaches right up to the Gaza border, “Up to the Last Furrow,” takes on new meaning.”


Jerusalem-based writer, columnist, and internationally acclaimed lecturer

“The Jewish people are 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 around the world, fellow Jews throughout the world cry, and when Jews are threatened anywhere, Jews throughout the world feel violated.

That’s 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; it’s an existential threat to the organism.”


Her son Hersh Goldberg-Polin was kidnapped by terrorists into Gaza, while at the Nova Music Festival. He is in dire need of medical care having his arm blown off by a grenade and still in captivity. Rachel has been on social media daily with every style of appeal to the human senses as a way to keep him and all the hostages alive in our minds and in our hearts. We pray for his safe return.

At the end of a UN speech that quoted from the Torah and explained the traditional blessing Jewish parents give their children on Friday nights, Goldberg-Polin recited an original poem for the first time. She titled it “One Tiny Seed.”

There is a lullaby that says your mother will cry a thousand tears before you grow to be a man.
I have cried a million tears in the last many days.
We all have.
And I know that way over there
there’s another woman
who looks just like me
because we are all so very similar
and she has also been crying.
All those tears, a sea of tears
they all taste the same.
Can we take them
gather them up,
remove the salt
and pour them over our desert of despair
and plant one tiny seed.
A seed wrapped in fear,
trauma, pain,
war and hope
and see what grows?
Could it be
that this woman
so very like me
that she and I could be sitting together in 50 years
laughing without teeth
because we have drunk so much sweet tea together
and now we are so very old
and our faces are creased
like worn-out brown paper bags.
And our sons 
have their own grandchildren
and our sons have long lives
One of them without an arm
But who needs two arms anyway?
Is it all a dream?
A fantasy? A prophecy?
One tiny seed.


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Tags: Inspiration and Hope, People and Society, Arts and Culture