Six weeks before my Bat Mitzvah, I went with my mom to a family friend who knew how to sew to have my dress taken out. I had fallen in love with suit dress — with its beautiful navy color, satin detailing, pearl buttons and bolero jacket — but as a 180 pound, 5’2” almost-13 year old, it didn’t come in my size. I remember my mother reassuring me that it was okay, and the tailor being exceedingly kind. And as far as I can recall, I didn’t feel bad about myself. In fact, I felt sure, when I stood up before the congregation as an adult for the first time, that I looked beautiful. Even if I was self-conscious about the number on the scale, I was able to feel good about the person I saw in the mirror.
“What does he do for a living?” “Did you eat?” “When are you going to give my grandchildren?” “Are you sure you want to eat that?”
Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly photo feature in which we sift 116 years of Forward history to find snapshots of women’s lives.
You would think that spending two years as a field commander would be enough time in the Israeli military. But after returning to civilian life as a lawyer, Rachel Tevet-Vizel found that there was something missing. “In Israel, it is not enough to be a lawyer,” she says now. “To contribute to this country, you have to be a lawyer and something else.” Today Tevet-Vizel goes by the title of Brigadier-General, and is one of the four highest-ranking women in the Israeli Defense Forces. Serving as the army’s chief gender advisor, she oversees all matters of gender and women’s issues for the soldiers who serve in the IDF.
It’s hard to be a feminist in Israel today. You walk around thinking that it should be obvious that women are equal human beings, fully capable of living independent, free lives. But that belief is challenged in every corner of your life, every day.