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Discussion Questions


  1. Who wrote this document? What was his role in the events he describes?
  2. When was this document written? (At the time of the events described? After the events described took place?) Why might when the document was written matter in what we learn from this document?
  3. What experiences does Paul Cowan bring to this event? How do they shape his initial view of the issues?
  4. Who are the picketers? What are they protesting? Why?
  5. What experiences do the picketers bring to this event? How do these experiences shape their view of the issues?
  6. In what ways are Paul Cowan and the picketers the same? In what ways are they different?


  1. How does Paul Cowan's view of the issues change as a result of his experience on this picket line?
  2. Near the end of the document, Paul Cowan says, "I realized that there was a contradiction in the belief she and I had always shared, that all Jews were mandated by history to be more ethical than other people." What do you think the contradiction is that Cowan has discovered? How might you rewrite the phrase "all Jews were mandated by history to be more ethical than other people" to make it more accurately reflect the reality that Paul Cowan has discovered on the picket line?
  3. If, as in this case, none of the parties has power (Jews, Hispanics, and blacks are all portrayed as oppressed), is there a way to resolve the issue? Who else (present or not) might have the power to resolve the issue of competing claims? What is their responsibility?
  4. What other situations or conflicts does this story make you think of? Who has power in those situations? How, if at all, have they been resolved?

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Discussion Questions." (Viewed on January 19, 2018) <>.


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