Press Kit

Hope into Practice 72dpi

AWARDS for Hope into Practice!
  • Association for Women in Psychology,
    2014 Jewish Caucus Award for Scholarship
  • Winner, Social Change Category,
    2014 USA Best Book Awards
  • Honorable Mention for Nonfiction,
    2014 New York Book Festival
  • Honorable Mention for Nonfiction,
    2014 San Francisco Book Festival
  • Honored as a “Notable Indie” in the
    Shelf Unbound 2014 Best Indie Book Awards,
    Non-Fiction Category.

HOPE into PRACTICE: Jewish Women Choosing Justice Despite Our Fears

$21.95 / 417 pages / paperback / SEPT 2013

Available from
AK Press or Amazon


“‘Thank you’ is what I thought I was supposed to say when told that I didn’t ‘look Jewish.’” What will make it irresistible for Jewish women to free ourselves of internalized anti-Semitism, expanding our sense of possibility? HOPE into PRACTICE responds with a rare blend of healing stories, fascinating history, and a fair-minded perspective on Israel-Palestine—asking us to love ourselves enough to face our fears without acting on them. Working through internalized oppression, we can link personal healing with social justice—enabling us to fight more effectively, as visible self-loving Jews, to change systems that are immoral and unfair. Anchored in Jewish ethical tradition and community, this book is an activist’s call to create a more just and generous world. Includes an action-oriented Reader’s Guide, for groups or individuals!

Media Interviews

PRAISE for Hope into Practice

“When I first read the Table of Contents, I was surprised to feel tears arise: tears of need, hunger, yearning, promise. Penny’s book is filled with wild, truthful and exuberant voices, you can feel their spirits in their words.

—Rabbi Margaret Holub
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“A wonderful, gutsy, and inspiring book. Penny Rosenwasser takes on the most explosive issues in American Jewish life today—racism and anti-Semitism, victimization and privilege, and Jewish politics around Israel and Palestine—and she does it with a generosity of spirit and a clear head. The voices at the heart of this book are those of women struggling to forge meaningful Jewish identities and political practices. Rosenwasser tacks back and forth between their testimonies and a sophisticated analysis of contemporary Jewish history and politics. This book has a wealth of discussion modules for groups and is also a good read. A progressive Jewishness for a multicultural 21st century comes through proud and clear.”

—Karen Brodkin, author, How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says About Race in America, & Professor of Anthropology, UCLA
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Hope into Practice…is a book for everyone, even recovering Catholics …Hope floats throughout this book and the question, ‘What could Jewishness be without suffering or victimhood?’ is asked in joy not shame. It is a question for all faith traditions.”

—Kate Clinton, The Progressive Magazine
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“This is more than one Jewish woman’s vision and coherence: it is vision and coherence for the whole world’s healing. A few insights or stories from this book can sustain you for an hour, a season, or a lifetime.”

—Peggy McIntosh, author, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”

“Rosenwasser knows her audience. I felt that she was writing to me and my cohort of young adult, Jewish female community organizers and activists trying to live a principled life in a world rife with contradictions …[The book’s] pages are saturated with Rosenwasser’s brilliant thinking and unwavering love for the Jewish people. There are several sentences within each chapter that so stunningly dismantle internalized anti-Semitism that, in an instant, long-time confusions I’ve carried about myself as a woman and as a Jew were squashed. I was brought to tears more than once…Hope into Practice is an absolutely inspiring call to action. Because, if not together, how?”

—Liz Manlin, Jewish
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Penny and Ilana

“The beauty of this book lies in its insistence that our healing is never separate from our politics. How we treat others is inherently linked to how we treat ourselves, and when we harm others, we cause harm to ourselves.”

—Wendy Elisheva Somerson,
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“The book is brilliant, and is written in the great humanistic spirit of good anthropology.”

—Professor Smadar Lavie, author of Wrapped in the Flag of Israel: Mizrahi Single Mothers and Bureaucratic Torture, Center for Middle East Studies Visiting Scholar, UC Berkeley

“This work fills a gap in the Jewish studies scholarship. Based on the bold assumption that communal and individual healing is integral to justice work, Rosenwasser’s multi-disciplinary book is written from a poignant, personal perspective, Hope into Practice allows readers to reflect on their own struggles with Jewish identity, queerness, and ethical commitment in order to imagine a better future. A must-read for all Jewish feminists!”

—Alainya Kavaloski—Jewish Caucus Chair, National Women’s Studies Association
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“The Jewish women you’ll meet in this book will inspire you, make you laugh, and challenge you to be more fierce. This is a book about liberation from our narrow places and the power to change the world. No matter who you are, you’ll learn something new about being human.”

—Noah T. Winer, Co-founder,; & Board member, Jewish Voice for Peace

“I am reading her book right now and started crying one page in. It’s like someone naming things I never had a name for but always experienced.”

—Annie-Rose London, Moishe House, Oakland CA

“A teaching story for all of us.”

