This year’s White House celebration of Jewish American Heritage month was a simpler affair than in years past. The program was President Obama, and his remarks were brief.
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Twice a finalist for the National Book Award, Alicia Ostriker has published fourteen poetry collections, including The Book of Seventy, wh
National Poetry Month officially began yesterday. It is not altogether clear why the Academy of American Poets chose April as the month to celebrate poets and poetry.
Change is definitely in the air, and it is filling me with hope.
A little over 15 years ago, I found my calling. While attending a Jewish Funder’s Network conference, I received a monograph on Jewish social justice circulated to all conference participants.
Jewish women were definitely front and center at the first ever White House reception marking Jewish American Heritage month. Appropriately so, since it was a woman – Representative Deborah Wasserman Schultz – who spearheaded the Congressional campaign to establish Jewish American Heritage month. It was another woman – Marcia Zerivitz, who put the bug in Wasserman Schultz’ ear; and yet another woman, Abby Schwartz, who, as National Coordinator of the Jewish American Heritage Month Coalition, has worked tirelessly to turn a proclamation into a broad based local, regional and national celebration.
It’s a thrill for me to see artist Joan Snyder listed among this year’s recipients of MacArthur fellowships, the “genius grants” that honor and advance the work of exceptionally creative thinkers and doers. Joan Snyder greets me each morning as I begin work. A copy of her print, “Our Foremothers,” occupies the wall opposite my desk. A collage of names of all the women in the Bible as well as women in her own family, the print is a visual metaphor for our work at the Jewish Women’s Archive.