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Activism

Whose Labor Day Is It Anyway?

Ron Ashkenas’ recent post for Forbes about Labor Day has me feeling unsettled, and I finally know why. In his article, Ashkenas explains that the “real purpose [of Labor Day] was to serve as a tribute to the working class — the men and women whose physical, and largely manual, labor had built the country.” He goes on to bemoan (as we have in the past) how the meaning of Labor Day has been lost in end-of-summer soirees and all-American barbeques. So far, I’m totally onboard with his argument. We should find more meaningful ways to commemorate the people who built this country, brick by brick.

Dorothy Parker, Hopeful Cynic

“This memorial garden is dedicated to her noble spirit, which celebrated the oneness of humankind, and to the bonds of everlasting friendship between black and Jewish people.”

If you had to guess who this epitaph belonged to, who would you choose?  Lillian Wald? Dorothy Height?

Geri M. Joseph

Geri M. Joseph distinguished herself both as a journalist covering vital stories and as US ambassador to the Netherlands during a diplomatic crisis.

Marie Grunfeld Jastrow

It took until she was eighty-two for Marie Grunfeld Jastrow to find a publisher for her autobiographies, but her two compelling memoirs of coming of age as a Jewish immigrant in New York touched audiences deeply.

Elizabeth Holtzman

The youngest woman ever elected to Congress at age 32, Elizabeth Holtzman focused her political career on human rights.

Libby Holman

Torch singer Libby Holman was known as much for her scandalous personal life and revolutionary activism as for her lush voice.

Beth Bowman Hess

Beth Bowman Hess brought a humanist and feminist sensibility to gerontology by discussing the difficulties the elderly faced not as problems inherent in older people, but as problems in the social order that should be confronted and changed.

Bertha Beitman Herzog

Bertha Beitman Herzog’s leadership of women’s organizations in Cleveland created a safety net for women and children throughout the region.

Lillian Herstein

Lillian Herstein came to labor activism by an unusual route for a woman of her time—not through factory work but through her career as a teacher.

Esther Herrman

Esther Mendels Herrman’s generosity helped create many vital Jewish and secular institutions, from Barnard College to the 92nd Street Y.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Activism." (Viewed on September 1, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/activism>.

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