When a person thinks about Judaism represented in literature,they often think of Holocaust books. Many of these books are incredible and definite must-reads. However, sometimes we could all use a more modern Jewish story that focuses on more than the mistreatment of our people. For this project, we decided to compile a diverse list of books featuring Jewish characters in a modern-day society. We all deserve to see ourselves represented, and this is a good way to do so.

  • My Year Zero

By Rachel Gold

This book is about a love triangle, and one of the characters is Jewish 

  • Dancing at the Pity Party

By Tyler Feder, 

In this graphic novel, the main character tells her story ten years after her mother’s death. She is also Jewish and writes about her experiences.

  • You Asked for Perfect

By Laura Sliverman

The main character, Ariel Stone, is Jewish.

  • Books by Becky Albertalli
    • Becky is a Jewish author who features Jewish themes and character is her books. 
    • Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda series and spinoffs (Upside especially), all have diverse representation of Jews of all races, genders, sexualities, etc.
    • What If It’s Us series
    • Kate in Waiting
  • Fever King (series)
    • By Victoria Lee
    • Two of the main characters are Jewish

Other books we have heard of:

  • Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
  • As If on Cue by marissa kanter
  • Today, Tonight, and Tomorrow  by Rachel Lynn Solomon
  • It’s a Whole Spiel- anthology of Jewish stories

Hi! My name is Oria Yosef, I’m 11th grader and I live in Yokneam Illit. 

My day starts at school at 8:30 and sometimes I study on zoom. My two majors are physics and biology. After school ends at 15:30 I’m going home. I eat lunch, rest a little bit, then I do my homework. When there is a test coming us soon, I study for it. 

I volunteer at MDA (Magen David Adom, an emergency organization in Israel). I’m also a guide in the scouts.

I like to read books, listen to music, dance, going shopping, design clothes, and travel in Israel and abroad. Now that I’m in 11th grade, there isn’t a lot of time to do all these things because there are many tests (for example, Bagrut exams). I used to dance twice a week, but because of school I stopped dancing and hope to get back to it really soon.

I also like to spend time with my friends, we like to go out , places like restaurants, and the movies when we can. When the day ends, I like to watch a tv show or a movie before I go to sleep.

Our project is to show each other what songs we like as well as songs that will represent our countries and their cultures. We decided to make a playlist: 5 songs from each country. Click here to listen to our PLAYLIST now!

Han Ben Hari – Wikipedia

This song is talk about how people are bullying some race, and this song is telling to stop it.

חנן בן ארי הודף את הביקורת נגדו | ערוץ 7

Abba – Dancing Queen :

The song was released in September 1975 as one of the 7 singles from the band’s third studio album titled ABBA. It is known in a famous American musical Mamma Mia, which has both been on Broadway as well as made into a movie!

Mamma Mia! The ABBA Club Night | The List

Moshe Peretz – Flight 5325

This song talks about how exciting it is to fly for the first time on a plane with someone you love.

Stream משה פרץ - טיסה 5325 by MANDILO | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

Eagles – Hotel California

The song tells the story of a weary traveler who stumbles upon a night hotel, which for the first time seems inviting and tempting. The song became known as an allegory of hedonism and self-destruction in the Southern California music industry in the late 1970s. While it is definitely a “dad” song, it is a classic to Americans

Eagles - Hotel California - YouTube

Omer Adam – I thank:

The song talks about thanking God and how He gives us every day opportunities to live a better life and in general gives us the opportunity to live

עומר אדם - מודה אני - YouTube

Marvin Gaye – Ain’t no Mountain High Enough:

The song was written by Ashford and Simpson before joining Motown. British soul singer Dusty Springfield. It speaks of a tale of a man experiencing New York for the first time, and not letting anything stand in the way of his dream, which represents the idea of the “American Dream”.

שלוש שנים אחרי שמרווין גיי הוציא את השיר, דיאנה רוס הפכה אותו ללהיט ענק  באמת - חדר ניתוח - הארץ

Ethnics – A desert bird:

Included in the band’s debut album (bearing her name), released in 1990

אתניקס - ציפור מדבר - YouTube

Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline:

Sweet Caroline “is a song written and performed by American singer Neil Diamond and released in May 1969 as a single titled” Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good), popular at events, football games, and just hangin out with friends, it is another classic!

