Jewish Participation Document Study

Vicki Gabriner Oral History Excerpt, Jewish Participation in the Civil Rights Movement

…One of the strong things I grew up with as a kid was some sense of fighting for social justice, and without realizing it, that that was rooted somehow in Jewish tradition. It was never specifically identified to me as such, and I don’t even know that that was what was driving people. But as I look back on it now, I know that that was part of that Jewish secular tradition of social justice.

Vicki Gabriner, oral history interview conducted by Judith Rosenbaum for the Jewish Women's Archive on July 20, 2000.

Heather Booth statement excerpt on social values and Jewish tradition

I grew up in a family that had good social values, reflected in our Jewish heritage, culture, and history. When I was growing up, at one point I wanted to be a rabbi, but was told (at that time) women couldn’t be rabbis. I went to Israel when I graduated from high school in 1963, and the experience of Yad Vashem (the Holocaust museum) had a transforming effect on me: I promised myself that in the face of injustice I would struggle for justice.

Heather Booth, statement for the Jewish Women's Archive's online exhibition Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution (, 2005.

Discussion Questions

  1. What values or experiences do Vicki Gabriner and Heather Booth identify as influencing them?
  2. Where/how did they learn these values?
  3. Where did they have these experiences?
  4. What are some things you have learned within your family that shape the way you see the world and/or act in the world?
  5. Do you think Vicki Gabriner and Heather Booth were conscious of their motivations at the time? Do you think it matters if you know why you're doing something to help others or just that you do it? Why?
  6. Now that you've read these documents, would you change your 4 corner choice? Why or why not?

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Participation Document Study." (Viewed on April 21, 2021) <>.


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