Community Organizing

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Jewish Disability Awareness Month Logo

Jewish Disability Awareness Month: What you should know

by  Kate Bigam

February is Black History Month. It’s also American Heart Month, International Boost Self-Esteem Month, National Snack Food Month, and Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month. Yes, seriously. But for the Jewish community, this February also marks the 3rd annual Jewish Disability Awareness Month, described as “a unified effort to raise awareness and support efforts to foster inclusion of people with disabilities and their families in Jewish communities worldwide.”

Miriam Friedlander, 1914 - 2009

She was an inspiration to many of us as an activist and someone who challenged the powers that be ... And I think many of us saw her as a role model: There weren't a lot of women in office – she was there and she had a great fighting spirit.

Hilda Silverman, 1938 - 2008

Whether Hilda was sharing her moral outrage, her prodigious memory of historical events, handing out leaflets, or vigiling with Women in Black, she was for me a courageous and passionate teacher and activist.

Dorothy Ray Healey, 1914 - 2006

…Her ability to see the potential in every person and to help translate that potential towards reality – through teaching and shared organizing; through coaxing and prodding towards action; but mostly, through the most respectful and honest listening one could ever encounter – had enormous political ramifications.

Carolyn Goodman, 1915 - 2007

On various occasions Carolyn met with young people, urged them to take on world challenges, ran essay contests for them and celebrated the winners enthusiastically, spoke in different settings about the importance of supporting the next generation and encouraging them to be involved in healing the world.

Shirley Bridge, 1922 - 2008

Whether it was women's rights, political candidates, health care reform, cutting edge or seemingly impossible causes, she championed them and pretty soon, so did everyone else.

Unit 3, Lesson 2 - Growing tensions I: Black-Jewish Relations

Analyze how underlying rifts in the relationship between African Americans and Jews brought these groups into more overt conflict in the late 1960s, with a focus on the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school crisis and a poetry slam activity.

Unit 3, Lesson 4 - Moving Inward: bringing liberation movements into the Jewish community

Act out, through tableaux vivants, the ways Jews took what they had learned from the Civil Rights Movement and other liberation movements and used these insights to change the Jewish community.

Unit 2, Lesson 5 - Community Organizing II: Wednesdays in Mississippi

Encounter a little known story of women collaborating across geographic, racial, and religious boundaries through documentary clips of Wednesdays in Mississippi activists.

Unit 2, Lesson 4 - Community Organizing I: Freedom Summer

Explore the role of community organizing, Jewish values, and moral conviction in the lives of young civil rights activists as you imagine yourself a participant in Mississippi Freedom Summer.

Pauline Newman organizes influential New York rent strike

December 26, 1907

On December 26, 1907, months of organizing work by 16-year-old Pauline Newman culminated in the start of the largest rent strike New York City had

Clara Lemlich sparks "Uprising of the 20,000"

November 22, 1909

“I am one of those who suffers from the abuses described here, and I move that we go on a general strike.” Thus, in Yiddish, 23-year-old Clara Lemlich addressed a crowd of thousands of restless laborers at New York City’s Cooper Union on November 22, 1909.

Bella Abzug convenes National Women's Conference in Houston

November 18, 1977

On November 18, 1977, 20,000 women, men and children gathered in Houston to participate in an unprecedented event, the first federally funded National Women’s Conference.

Women strike for peace

November 1, 1961

On November 1, 1961, Women Strike For Peace (WSP) was inaugurated with a day-long strike by an estimated 50,000 women in 60 cities, all pressing for nuclear disarmament.

"Women Strike for Equality"

August 26, 1970

Ten thousand women marched down New York's Fifth Avenue on August 26, 1970, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote.

Three generations of activist Seaman family mark 10th anniversary of Women's Strike for Equality

August 26, 1980

When women and men paraded down New York's Fifth Avenue on August 26, 1980, to mark the tenth anniversary of Women's Strike for Equality and the sixtieth anniversary of women's right to vote, three

Two Wendys Who Dared

by  Emily

To cap off Women's History Month, we want to recognize two stellar women who were recently honored in Chicago as part of JWA's Women Who Dared project. You may have seen our online exhibition of Women Who Dared, which features interview segments with over 50 pioneering women in Chicago, Boston, Baltimore, and New Orleans.

Uprising of 20,000 (1909)

On November 23, 1909, more than twenty thousand Yiddish-speaking immigrants, mostly young women in their teens and early twenties, launched an eleven-week general strike in New York’s shirtwaist industry. Dubbed the Uprising of the 20,000, it was the largest strike by women to date in American history.

Sophie A. Udin

An intelligent, determined, career woman, Sophie A. Udin was a feminist leader and activist who sought equality between the sexes, including equal pay for equal work and equal representation for women.

Rose Pastor Stokes

In her autobiography as in her life, Stokes fused American values of self-improvement with immigrant and socialist ideals of community.

Spirituality in the United States

Spirituality can be defined as life lived in the presence of God. It embraces not only traditional and formal modes of religious expression, but also more informal individual and communal efforts to remain mindful of the sacred in all aspects of experience.

Flora Langerman Spiegelberg

A native of America, yet educated in Europe, Spiegelberg was a nineteenth-century settler of New Mexico and a twentieth-century progressive reformer in New York City.

Rosa Sonneschein

By founding and editing the American Jewess, Rosa Sonneschein not only provided support and space for the emerging national network of Jewish clubwomen and created a forum in which to publicize her then unconventional views on Zionism, but also pioneered a professional role in journalism for American Jewish women.

Socialism in the United States

Disproportionate numbers of Jewish immigrant women in America were associated with socialism in the first decades of the twentieth century. Their radicalism appears to have grown out of the same sources as male radicalism—the changes experienced by the Jewish community in late nineteenth-century Europe and America, including proletarianization and the secularization of Jewish religious values. But Jewish working women’s radical consciousness and their militant collective action in America emerged in the face of extraordinary obstacles.

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