Q&A: Joyce Antler on "Women's Liberation and Jewish Identity"
I first read the Joyce Antler’s book The Journey Home: How Jewish Women Shaped Modern America as an undergraduate, deep in the thrall of Jewish feminist academia. It was an enormously important part of my uncovering and understanding what Antler calls “the cultural chain” of my identity as a Jewish woman activist.
Joyce Antler is the Samuel Lane Professor of American Jewish History and Culture at Brandeis University, where she teaches in the American Studies Department and Women’s and Gender Studies Program. She authored or edited 10 books, including You Never Call! You Never Write! A History of the Jewish Mother. She is the co-author (with Elinor Fuchs) of the prize-winning documentary drama Year One of the Empire: A Play of American Politics, War and Protest, which was performed off-Broadway in 2008.
Beginning today and running through tomorrow, Antler is convening a conference called “Women’s Liberation and Jewish Identity: Uncovering a Legacy of Innovation, Activism and Social Change,” sponsored by NYU’s Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History, the Jewish Women’s Archive, the Spencer Foundation’s Special Initiative on Civic Learning and Civic Action and Brandeis University. The conference will bring together 40 Jewish women who participated in the women’s liberation and Jewish feminist movements beginning in the late 1960s; the participants include Susannah Heschel, Evelyn Torton Beck, Gloria Feldt, Jaclyn Friedman, Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz and Susan Weidman Schneider. I spoke recently with Antler about her hopes, intentions and motivations behind this unique conference.
Chanel Dubofsky is a contributor to the Sisterhood, which cross-posts regularly with Jewesses with Attitude.