In the late 1960s, I began a journey “out of the patriarchy” towards territory unknown. Working within the context of a radical feminist collective, we identified ourselves as "radical feminist warriors/cultural revolutionaries." The radical-feminist perspective embraced an essentialist ideology, contending that there is an essential – albeit superior – nature to women and that our wisdom and intelligence incorporated and valued intuition. In our radical-feminist collective, we lived and worked together, and our rejection of private property was manifested by our “collective” closet – while we each had our own boots and sneakers, all clothing (which amounted to t-shirts, jeans, and flannel shirts) was purchased in a pre-determined average size and shared.
In the mid-70s, the collective moved to Boston to study women's history. After becoming greatly influenced by Jung, Greek mythology, and the writings of 19th century radical feminists, we wanted to facilitate a community conversation/exploration on the issues and concepts of women's expressions of spirit. In April 1976 in Boston, we organized and produced the first national women's spirituality conference, entitled “Through the Looking Glass: A Gynergenetic Experience”; approximately 1500 women from North America participated. Resource women, ranging from theologians and high priestesses to radical psychologists, were brought in from across the country to share their knowledge and act as workshop facilitators. The conference served as a catalyst for popularizing women's spirituality throughout the women's movement. Circles of women exploring women's ways of knowing proliferated across the country.
Gloria Z. Greenfield has served as director of the Adult Learning Collaborative: A Program of Combined Jewish Philanthropies and Hebrew College since 2001. One of the key programs in the Collaborative is the Jewish Women's Studies initiative, which brings the leading Jewish feminist scholars from North America, Europe, and Israel to Boston. Greenfield received her B.A. in Communications, with a minor in Women's Studies, from the State University of New York at Oswego in 1974. She also did graduate work in the History of Women in the U.S. at Goddard-Cambridge Graduate Program in Social Change, and in Jewish Studies at Hebrew College. During her undergraduate tenure, Gloria founded the Oswego Women's Center, Women for a New World, Alliance of Women Against Repressive Education at SUNY, We Are the Women Your Fathers Warned You Against, and the Red Rag Regime. In April 1976, she founded Persephone Press, a leading radical feminist book publishing company, which she ran until May 1983. In 1980, Greenfield was cited as a Ms. magazine “Woman to Watch” in the 80s. Other honors include the Keter Torah award of the Bureau of Jewish Education for her outstanding contribution to adult Jewish education (2005).