Exhibit: Women Who Dared
BiographiesMultimediaBy CityAbout WWD Jewish Gender Activism
What She Said
  Sally Mack
  Nuclear Disarmament Activist
  Boston WWD Event 2000
  Born in 1933
  Protested nuclear weapons testing and development through non-violent civil disobedience
Biography  up to top

Sally Mack was born in 1933 and raised in Oil City, Pennsylvania in an Orthodox household. Growing up in the shadow of World War II, Sally learned to be socially assimilated. Despite her mother's overprotective nature, Mack went away to attend college at the University of Michigan, where she was drawn to Quaker values and lifestyle. She traveled to Israel in 1955 to work in an Arab village with a Quaker work-camp. After college, Mack earned a degree in social work.

Mack became involved in non-violent civil disobedience for nuclear disarmament through her youngest son's interest in this issue. In 1986, Mack, her husband, and their three sons participated in an action of civil disobedience at a nuclear test site in Mercury, Nevada. Stepping across the boundary of the test site arm-in-arm as a family, they were arrested for their act of trespassing. Mack and her husband protested their arrest on the basis of the Nuremberg Defense, which gives absolution from punishment for crimes committed to prevent greater crimes against humanity. They lost their appeal and rather than pay the fine, Mack spent five days in jail. Sharing this action with other protesters and especially her family empowered Mack to feel more comfortable taking risks, speaking up, and assuming leadership roles in social justice movements. Since that first experience, Mack has participated in and helped organize many other non-violent protests. She has written and given speeches about her political involvements and helped found a group called Families in Action in the Nuclear Age.

Mack feels that her heightened political involvement has also complemented her social work practice, giving her greater awareness of her clients' social, political, and spiritual issues. Mack has worked primarily as a perinatal social worker in hospitals. She is a leader in the social work community, and was involved in fighting for legislation to allow parents to stay home with sick children.

What She Said  up to top
I've looked for a way for my own social, political, spiritual feelings to be expressed more in a Jewish venue. I haven't quite found that ...More 
[Our sons] had already been active in college or in their work. ...More 
Doing that action together with [my sons] was really important to me. ...More 
I really backed into it... My son was a junior or senior at Cambridge School of Westin when they had a law day and somebody came and talked about the possibility of nuclear annihilation. ...More 
I think [my experience] affected my family and my friends and my larger community, my social work community. ...More 
I think I saw myself as a 'softie' -- I wasn't a street-tough kid... I knew how to be nice. I didn't really know how to fight...It made me see that I could be outspoken ...More 
Probably [the most rewarding thing] was the deep sense of community, of feeling that I was doing something with other people to have our world continue ...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 Sally Mack." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=psmack>.

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