In the past half-century, feminism has foundationally altered the possibilities for the ways we might organize ourselves in our society, our politics, and our relations. Jewish feminists have similarly transformed Jewish life and politics in the U.S. This is a photograph of my family of choice at our home in the Bronx. We are an adoptive, multi-racial, two mom family with a mix of Jews birthed, raised, and by choice. One key feminist insight this artifact expresses is the feminist notion that the personal is political. Jewish feminists are queering our worlds: re-gender-ing, re-race-ing, and re-sex-ing the archetypal European-Jewish male icon of modern U.S. Jewish life.
I also chose this artifact because it expresses the core political orientation of my Jewish identity. In this photo, my partner – rabbi and professor – Dawn Rose, our children Paris Mayan and Toni Louise Brettschneider/Rose, and I stand on our terrace with a banner. The banner was the standard issue of United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), the organizers of the march protesting the Republican National Convention in New York City, August 29, 2004. UFPJ was co-founded by Leslie Cagan, a radical Jewish lesbian and partner to Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, a Jewish lesbian feminist writer and activist. Our family marched with the Jewish contingent organized by Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and the Workmen’s Circle.
Marla Brettschneider is a Political Philosopher with a joint appointment in Political Science and Women’s Studies at the University of New Hampshire, where she also coordinates the Queer Studies program. Her books include: the forthcoming Queer Jews; Multiracial Families; Democratic Theorizing From the Margins; Cornerstones of Peace: Jewish Identity Politics and Democratic Theory; and The Narrow Bridge: Jewish views on Multiculturalism with a forward by Cornel West and winner of the Gustavus Meyers Human Rights Award. She has edited special “Jewish diversity” editions of journals such as: Race, Gender, and Class; The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion; and Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies and Gender Issues. Among her many involvements as a political activist, in the 1980s she served in Israel as Coordinator for the student activist group the Progressive Zionist Caucus, and from 2002 to 2004, as Executive Director of Jews For Racial and Economic Justice.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Marla Brettschneider." (Viewed on May 22, 2019) <https://jwa.org/feminism/brettschneider-marla>.