Bunny’s passion for changing the field of education’s treatment of women was spurred by her own experience in academia. In 1969, after earning a doctorate at the University of Maryland, she hoped to secure one of seven open teaching positions in her department at that university. When she learned that she had not been considered for any of them, she asked a male colleague why. His reply was, “Let’s face it. You come on too strong for a woman.” For Bunny, those were fighting words, and battling discrimination in educational institutions became her lifelong passion.
Every inflection point in Rachel’s life became a source of mission and activism: as half of a young intermarried couple in the 1970s, she pushed for inclusivity in the Jewish community… When she became Jewish and then a rabbi (she was ordained in 1989 by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion), she used her dual perspective as both outsider and insider to sense what was needed in the Jewish world.
By reflecting on her life in the context of her family of origin, the community of her childhood, and the historical framework of her time, Kathy deepened our knowledge and understanding of Kathy and the loneliness and losses that shaped her. She also expanded the data that form the stuff of history—shedding new light on growing up female, American and Jewish in small town America, the immigrant experience, assimilation and anti-Semitism, and Jewish women’s religious needs and search for meaning.
Enid Shapiro lived tikkun olam. She was an early feminist, a devoted Jew, an unceasing learner, and she made a difference in countless people’s lives through her devotion to repair the world and her commitment to kindness and care that came from a place of profound integrity.
It had all the elements of a Barbara Brenner project: edgy humor, indignation, broad appeal, and an educational component that emphasized how profiteering was taking hold of the breast cancer advocacy movement.
Rochie lived with a spirit that was equal parts intensity and carefree exuberance. In the last few years of her life, when her cancer returned, she talked about “the strength that comes with living with a sharpened sense of time.”