Ellen K. Rothman

Blog posts

  • Who are you, really, Annie? How did you wind up here, at the fish market, receiving your boys, their taunts, the slaps of the East River winds? Where does all your money go?

  • I admit it: I am a third-generation compulsive reader of obituaries.

  • In late August of 2005, when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, I was lying in a hospital bed in Boston getting nasty medicine through an IV line and receiving all nourishment through another tube. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself until I turned on the generally useless TV and saw what was – and was not – happening in New Orleans. The images of desperate people on rooftops, the misery at the Superdome, water flooding into Charity Hospital made me wonder if my illness and the treatment I was receiving for it were causing me to have delusions.

  • The Jewish Women’s Archive was the community partner for the Boston New Center for Arts and Culture’s last program of the season on May 6, “Listen to Your Mother,” featuring http://storyco

  • Like countless other Americans, here at the Jewish Women's Archive we were great admirers of Dorothy Height, who died on April 20 at the age of 98 and is being buried in Washington, DC today. Given what we know about Dr. Height, we couldn’t help but be struck by President Obama’s statement that "the godmother of the civil rights movement" had “served as the only woman at the highest level of the civil rights movement, witnessing [italics added] every march and milestone along the way."

    • The ever-thoughtful Renee Ghert-Zand recognized many of her own complicated feelings about Judaism in Terry Gross’s recent interview with Judith Shulevitz on NPR’s Fresh Air.
  • If you’ve watched CNN, CBS “Sunday Morning,” or the PBS “NewsHour” in the past month, you have probably seen grainy, black-and-white clips of President Kennedy’s funeral. The historic footage has accompanied reports on Ellen Fitzpatrick’s powerful new book, Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation. A collection of about 250 letters from the archives at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, Letters to Jackie gives people like the man who wrote “I myself am just a nobody from nowhere” their rightful place in American history. 

  • The other day I blogged about celebrating Passover on my great aunt’s dairy farm outside of Baltimore.

  • How many kids growing up in Baltimore City in the 1950s celebrated Passover on a dairy farm? How many little girls hunted for the afikomen in a house that had once been home to slaveholders? How many children heard the sounds of cows mooing when they opened the door for Elijah? Not too many, I reckon, but for the first 15 years of my life, our family seders were held on the dairy farm owned by my Great Aunt Sarah Mahr.

  • A lovely May day in 1981. Standing — for the first and only time — in my black PhD robe waiting for the Brandeis Commencement festivities to begin. More ambivalent than excited. Not about my imminent departure from the Ivy Tower but about the speaker and honorary degree recipient, Helen Suzman, who died in Johannesburg yesterday at the age of 91.

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