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 collecting the history of Jewish women in the Jewish Women’s Archive, Gail Twersky Reimer ensured that anyone with an internet connection could get a more accurate, inclusive story of the Jewish community.
Growing up in a small town near Moscow, Nadia Fradkova didn’t learn of her Judaism until faced with taunting by her peers. After the Soviet Union collapsed and restrictions on emigration ended, she settled in Israel for a few years before making her way to Boston.
Ronne Friedman served as a rabbi at Temple Israel of Boston for more than thirty years. In the 1980s, he made several trips to the former Soviet Union and continued his engagement with the movement for Soviet Jewry after his return to Boston.
After facing significant challenges as a Jewish woman scientist in the Soviet Union, Janna Kaplan tried to emigrate, but was denied an exit visa. Her persistence enabled her to eventually leave the country and settle in the United States.
Rabbi Bernard Mehlman is the senior scholar at Temple Israel of Boston. In the 1980s, he made several trips to the Soviet Union and helped facilitate the emigration of several high-profile refuseniks in the Boston area.