Neil Diamond – Sweet Caroline (1978, Vinyl) - Discogs

Mishina – Night train to Cairo:

The song was inspired by the song “Night Boat to Cairo” (Night Boat to Cairo) by the British ska-pop band Madness, which served as a major source of inspiration for Mishina in its infancy, from its debut album (1979). The song Night Train drew its melody and style from the song Night Boat to Cairo, but the lyrics are very different.

משינה - רכבת לילה לקהיר - YouTube

Empire State Of Mind:

The song is a song of praise for New York, the hometown of the two artists. For many, it is used as a workout song, specifically a PR song, as it has a good rhythm and overall just gives good vibes. 

Empire State of Mind - Wikipedia

At my school, I’m taking Latin as a language and I’m in the club for it called JCL. (Junior classical League(Otherwise known as Latin Club). Recently we had an event called Lupercalia, basically Rome’s Valentine’s day. At the event, I got to do a Gladiator battle with one of my friends and perform with another one of my friends. 

I got to put together a costume for the gladiator battle so I had to first find some inspiration. Finding inspiration was hard because there were very few female gladiators. Luckily I was able to get an idea of how I wanted the costume to look. The next step was finding the pieces. The first thing I did was go to Goodwill to see if they had anything that could work as gladiator costumes or any props. In the end, I found a shirt and a skirt. I later found out the skirt had built-in shorts and pockets. Score! The next step was to create a helmet and wrist cuffs, so I headed off to the interwebs to look for a how-to video. I found one relatively quickly and got to work. After a lot of cutting cardboard and duck taping, I had a pretty snazzy-looking helmet and wrist cuffs. After that, I used some silver spray paint that I had leftover from my Halloween costume to make the pieces look like metal. Then I used some watered-down acrylic paint to make the pieces look withered and used. Finally, I added a shawl that I used to wrap the costume together. 

Finally, the day arrived, Monday, February 14, 2022, and after putting my costume on I started on my makeup. For the makeup, I did a scar down one side of my face and another one on my lip. After a little help from one of my friends, the scar looked pretty realistic. Sadly I didn’t get very many photos of the costume or the makeup. 

The first gladiator battle was the one I was in and it started with me and my friend. He used a trident and I used two swords. (our teacher was worried that we would end up hitting each other with the sword so hard that either we would get hurt or break the sword, but in the end, everything was ok) The gladiator battle ends with me laying on the ground after my leg has been chopped off. Then my friend pretended to cut off my arm and step over me and revel in his triumph. As he was reveling in his triumph, I stood up, only using one leg and one arm, And stabbed him in the back. I then proceeded to say “consumsit stercum” which is a not-so-nice way to say eat poop in Latin. 

After the gladiator battles, there were performances where one of my other friends and I proceeded to do a musical song. After that, we later lead a sing-along with the songs everyone in Latin uses to help them memorize the endings of things like verbs and nouns. In between our acts, this band played some covers of songs and dang were they good! Later there was a fake roman wedding followed by a group dance called Zorba. It was basically like the hora, but there were no chairs and the pace kept speeding up. It got so fast that people started falling over left and right. Overall it was a pretty fun experience and I hope I get to do it again next year! 

For those in America, many are familiar with the Dolly Parton song “9-5”. For those unfamiliar, the song reflects an average American woman who works “9-5” to support herself and her family. My life is the reverse, I live 5-9. Now while this may seem just like a play on words, it is fortunately very true. I start my days bright and early at 4:30 am, and I crash and burn by 9:45 on “late nights”. Why do you live like this, you may be asking? What teenager isn’t up on their phone and hanging out till midnight? The simple answer, I’m busy getting things done, and I love it.

4:30 am, the first alarm of the day. The mornings are always still a bit hard at first, but after 30 minutes I am quickly able to adjust, definitely a morning owl. The reason for me waking up at the crack of dawn? Weightlifting. I love the same early people getting a workout in before the day, it’s like our own little morning club. Athletics are not exactly one of my strong suits, but after tearing my ACL, the gym has become my home. I love the routine of the gym. Monday: legs, Tuesday: push:, Wednesday: legs, Thursday: pull, Friday: full body. And the soreness is just as gratifying as hitting a PR. The gym is the main reason for my early wake up call, the fewer people there are, the more I can get done, and not everyone is a crazy gym rat up at 4:30 to go throw around a couple hundred pounds.  

