Date of Award

Winter 1-15-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Interdisciplinary Studies

First Advisor

Amy Rutstein-Riley

Second Advisor

Eleanor Roffman

Third Advisor

Jonathan Krasner


This dissertation examined how 32 Jewish activist girls, aged 14 to 18, who were affiliated with Jewish communities navigated their relationship with voice, visibility, and representation. A primary goal of the study was to understand the challenges they faced in their everyday lives and to make their knowledge known. Research questions that guided the study included: 1) How do Jewish activist girls navigate their relationship to voice, visibility, and representation?; 2) What are the unique challenges experienced by Jewish girl activists?; and 3) How do Jewish girl activists exercise resistance against the challenges they experience? The literature that informed this study were drawn from research on girls’ development, the field of girls’ and girlhood studies, and sociological and cultural studies on the lived experiences of Jewish girls. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and a survey with a purposively selected group of Jewish girls from across a diverse range of racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, religious, and geographic backgrounds. Data were coded and thematically analyzed using grounded theory analysis (Corbin & Strauss, 1990; Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Findings showed that girls wrestled with multiple aspects of their identities, including: 1) Issues around faith and spirituality and structural issues in traditional Judaism; 2) Antisemitism and criticism about Israel and their own relationship with Israel; 3) Making their Jewish identities known; 4) Complex understandings about their racial, ethnic, and gender identities; and 5) The need for validation and approval. Generating theory about Jewish activist girls revealed that Jewish identification had a significant influence on the way that they related to voice, action, and representation.



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