A few weeks ago, on the Sunday before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I posed a question to the students in my class on "Jews and the Civil Rights Movement": "If you could plan a Jewish commemoration for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, what would it be? Who would be the audience? What would you do? Why should Jews, as Jews and in Jewish communities, commemorate this holiday?"
The struggle for social justice involves going beyond what is easy, taking actions that are often risky. I find it helpful to have role models to remind me of the work that needs to be done and often is done by people of privilege. The Jewish Women's Archive website is brimming with just such role models—hundreds of examples of women who did not let their privilege positions keep them from taking courageous action. JWA gives us a look at how our foremothers reconciled the complicated relationship between privilege and activism.
February is Black History Month. Feministing recognizes the contributions of women to the Civil Rights Movement in this blog post (with a tribute video). Jewish women played an important role in the Movement. Learn the stories of 16 extraordinary Jewish women who dedicated their lives to fighting for civil rights in a special feature on jwa.org.
Monday night as part of the JWA Summer Institute for Educators, we saw a sneak preview of a newly made documentary, The Freedom Riders, which tells the story of the group of black and white young people, who rode south on two buses to deliberately break the segregation laws.
I am beyond excited to be able to observe JWA's 2010 Institute for Educators. This morning we listened to two fascinating presentations. The day began with an interactive talk with Debra Schultz, author of Going South: Jewish Women in the Civil Rights Movement, followed by an introduction to using primary sources by Deborah Cunningham and Susan Zeiger of Primary Source.