Feminism, Zionism & Intersectionality - Panelist Bios

Laura E. Adkins is the Contributing Network Editor at the Forward. Before joining the Forward, she served as an assistant blogs editor at the Times of Israel and as editor of Jewish Insider. She holds a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Hebrew and Judaic Studies from NYU, grew up in Southwest Missouri, and is a proud member of the NYC Modern Orthodox community. Her views and opinions are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward. Contact Laura at [email protected], like her page on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.


Susan Aranoff, a professor of economics at Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York, has, for more than three decades, been a feminist activist in pursuit of freedom and justice for agunot and women’s rights to pray with Torah, Tallit, Tefillin in the Ezrat Nashim of the Kotel. She is co-author of The Wed-Locked Agunot and is a founder and board member of Original Women of the Wall and of AGUNAH, International. 


Jill Jacobs is the Executive Director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, which mobilizes a network of 1800 rabbis and cantors and their communities to bring a rabbinic moral voice to human rights in North America, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories. She is the author of Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community and There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and TraditionRabbi Jacobs has been named three times to the Forward’s list of 50 influential American Jews, to Newsweek’s list of the 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America, and to the Jerusalem Post’s 2013 list of “Women to Watch.”


Nancy K. Kaufman is the chief executive officer of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), a grassroots organization that improves the quality of life for women, children, and families. Prior to joining NCJW, Kaufman served as the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Boston, where she led the social justice, Israel advocacy, and governmental affairs agendas for Boston’s Jewish Federation and its agencies. She has also held a variety of positions related to health and human services delivery in state and local government and in the nonprofit sector. Kaufman has been named three times by the Forward’s list of 50 most influentiall American Jewish leaders.


Yael Reisman is a seasoned nonprofit management and policy professional working specifically with advocacy initiatives in the realm of women's reproductive justice, anti-poverty policy, and ensuring the continuity of the Jewish People.




Yishai Schwartz is student at Yale Law School. Previously, he was a reporter and researcher at The New Republic and an associate editor at Lawfare. He has also published in Foreign Policy, Haaretz, Tablet, The New York Jewish Week, and the Forward. He co-organized JOFA's first high school programs, and has served as gabbai at Yale's partnership minyan, Minyan Urim.



Emily Shire covered the 2016 election for Bustle as its first politics editor. Her work has appeared in The Daily Beast, the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, and the Jewish Daily Forward.