In (belated) honor of Labor Day and the start of the new school year, I want to call your attention to a set of lesson plans on labor activism and communal responsibility. The lessons are based on a speech given by Rose Schneiderman, a Jewish immigrant activist, lifelong advocate for the rights of workers and of women, and powerful orator.
The New York Times Magazine is tackling sex trafficking and other despicable abuses against women in their "Saving the World's Women" issue. Lately I have observed a steadily rising cultural awareness of sex trafficking, and thank goodness. Sex trafficking is an uncomfortable issue, and historically, many have chosen to ignore it rather than face the unpleasantness of dealing with it. But it seems that things are changing, and thanks to the efforts of high-profile people like Hillary Clinton, Americans are gearing up to tackle this global issue. I think the Jewish community needs to join this campaign. Think sex trafficking isn't a Jewish issue? Think again.
World War II brought changes for women on many fronts, including the enlistment of women in the Armed Forces. The establishment of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in May of 1942 was a transformational moment in women's history. Twelve of the original graduating class were Jewish. In the years since then, the number and the importance of women in the military have steadily increased, resulting in a series of "firsts" and accomplishments. The coming of the all-volunteer army in 1973 had a huge impact, and according to the New York Times, women have passed a new milestone in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as they prove themselves not only capable, but indispensible, in combat.
'Family Guy' creator Seth MacFarlane outs Stewie (the baby) as gay, and announces that this season Lois (the mother) will discover she is actually Jewish. [NYDailyNews] Will this be received better than the controversial "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" episode Fox refused to air in 2000?
Jews are generally not a quiet people -- at least not in America in this day and age. We like to speak up, to speak out, to express our opinionated selves fairly loudly. So when the White House announced this year's recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, it's not surprising that there was a vocal "Jewish response."
New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine (Dem) has picked Loretta Weinberg to be his running mate for lieutenant governor. The JTA reports that this "marks the first time a Jewish woman is running for state-wide office in New Jersey."
The JTA article does not paint a pretty picture of the history of women in New Jersey politics.