Podcast / On The Nose
On the Nose is our biweekly podcast. The editorial staff discusses the politics, culture, and questions that animate today’s Jewish left.
Mom Save America
Duration
0:00 / 33:37
Published
September 15, 2022

On this episode, Jewish Currents Editor-in-Chief Arielle Angel talks with her mother, Jeri Cohen, co-founder of the Women’s Emergency Network, the first abortion fund in South Florida. Cohen, who spent 28 years as a judge in child abuse and dependency court, retired two years ago and has since gotten back into the struggle for reproductive justice. But the movement has changed since the peak of her involvement in the ’70s and ’80s, rooting itself in different political frameworks and organizing cultures, and she now finds herself a fish out of water—a committed liberal on the cusp of 70, learning the mores of the contemporary left. Cohen discusses the process of reacquainting herself with the struggle that defined her young adulthood and which has subsequently transformed.

If you liked this podcast, please donate to the Women’s Emergency Network, an abortion fund serving women in South Florida.


Thanks to Jesse Brenneman for producing and to Nathan
Salsburg for the use of his song “VIII (All That Were Calculated Have
Passed).”


Transcript

Arielle Angel: Did you read the thing I sent you?

Jeri Cohen: I couldn’t, it wouldn’t let me open it. It said I had to get permission.

AA: Okay, fix your thing because it’s a little close now.

JC: How’s this?

AA: I think that’s better. Okay. Are you in a quiet place?

AA: Alright, so then I’m gonna start.

JC: You don’t show my photo, right?

AA: No, no, no, no.

JC: Right. Okay, go ahead.

AA: Hello, and welcome back to On the Nose. I’m your host, Arielle Angel, I’m the editor-in-chief of Jewish Currents. Today, we have a very special guest, and that is my mom. Mom, do you want to introduce yourself?

JC: Well, I’m Arielle’s mother, Jeri Cohen, and I’m thrilled to be here. I’m thrilled that she thought I was worthy enough to appear. So thank you, Arielle, that makes me feel good.

AA: I asked my mom on this podcast today because I think she has a story that, in some ways, otherwise won’t be told, and also that I don’t see too many people in her position doing what she’s doing right now. My mom has been a abortion rights activist for, I don’t know, 40 years?

JC: Well, let’s see. I sort of started with this stuff in college and I started college in 1970. But I’d say really heavily into abortion politics since the late ’80s.

AA: She started her abortion fund, Women’s Emergency Network, in–what year was that, Mom?

JC: 1989.

AA: 1989. And it’s still in operation today in South Florida, in Miami, where she lives. And since Dobbs, and the fall of Roe, and my mom’s retirement–my mom was a sitting judge for about 25 years.

JC: Twenty-eight.

AA: Twenty-eight. And since then, she’s been getting very involved in repro justice, in the repro justice movement in Florida, where there is a 15-week ban in effect and where they may have more restrictions coming down the pike. And getting back involved in activism in a movement that has changed a lot, I think, since the late ’80s–certainly since the ’70s–I wanted to talk a little bit about what it’s like to be who you are, entering these young, radical spaces at 67.

JC: I’m going to be 69.

AA: What!

JC: Yeah. I’m sorry to let you know, Arielle, but I’m not as young as you think I am.

AA: Uh huh. Eventually, I want to talk about the National Network of Abortion Funds conference that you went to recently in Chicago. But first, I thought we would start by just talking a little bit about the abortion rights activism that you did and what that looked like for you in the beginning.

JC: I grew up in the late ’60s, at a time when there was a lot of change going on. Everything was becoming very, very–and I use the word lovingly–radicalized, but really the world was changing. You know, it was going from a very Victorian, postwar environment, to an environment where people really wanted to express themselves in different ways. And we were experimenting. I mean, myself and all my girlfriends, we were very sexually active, you know, it was a free love, drugs, sex, and rock-and-roll kind of environment. We were growing up in Miami Dade County, an area where there was a lot of that going on. And we were getting pregnant. I would say that probably 50% of my girlfriends at the time got pregnant.

AA: In high school, you mean?

JC: This was in high school, yes. And abortion was illegal. There were a few states where you could go. I believe you could go to Puerto Rico. I’m not sure when it became legal in California, but that was far. You know, we were in Miami. And it did not become legal in New York until 1970. So, one by one, my girlfriends would leave and come back nine months later. Either they’d go to what we called an unwed mothers environment–it could be a relative, it could be a residential facility–and then they’d return. Very few people in our socio-economic environment kept a baby. Or they would get an illegal abortion, or they traveled to England or Puerto Rico. And it was very hush hush, even among ourselves, we didn’t talk about it. It was also very difficult to get birth control. You know, the pill was sort of a new thing, we use diaphragms sporadically, but it was very difficult to get a doctor to give you birth control.

