Praise for Hope into Practice

Penny and Colette

“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,
»View full testimonial at

“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. A vision of 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
Girls stand against Islamophobia

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

“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

“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

“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”
Penny standing in front of public art showing Michelle Obama's message: When they go low, we go high.

“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

“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 work is at once a memoir, a Jewish feminist treatise, and an activist guide. 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

“A powerful tool for today’s Jewish organizers and activists. Rosenwasser challenges us to ask what Jewishness could be without suffering or victimhood—questions asked with joy, not shame. Hope Into Practice acknowledges that we cannot wait to heal all our wounds before we can 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

“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

“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
»View full testimonial
Jews stand with Muslim neighbors.

“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

“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,
»View full testimonial at

“A teaching story for all of us.”

—Akaya Windwood, President, Rockwood Leadership Institute

“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

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

“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
Penny's friends at Depaul

“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

Hope into Practice changed my life – mostly by giving me language to finally articulate one of my central experiences of Judaism & Jewishness…I could not feel more grateful to dream together of what real liberation might look like.”

—Leanne Gale

Excerpts of 5-star reviews on Amazon

Hope Into Practice: A How-To for Opening Hearts and Minds Without feeling preached to, I learned new lessons in self-awareness, self-actualization, and activism, and gained a new “Jewish-positive” attitude…I think the book should be required reading for Jewish Studies and Women’s Studies courses…I recommend a slow, meditative reading, allowing the carefully chosen language to penetrate the heart, for Jews as well as gentiles, and for women as well as men and people of all genders, for anyone with a mind willing to be opened just a bit more by Penny Rosenwasser’s generous spirit.”

—Judith Berlowitz
»View full testimonial on

Penny Rosenwasser’s book is beautifully written and an exhilarating read… Rosenwasser’s book gives me hope. It rekindled my spirituality, connection to community, and call to action…Rosenwasser quotes an activist who said, “There’s a new Jewish identity, one that is multigenerational, multiethnic, multisexual, a united front against bigotry and xenophobic nationalism, and for all forms of equality.” I can relate to that! …So whether or not you are Jewish, or religious, or a woman, many of the ideas in this brilliant book will resonate and inspire.”

—Curious Writer
»View full testimonial on
Penny Rosenwasser

You don’t have to be Jewish to read Hope into Practice.

A timely, well written, enjoyable and profound book I loved this book. It is so well written, with a big heart, deep analysis and a path for action. Timely and important information for all citizens of the world…Highly highly highly recommended.”

—Barbara Higbie
»View full testimonial on

A must read for everyone who longs for Peace with Justice I found this book truly inspiring, enlightening to me as a Gentile woman. The hope and joy that shone through gave my great hope for the future. The sharing of the realities of the generational pain carried by Jewish women humbled me but also explained why Israel is so governed by fear…Reading this book was a very moving experience and I will be recommending it to others.”

»View full testimonial on

Essential Reading For Jewish Feminists Working For Peace In The Middle East!

“…I really can’t recommend it enough…In this book, Rosenwasser makes the crucial point that Jewish liberation is interconnected with the liberation of all oppressed people, whether they are African-American, undocumented immigrants, queer or transgender, homeless, or Palestinian. Like Marc Ellis and Judith Plaskow, Rosenwasser proves that the prophetic Jewish voice is still alive. Emphasizing the importance for Jewish activists to heal ourselves of internalized anti-Semitism as we simultaneously work to transform unjust systems…,this book demands that we love ourselves enough to confront our fears without allowing them to control us.”

»View full testimonial on