—Akaya Windwood, President, Rockwood Leadership Institute
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Penny and Robert

“A powerful tool for today’s Jewish activists. Rosenwasser challenges us to ask what Jewishness could be without suffering and victimhood—questions asked with joy, not shame. Hope Into Practice acknowledges that we cannot wait to heal all our wounds before we act, but cannot wait until our movements are successful before we turn to our healing.”

—Marjorie Dove Kent, Executive Director, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice
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“I have never thought of myself as being anti-Semitic or racist. Then I picked up Hope into Practice by Penny Rosenwasser…I never realized how indifferent I have been to anti-Semitism. She makes me want to work a little harder in trying to be the kind of person I want to be.”

—Presbyterian minister in Georgia

“I cried through the whole first part, torn open by the known and unknown histories Rosenwasser exposes. As I continued reading, I was intermittently frozen with tears, nodding and saying yes, and turning to whoever was in the room with me to read paragraphs out loud…I long for Rosenwasser’s discussion of cycles of trauma to be present in mainstream Jewish institutions and community…Jewish women’s lives are the heart of this book…The questions she asks, the possibilities for healing that she offers, and the invitation to engage deeply with our whole selves is a galvanizing opportunity that I hope my community of Jewish women does not miss.”

—Jessica Rosenberg, rabbinical student
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Hope into Practice is the love child of Robin Morgan’s Sisterhood is Powerful and Evelyn Torton Beck’s Nice Jewish Girls. A fiercely vulnerable collection of voices and experiences, questions and insights, and most of all moxie, this book is clearly worthy of it matriarchal heritage!”

—Cathy Hauer, community organizer and psychotherapist

“Your book Hope Into Practice resonated deeply with my own past… I was…impressed by the interplay of passion and practical wisdom in your approach to activism.”

—Professor Richard Falk, former UN official and human rights leader

“A stunningly well-researched history of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust…Book and author alike are…well-informed and impressively well-read.”


“The history of anti-Semitism is fascinating. Many personal stories of Jewish women are genuinely instructive and revealing…The writing is both poignant and personal and always to the point.”

—Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

“Penny Rosenwasser has dedicated her life to peace for Palestine and Israel. I’m so impressed with her activism; her process for purging the effects of bigotry is both spiritual and pragmatic. If there were Jewish saints, and Gentiles were allowed to elect them, she would get my vote. The facts of the book are well-documented and copiously end-noted. The book also contains workshop suggestions for the use of each chapter.”

—Bruce Snyder, from Goodreads

“Beginning with Chapter 10, ‘Taking Egypt Out of the Jews,’ she writes fifty pages of excellent political analysis that I recommend to anyone and everyone. Rosenwasser understands the intersections of class, power, and economics…[and] is a smart and thorough writer…”

—Martha Roth, The Outlook on Books, Canada

“…extraordinarily moving text… [Hope into Practice] has a depth of wisdom too rarely encountered on these difficult issues. Your prose glows with experienced conviction and love.”

—Bob Baldock, KPFA Radio Events Producer

“One year ago I read Hope into Practice and it changed my life – by giving me language to finally articulate my central experience of Judaism & Jewishness…I could not feel more grateful to dream together of what real liberation might look like.”

—Leanne Gale

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Table of Contents

Part One: How Did Things Get So Hard?
Chapter 1: Anti-Semitism 101
Chapter 2: Insider/Outsider: Jews, Race, and Privilege
Chapter 3: Let’s Talk about “Jewish Power”: Rethinking Stereotypes
Part Two: Wrestling with the Voices
Chapter 4: The Trickster in our Heads: Internalized Jewish Oppression
Chapter 5: Suckled on Worry
Chapter 6: “Hello Assimilation, Goodbye Persecution”
Chapter 7: “There is a ‘Real’ Jewish Woman and I Am Not Her”: Too Much/Not Enough
Chapter 8: Push/Push/Push for Perfection
Chapter 9: “Where Do I Belong?”
Chapter 10: Taking Egypt Out of the Jews
Part Three: Creating a Future
Chapter 11: On the Front Lines: an Activist’s Vignettes
Chapter 12: Cracking the Code of Our Conditioning
Chapter 13: Jewish-Positive
Chapter 14: Liberatory Healing
Chapter 15: Hope into Practice: Choosing Justice Despite Our Fears
Action-Oriented Reader’s Guide

Author Bio

Transplanted to Oakland, California from Northern Virginia/Washington, D.C., Penny Rosenwasser is the author of Visionary Voices, Women on Power: Conversations with shamans, activists, teachers, artists and healers, and Voices from a ‘Promised Land:’ Palestinian & Israeli peace activists speak their hearts. She earned her Ph.D. at the California Institute of Integral Studies in Transformational Learning & Change. Penny is former Jewish Caucus Chair of the National Women’s Studies Association and is a founding board member of Jewish Voice for Peace. She teaches an Anti-Semitism/Anti-Arabism class with a Palestinian colleague at the City College of San Francisco and belongs to Kehilla Synagogue.

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