AA: What about condoms? Did you ever consider those?

JC: You know, people used them, but not a lot. The guys used to pull out, you know, that’s what we did. And using that method, I got pregnant. I guess I was 16 or 17, but I was college bound. And when I got pregnant, I was just terrified. You can’t imagine the dread of having to go, at the time, to a parent and say, “I’m pregnant. I don’t want to have a baby. What am I going to do?” And it took me several weeks to get up the nerve, I finally got the nerve up to tell my mother and she asked me if I wanted to have the baby. She said she would raise it. I said, “Absolutely not.” Well, we then went to a gynecologist, and he said, “Well, let me shop around and see what we can do.”

And it just so happened that it had become legal in New York, in and around that time, and we flew to New York. And I was privileged enough to be able to have a mother who took me and have the means, the financial means, to go. There was no counseling at that clinic, you weren’t told that you were going to bleed afterwards. You could get anaesthetic or not. It was a filthy, dirty clinic. It was in Queens, on top of a telephone company. We had the procedure, there was nobody in the recovery room; in fact, my mother tells the story that she was holding women up while they vomited, post anesthetic. And we left and came home. And that was the end of it, and nobody ever talked about it again.

So I really didn’t think much about it. You know, I was on the college campuses, and we were marching and advocating: marching against the war, advocating for abortion. And then in 1973, Roe came down and the whole world changed. I mean, the whole world just changed. That was no longer an issue. And it really didn’t become an issue for me until the late ’80s, when I moved back to Miami and our governor at the time, Governor Martinez, he wanted to restrict abortion. And I got involved with a coalition of women. And you may remember this Arielle.

AA: Yeah, I remember going to marches and stuff. Yeah.

JC: We pulled a coalition of women together, and we leased two airplanes and we flew to Tallahassee. And that was the largest demonstration Tallahassee had ever seen. There were thousands of women there. This was in 1988, 1989. And we were able to stop the abortion restrictions. But of course, we had a very different legislature. Florida was not the state it is today. When I got home, I realized that even though we had stopped the special legislation, there were thousands of women who still could not get an abortion because they couldn’t pay for it. Of course, by this time, you know, the Hyde Amendment had been in effect for a long time, and that basically said Medicare did not have to pay for abortion and left it up to the states. Now New York has always paid for it through Medicaid, but most states don’t, and Florida certainly didn’t. And I thought back to the time that I was able to travel, and I thought we need a fund for women who can’t afford it. Because don’t forget, back then, nobody talked about reproductive justice, right? Nobody talked about liberation. It was pro-choice.

AA: I mean, let me ask you a provocative question. I mean, was nobody talking about it, or was nobody talking about it in your circles?

JC: You know, I think it’s a little bit of both. But I can tell you that that wasn’t the nomenclature. And I’m sure that women of color, and minorities, and people that did not have those resources were talking about it. But it wasn’t a predominant voice. You didn’t hear it, you know, it was still very much a white woman’s movement at that time. And pro-choice: you were either pro-choice or you weren’t.

AA: At this demonstration, what was the makeup of the demonstration? Who spoke at it? Were there people talking about their experience in terms of access? Or this was just sort of like a–

JC: I can’t remember, but I can tell you that the majority of individuals marching were white. And this is back in 1988, 1989. There must have been some talk about it. I know that NARAL was there. I spoke at one of their vigils and there must have been some discussion. We were very focused at that time on the right to privacy. I can tell you we were not making connections to any kind of intersectionality, at leaves people in my sphere. And I started a fund and it grew. You know, we had a lot of liberal legislators at the time, the community was ripe for it, the activists in town were very interested in it.

AA: Were there other funds in South Florida at the time?

JC: There was no other fund yet. Now there’s two others as well, they’re smaller, but they’re there, and there’s one in Tampa. But this was sort of the first fund in Florida. And Lynn Meyer was my co-founder. We did it together, she put a lot of the work in as well. And we built it through donations, through auctions, and we started building a relationship with the clinics, and helping women.

Now I have to tell you, this is a very, very interesting thing: I figured that the National Organization of Women, who we were working with on this march, I just figured they’d be a natural ally. And ultimately, they became one. But initially, they were against the fund, because they felt that private individuals should not be doing what the government should be doing. And if you started a fund you give the government a pass. So don’t do it, to force the government to do it. And of course, I disagreed with that premise. I didn’t disagree that the government should be doing it, of course the government and insurance should be paying for it. But I didn’t feel it was fair to hold women that needed access hostage to that idealistic philosophy.

