Everyone reads. Whether it be the newspaper, a Facebook or Twitter feed, fiction or non-fiction.

Reading transports us to places we might not otherwise visit. Reading compels us to tap into emotions and feelings that lie below the surface in the everyday hum drum of life.

Author Jeannette Winterson stated: “reading is like a dose of medicine. It heals the rupture reality makes on the imagination.”

The Jewish Women Of Words (or JWOW) blog is a balm for both the readers and the writers among us.

Following participation in the inaugural Project Deborah course, a number of us came to the conclusion that there was a dearth in the community for women’s self-expression.

JWOW emanated from a simple phone conversation between Jackie King (Project Deborah founder) and me about six months ago. Jackie planted the seed of a blog in my head. The notion of starting a blog for the budding, women writers in our community, including ourselves, seemed fabulous and foolish at the same time. Who was I to take this leap forward?

Well, leap we did and the process has been both exhilarating and frustrating, but ultimately rewarding as we gathered around us a committee of like-minded writers (Deborah Rechter and Simone Szalmuk Singer) who wanted to create something special and meaningful.

So what is a writer? One definition I’ve heard is a writer is a particular organism capable of transforming caffeine into books or articles.

But apart from this skill, writing compels structure, analysis and above all to be brave. Words on the page require far more commitment than words in your head.

The bar to be published in both print and on-line platforms is high so many of us don’t even try to put pen to paper to encapsulate how we feel about an issue.

JWOW hopes to change that. While each piece will be reviewed by two committee members, it is the objective to be inclusive and encourage emerging writers to submit material.

To that end, we have custom-built a blog with a template for you to submit your piece. At JWOW, your subject matter is not limited. You’re free to write whatever words appeal to you be they: Jewish words, Israel words, Relationship words, Eat, Play, Explore words, Giving words, Community words, Work words, Past words or even Random words.

Once articles are uploaded, approved and published on the blog, they will be posted to Facebook on the JWOW page. Facebook will be our primary mechanism for distributing articles. The comments section in FB will be the place for any comments and discussion than ensues from an article.

All of us are busy. Many of us work, we’re on boards and committees. We have family commitments.

Often, decisions are made that are not entirely our own or they’re made for us.

Novelist Meg Wolitzer talked about the pleasure of writing and that “you have deep control and where else can you find that? You can’t control other people or your relationships or your children but in writing, you can have sustained periods where you’re absolutely in charge.”

So we are asking women of our community, of all ages, to find out what you’re really thinking and feeling about an issue and what it means to you.

We are asking you to be committed and to be brave.

The JWOW editors attended a talk by Israeli author, Etgar Keret last week. He said: “writers like to upgrade reality. We make the situation better than it actually is.” Who amongst us doesn’t seek an upgrade now and then?

Writer, Joan Didion encapsulates the writing motive for me: “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I say and what it means.”

So to you, our thinkers and writers: take charge; seek out that precious time to find out what you’re thinking. Be brave and share your thoughts and ideas with our community.

Whether you are reader or a writer, our hope is that JWOW nourishes you and that you visit often.

Remember – we are the people of the book. Through JWOW – we are women of words.

Article by Author/s
Liora Miller
Liora Miller is the managing editor of Jewish Women of Words. She is also a project manager at an independent school in Melbourne. She’s the mother of three, usually healthy, opinionated children. In a previous life she was a political adviser and costs lawyer.

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