Frequently Asked Questions

Everything you always wanted to know about Girls in Trouble, but were afraid to ask. (If you have questions that aren’t answered here, feel free to write us directly.)

  1. What is Girls in Trouble?

    Girls in Trouble is an indie-folk song cycle about women in Torah, created and performed by Alicia Jo Rabins (sometimes solo, often with bassist Aaron Hartman, sometimes with a band). Girls in Trouble has released three albums, toured the US, Canada, and Europe, and garnered critical praise.  The project also includes an interactive, arts-focused educational component for teens and adults.

     

    For the whole story about Alicia, Aaron and Girls in Trouble, see here.

  2. Who is Alicia Jo Rabins?

    Alicia Jo Rabins (call her “Alicia”) is an award-winning poet, musician, and dedicated Jewish educator. She began playing classical violin at age three, spent a semester of college on a schooner, holds a masters in Jewish Women’s Studies from JTS and a MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson, and studied for two years at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Find out more about Alicia and her projects here.

  3. Can Girls in Trouble come perform in my community?

    Yes! Based in Portland, Oregon, Girls in Trouble tours internationally. Performances can be music alone, or Alicia can include an educational component.

    Since Girls in Trouble is essentially a songwriting project, there are a variety of live versions. Most commonly, Alicia performs Girls in Trouble songs solo or as a duo with her bassist, Aaron Hartman. For large events, a full band option with drums is also available. Send a message here to inquire.

  4. How can I use these songs in my classroom, or learn more about the stories myself?

    The Girls in Trouble Curriculum is a series of in-depth study guides (including lesson plans) teaching about women in Torah through song, art, creativity, and personal connections to their stories. These guides are chock-full of Alicia’s thoughts and observations. They are great for classroom use, self-study, Rosh Chodesh groups, or any other situation where people are interested in going deep into a character’s story.

    Ten in-depth study guides are available. They are intended for teens and adults, but most units can be adapted for younger learners.

    Note: teachers are encouraged to pick and choose among the sources offered, rather than trying to squeeze everything in!

    If you are looking for shorter lesson plans based on Girls in Trouble songs without additional midrash or art, good news: we have created a wonderful series of free, song-and-text-only lessons in partnership with our friends at Jewish Women’s ArchiveMore song-and-text only lessons on additional characters are currently under development and will be available soon.

  5. Which study guide payment option should I choose?

    Study guides come as a packaged download in individual, small group, or institution versions:

    Individual = you and a cup of tea, plus maybe a study partner

    Small group = a group of friends, Rosh Chodesh group, independent havurah or minyan, or independent teacher working outside of an institution

    Institution = a synagogue, school, or other larger community

    “Individual” includes a beautifully designed PDF with sources, annotations, and guiding questions, a PowerPoint of visual art, and an mp3 of the Girls in Trouble song.

    “Small group” and “institution” downloads are identical, but priced differently to reflect the number of users projected. They include a student copy which omits the teacher’s notes.

    All proceeds directly support the ongoing work of Girls in Trouble; you are welcome to select a higher level if you would like to support the project.

  6. How can I explain chavruta learning to a class?

    Here’s a suggestion:  “We’re going to divide into chavruta: study partners. Chavruta is the traditional way of learning Torah through dialectic that goes back for at least 2,000 years. Find a partner and take turns reading aloud, voice your questions to each other, try and answer them, have at the text together, debate your opinions – l want to hear your voices!”
  7. How can I explain midrash to a class?

    Try this after participants list their problems and questions with the original text:  “What we just did was notice gaps in the Biblical story and try to answer them. The process of proposing answers to those questions is called midrash (plural: midrashim). The ancient rabbis invented midrash, writing or passing down stories that filled in gaps in the original text. We call these classical or rabbinic midrashim. Defined more broadly, we are part of this process too; midrash can be an ongoing process of questioning and creating answers in writing, or artistic forms. We’re going to look at some rabbinic midrashim on our story now, and then we will look at some modern artistic midrashim.”
  8. Who are the major supporters of Girls in Trouble and the GIT Curriculum?

    We are tremendously grateful to the Covenant Foundation, whose generous support enabled the creation of the Girls in Trouble Curriculum; to the Joshua Venture Fellowship for generous support; to JDub Records, who incubated Girls in Trouble and released our first two records; to Portland’s Regional Arts and Culture Council and friends of Girls in Trouble for supporting our third album, Open the Ground; to all our brilliant musician friends who have performed on our albums and live shows; and to Rabbi Burton Visotzky at Jewish Theological Seminary for inspiring this project, by suggesting that Alicia write songs about women in Torah for her thesis!

  9. How can I make the study guides accessible to all?

    In order to fit all the material into the study guides, we needed to use small print for the study guides. This might present challenges for vision-impaired participants. PDF viewers can zoom in on the screen to view the content at a larger size; you are welcome to forward to the student PDF to participants. Additionally, please contact us if you would like the texts in .doc format so that size can be adjusted. Finally, you may also share the song mp3’s with participants who are hearing-challenged and would like to listen to it on their own devices before or during the class. Please let us know if you have further accessibility suggestions.

     

  10. Can anyone add their work to the Gallery of Biblical Women?

    Yes! Whether it’s a polished piece or simply a sketch, we welcome all (respectful, suitable-for-all-ages) interpretations of Biblical women. You are welcome to share your name or post as anonymous. We do not curate submissions; professional artists will appear alongside elementary school students, which is part of our goal in creating this open-source repository of commentary. However, we do vet submissions for appropriateness before publishing. Submit here!

  11. What do you use my email address for?

    When you log-in, purchase an item, or sign-up for our email list, you will be opted-in to Alicia’s monthly newsletter. We respect your privacy and will never sell your email information to a third party. You can easily unsubscribe from the email newsletter at any time.