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Educators Explore Jewish Role in Civil Rights and Labor Movements in Summer Institute

Contact: Deborah Fineblum Raub


In a year that saw Occupy Wall Street and similar protests around the globe, 25 educators from 14 states and the District of Columbia gathered in suburban Boston for four days of professional development focused on the role of Jews in in two earlier movements for social justice—Civil Rights and Labor.

From July 22-26, seminars, experiential workshops, hands-on computer sessions, and evening programs introduced participants to Living the Legacy, a rich collection of teachable material on the role of Jews in the Civil Rights and Labor Movements.

“No matter how they observed and related to their Judaism, these activists knew they were expected to fight for what was right and stand up for the disenfranchised,” said Dr. Debra Schultz, author of Going South: Jewish Women in the Civil Rights Movement. “There’s something very Jewish about what they did.”

Among Institute highlights were presentations by Dr. Schultz; Dartmouth history professor Annelise Orleck, author of Common Sense and a Little Fire: Women and Working Class Politics in the United States; Rabbi Jill Jacobs, director of Rabbis for Human Rights and author of There Shall Be No Needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law and Tradition; and an oral history interview with Marilyn Sneiderman, longtime labor leader who is now Executive Director of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. For part of every day, participants worked in small groups to develop plans for using Living the Legacy in a wide range of educational settings.

"You get energized and your mind starts spinning,” said Suzin Glickman of Congregation Beth-El in Bethesda, MD. “You start thinking, ‘I know exactly which class I can use this for and I know exactly which class I can use that for.”

“Each year participants thank us for providing them with stories of Jewish commitment and courage that their students can relate to, as well as the tools and training that make their transmission of these stories exciting and engaging,” says JWA Executive Director Gail Reimer. "These educators are especially aware of the challenges our nation is facing, and especially eager to use the lessons of Living the Legacy to empower their students to claim their own roles as agents of social change."

The Jewish Women’s Archive Institute for Educators is made possible by a grant from the Dorot Foundation.

For more on the Institute, go to the JWA website, read JWA’s blog, and look at photographs on Flickr.

About the Jewish Women’s Archive

The Jewish Women’s Archive was founded in l995 to respond to the lack of information about and understanding of the contributions of American Jewish women. Since then, JWA has amassed the world’s most extensive online collection of material on American Jewish women, all of which can be accessed for free by anyone with an Internet connection. JWA’s innovative website, jwa.org, which receives over 1.2 million visits a year, is a destination for people seeking knowledge, a sense of connection and community, and a way to affirm and enhance the legacy of American Jewish women. Recent additions include MyBatMitzvahStory.org, an interactive website designed to make the coming of age experience more personally meaningful for Jewish girls.

For further information about the Jewish Women’s Archive, call 617-232-2258 or visit jwa.org.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Educators Explore Jewish Role in Civil Rights and Labor Movements in Summer Institute ." (Viewed on March 23, 2019) <https://jwa.org/news/2012/120730-educators-explore-jewish-role-in-civil-rights-and-labor-movements-in-summer-institute>.


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