Back in the day (as we now say) when I was an undergraduate at a college that had been educating the country’s elite—all men, of course—for almost 350 years, the first ripples of Second Wave feminism were stirring things up outside the ivy covered walls. Inside, in a classroom filled entirely with women, an untenured (but well-published) female Senior Lecturer was teaching the institution’s first course on women’s history.
For the past year, I’ve enjoyed paying regular visits to MAKERS.com, a growing online collection of video interviews with an impressive array of women who have made a mark on the last half century of American history.
This weekend I was lucky enough to see two talented Jewish women make memorable art from their family stories. On Friday night, I went to Club Passim, the legendary folk venue in Harvard Square, to hear one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Lucy Kaplansky. Her set mixed old favorites with songs from her new CD, “Reunion.” The title track tells the story of two family reunions. The first in 1971, when she was 11, began at her grandmother’s bakery and continued at a fancy restaurant. The second “40 years on,” moved her to write “Here we are together/our fathers gone/ just daughters and sons.”
Ten years after the election that resulted in a doubling of the number of women in Congress, the old record of 90 women was broken on Tuesday. Five newcomers will join 15 returning female senators — including two Jewish women from California — for an all-time high of 20, and there will be at least 77 women in the House (a few races are still undecided) when the 113th Congress convenes in January.