We Are Crossing to the Other Side: Rabbi Maderer’s Message at the Philadelphia Women’s March 2018

Rodeph Shalom members at the Women’s March

Shabbat shalom!  Today, I am grateful to gather—we who call God many different names, and we who choose not to call to God at all—I am grateful to gather together with you!

This season, in our sacred text, the Jewish community reads the story of the Exodus from Egypt.

Our redemption story begins with women. Midwives birth our redemption.  Overworked, underpaid; but powerful      and brave.  How do we know redemption has begun?  We see the courage of women.

And our redemption story culminates with women.  When we cross the Sea of Reeds to freedom on the other side,    “Miriam the prophet takes her timbrel in her hand, and all the women go out with her in song.” How do we know redemption has come?  We hear the voice of women.

In our own time, brave women have birthed the next wave of the movement.

Women’s courage and women’s voice are leading; women and men are following in partnership.

We are marching to the other side, and there is no turning back.

We the People, of diverse neighborhoods, religions, races, sexual orientations, gender identities, socio-economic statuses, abilities and languages—so many of our groups, vulnerable targets of misogyny, hate, anti-semitism, racism, Islamophobia,  bigotry, homophobia, and fear—we are here to stand in solidarity!  To lift up women’s courage and women’s voice!

It is not the rape survivor’s responsibility, to bring us to redemption.

It is on us all, to dismantle gender power imbalance, in every corner of our society.

It is on us all, to bring our courage and our voice to our boardrooms, our classrooms and our kitchen tables.


And to anyone who would abuse his power like a Pharaoh, we are here to say: no!

Will we be silenced?  No!

Will we be pitted against each other?  No!

Will we be distracted?  No!

Will we be quieted by complaints that we are too shrill or bossy?  No!

Will we be satisfied with a handful of high-profile sexual harassment and assault reckonings? No!

At its root, sexual harassment and assault are about power!

So: will we be satisfied with anything less, than complete equal power?  No!


We will not turn around!

Our voices will not be drowned out!

We will not go back into the sea!

We are crossing to the other side.

That someday soon, we will lift our voices with Miriam, and we will know, that redemption has come.