Feminist Updates for Jerusalem Street Signs
Thanks to grassroots efforts, Jerusalem street signs are getting a feminist makeover. Beruryah was a great Talmudic sage in her own right. Ruth, the great-grandmother of King David, has a biblical book named for her. However, until recently, you wouldn’t have known these things from the signs on the streets named for the women.
Jerusalem resident Hadas Levmore submitted a formal request for a sign change to the Jerusalem municipality’s Names Committee. She was tired of seeing Beruryah described only as the wife of venerated Talmudic sage Rabbi Meir.
“I asked myself what kind of message this sends to the girls of Jerusalem, whom we should encourage to learn Torah and become scholars,” said Levmore.
Meanwhile, educator Roni Hazon Weiss lodged a separate complaint about the Ruth Street sign, which referred to the biblical heroine merely as Boaz’s wife. Weiss, a board member for the Jerusalem civic organization and political party Yerushalmim, has fought for years against the exclusion of women in the public sphere. Her street sign effort is closely related to a campaign she waged to prevent the removal of women’s images from advertisements on the city’s streets and buses.
“Street names and signs are all part of the creation of egalitarian public space, and of creating inspirational models for our young people,” Weiss said.
Currently, the city is considering a feminist update to the sign for Rachel Imeinu Street, named for the biblical matriarch.