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Jewesses with Attitude

JWA Spotlights Jewish Women's Activism

Like all large groups of people, American Jews are complex and irreducible despite some aspects of shared culture. Recently, the Jewish Women’s Archive made an interesting choice to focus a new curriculum on Jewish involvement in the labor and civil rights movements — without cheerleading or focusing solely on women’s involvement — thereby shining a probing light on that very complexity.

Called “Living the Legacy,” the curriculum uses primary sources to paint a multifaceted portrait of Jewish activism from the roots to the height of the labor and civil rights movements, right up through today.

In other curricula on social justice, “there was little engagement with the history of American Jewish involvement in social justice movements, except to celebrate it in a fairly superficial way — ‘Jews were at the forefront of all social justice movements in American history — Yay, Jews!,’” JWA’s Director of Public History Dr. Judith Rosenbaum told me in an email exchange. “We felt that this loses much of what’s complex and interesting about Jews and social justice.”

>>> Read the rest at the Sisterhood

LTL Institute Photo
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Sam Wood, Marilyn Heiss, and Alana Alpert study primary sources this past summer at JWA's Institute for Educators. Photo by Gus Freedman.

How to cite this page

Seltzer, Sarah. "JWA Spotlights Jewish Women's Activism." 1 November 2012. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on November 26, 2015) <>.


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