7:00 am, the second alarm of the day. I am known for procrastinating and “dilly dallying” so small alarms remind me I need to stay on task. By this time, I have worked out, showered, gotten ready, and now am on my way to school. While class does not start till 8:20, I spend my mornings going to calc help sessions (definitely not a math person),studying, and generally working on student council (another one of my favorite things). I love the peacefulness of my highschool in the mornings, only half the teachers in the building, the lack of students in the halls, it really is my favorite time at school. 

8:20 am, first bell. My class schedule is quite a bore, so I will definitely spare you the details. As a junior, high school is relentless, four AP courses, one course at my local college, never enough time to study. My first class is definitely fun, AP US History. While I am definitely no history buff, the people in the class make it fun to learn, and the teacher is a blast. 

9:15 am, second period. My second class of the day is one of my harder courses, AP Calculus. Afterwards, my favorite class, AP Seminar. AP Seminar is different than my other courses as it revolves around discussions, 

4th period bell, it’s time to eat. Lunch is a time in which I can socialize with friends, study, get ahead in classes, or have meetings I would otherwise be unavailable for. I fill up my free period with additional work in hopes of getting ahead in courses, nevertheless I am always busy with things to check off. 

12:30, last course of the day, AP Environmental Science. This is my “curveball” course as every day is something different. From labs outdoors, to testing mud inside, I never know what is going to happen, and it always makes for a fun adventure. The students in my class make it even more enjoyable, and it is definitely a course I look forward to. 

1:30, time for work. Like I’ve mentioned, growing up sports were not exactly my strong suit. However, I did find a love for karate. Training now for 7 years, and obtaining a black belt in shuri ryu karate, I now work at a children’s karate dojo running the afterschool program. My work days consist of hanging out and making activities for 35 elementary schoolers. While it has made me realize that teaching will not be my future career, I love my kiddos and working with them makes my day so much better.

6:30, finally home. After a long day of being out and about, I finally got back home. However, the work isn’t over. After dinner with my family, it is time to get to work. Studying, getting homework done, and prepping for the next day are the final things I do before crashing.

9:30, time to crash and burn. By this time of the night, I am absolutely exhausted so it’s time to rest for another day of 5-9.

In December of 2021, Jumpspark’s Strong Women Fellowship gathered at The Weber School to meet with Lily Brent, the Executive Director of Repair the World, and Emma Burns, who is serving as a fellow with the organization. Repair the World is an Atlanta-based, Jewish organization focused on delivering equity to communities and people affected by poverty, food insecurity, and unequal accessibility to education. The organization has taken up a multitude of causes ranging from period poverty, to hurricane relief and The One America Movement, which serves to unite the nation to combat the growth in polarization over many issues. 

The group began with an activity where sheets of paper with statements were placed around the room. We were instructed to take some time to read each sheet and stand by the one we felt most connected to. The sheets read statements of advice such as, “Listen much more than you talk” and “Be aware that things you might take for granted might be scarce or unavailable to others.” Once each of us was standing with a paper, we went around the room reading our statements, introducing ourselves, and explaining why we felt connected to that specific piece of advice. 

We then turned to the back of the room where tables were piled with period products. Fellows were asked to bring packages of pads and tampons to later pack bags with. As a group, we were given instructions on how to fill a period pack and began organizing the supplies into bags which would later be distributed to those suffering from menstrual inequality. The period packs made during the event were donated to The Homeless Period Project, an organization with the goal of collecting and distributing menstrual products to cities around the United States. Many people with periods are unable to afford typical menstrual products due to its high price and inaccessibility within some communities. 

This experience with Repair the World enlightened many of us on what we take for granted in our everyday lives. Before being exposed to the struggles of people who are faced with period poverty, I never thought twice about my easy access to basic hygiene products; however, I now feel the privilege of being able to easily drive to a Walgreens and buy whatever products I need. Many people in America and around the world either cannot afford or do not have access to basic human necessities. Fortunately, there are many organizations, like Repair the World, who collect hygiene and menstrual products and create packages to support donation drives. As a community, we need to stand with and support our neighbors in any way we can; whether it’s through donating, volunteering, or advocating for political change, there is always a way to help.