Exhibit: Women Who Dared
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Biography
What She Said
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  Miriam Waltzer
  Protector of civil rights of minorities, juveniles, and women
  New Orleans WWD Event 2005
   
  First woman elected to the New Orleans Criminal Court
 
Biography  up to top

Miriam G. Waltzer was born in Frankfurt, Germany, the youngest of three sisters. She immigrated to the United States at age 22 when she married Bruce Waltzer, a civil rights lawyer. Without graduating from high school, Miriam went to college and then to law school. She graduated with top honors and immediately applied her prodigious energies to transforming society.

Having witnessed the persecution of Jews in Europe, Miriam brought fresh perspective to the systems of oppression that had long been in place in the American South. As the first woman elected to the New Orleans Criminal District Court and the second woman elected to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Miriam fought continuously for justice for women, children, and African-Americans. She created two innovative educational programs to educate youth in her courtroom, wrote opinions and dissents that provided for the welfare of youth victims, forced male judges to honor federal child support requirements, and conducted a state-wide survey on the treatment of women in the Courts. As her proudest achievement, Miriam names her successful three-week trip to Russia to fight for the freedom of a Refusenik family now living in Canada.

She has also participated in over thirty Jewish and civic organizations, and is currently the Co-Chair of the Capital Campaign for her synagogue. She says, "My knowledge of the Bible has always helped me. It says that each life is valuable; that we should feel like we were at Sinai when the law was given. We should feel like we were in the Exodus! The individual is what counts."

 
What She Said  up to top
ON JEWISH VALUES
I thought that if you had to see an injustice, you would have to talk about it, you couldn't just stand there. ...More 
ON FAMILY UPBRINGING
Steal with your eyes, that was his thing. Whatever you see, put it to your head. ...More 
ON ROLE MODELS
My mother was a very, very sweet person and a great believer. ...More 
ON BEING A WOMAN ACTIVIST
Until 1974 we had male jurors. ...More 
ON TRADITIONAL ROLES
My father was always disappointed that I wasn't a boy. ...More 
ON WOMEN'S MOVEMENT
I was the head of the task force [to investigate gender bias in the legal system.] ...More 
ON PATH TO ACTIVISM
You know what these guys ask me? ...More 
ON IMPACT ON WORLD
What I did was, said, look: you're pleading guilty here, and I'm going to put you on probation. ...More 
 
Multimedia  up to top
Photographs Photographs
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How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography: Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Miriam Waltzer." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=pmwaltzer>.

For a footnote: Jewish Women's Archive, "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Miriam Waltzer," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=pmwaltzer>.