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June Levine and Irish Feminism

Lawrence Bush
October 13, 2017

June Levine, an Irish journalist and writer who helped to found the Irish Women's Liberation Movement in 1970-71, died at 76 on this date in 2008. Levine wrote two bestselling books, Sisters, a memoir about the feminist movement, and Lyn: A Story of Prostitution, which she co-authored with its subject. Levine had a Catholic mother and Jewish father who had married secretly in a church on Yom Kippur, while the father's family was in synagogue. Baptized as a Catholic, Levine nevertheless went to a Jewish school in Dublin, and in 1947, her entire family converted to Judaism. In 1971, she was one of several feminists who rode the "Contraceptive Train" to Belfast to buy condoms in protest of Ireland's laws banning contraception.

"After her experience of writing Lyn -- the story of a Dublin woman horribly victimised by prostitution -- she became vehemently, even fanatically convinced that prostitution should be banned, and that any man found to be involved with it should be prosecuted, as in Sweden." --Mary Kenny

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.