AA: This is a very common argument in debates about mutual aid, and I think one that we’re gonna see again as people are going to be expected, more and more, to fund the ability for women to get abortions. I mean women and other people who get abortions. I think the question has occurred to a lot of people. I mean, how long are we going to be able to get people abortions, just with our resources? It’s not unlimited, and the longer that this goes on, the more abortion funds are drained unless they are consistently replenished over time. And, you know, it’s just not clear whether those resources are out there. I agree with you that we shouldn’t hold women hostage in this situation. And also, it matters to be able to put the necessary pressure on the government, you can’t let that pressure up.

JC: Right, and I think that that you have to do both. But when I think of all of the thousands of women that we’ve helped to date...And all the other funds across the country, because now a lot of these funds are very, very well funded. There’s a fund in Florida that’s extremely well funded. And we can pretty much cover the expenses now, not just for abortion care, but for travel, and lodging, and child care, etc.

AA: Do you think that’s sustainable?

JC: Well, that’s the thing: It’s a constant struggle to raise money. We got a good influx of money right after the Dobbs decision. We’re bracing ourselves for a complete ban in Florida. DeSantis hasn’t said anything yet, but I think after the November election and the midterms, he probably will. Our legislature will meet in February, March, and I’m not hopeful because we have a very lopsided legislature.

AA: I also read that Florida has one of the highest abortion rates in the country.

JC: That’s probably true, and we have very few counties that offer it. We have not only the 15-week ban, but you have to have a sonogram, there’s a 24-hour waiting period, and there’s minor notification and consent. So there are a lot of restrictions.

AA: So I wanted to skip forward now, to your kind of reinvolvement in this movement since your retirement a couple of years ago. It’s a different world, right?

JC: Oh,boy, it really is.

AA: I wonder if you could recreate– because you called me last weekend to tell me about this conference you were at. So tell me about the conference, and also tell me what it’s like to be you at that conference.

JC: I guess the first thing, from a selfish perspective, is that it reminds me how old I am, which I don’t like to think about all the time but I guess it beats the alternative. So I retired, it’ll be two years in October, and I got back on the board of the Women’s Emergency Network. And that’s been an adjustment as well. You know, I’m fighting with a lot of the women on my board; fighting with them for a more diverse board, and I want them to get out of this pro-choice mindset and get more into a reproductive justice lens.

AA: So what does that mean? Tell me what that means?

JC: Well, it’s not just about can you get an abortion, but can you make a decision whether or not to raise a child? Do you have the resources to do that? Can you raise those children in an environment that’s safe and healthy? There’s just so many issues that play into that. Do you have access to good reproductive health care? Can you give birth to a child without being a statistic? You know, as minority women sometimes are. And do you have access to doulas? All of the things that go in to a holistic integrated environment. Can we help women travel? Can we get rid of the judgmental quality that I think our intake forms have with the clinics? Honestly, we need to bring in on our board a more diverse, younger group of people. Because when I went to this meeting in Chicago, I would say that other than one other woman who was in her 50s–early 50s–I was the oldest person there by probably 25, 30 years. People look different than me. They spoke differently than me.

AA: So tell me about that.

JC: First of all, this is not a judgmental thing.

AA: It’s okay, Mom.

JC: No, these women were just so right on and so smart. I mean, I was just so impressed with the organization they had, et cetera. And they were also, let me say, when I said something and they pushed back against me, they did it in a very, very inclusive, polite way. It’s just the initial thing. You have to understand. I’m used to going to judicial conferences. Everybody’s in business casual, you know. At this conference, people are in short shorts, crop tops, and a lot of tattoos.

AA: I’m just going to share with the audience that my mom is like a classic JAP.

JC: Well, I wouldn’t say that because you know, I’ve been in the trenches for 28 years.

AA: I know, but in terms of your visual appearance.

JC: Oh, the way that I look. Right, but I wouldn’t go beyond that. It just you’re asking me what the difference in the conference is.

AA: I am, but I’m also asking about like the aesthetic, because I think that these things matter, Mom. Because the reason I wanted to talk to you about this is because I think there’s this question about how older liberals, in particular, get back involved in a movement that they may have been involved with, how they stay involved in these movements. I think that it’s very important for there to be a left-liberal coalition that actually radicalizes liberals. And I think that the question of you going back into these movements is also a question about whether that’s really even possible. I mean, when you went to this conference, you’re describing also an experience of walking into a room where you’re immediately kind of aesthetically different and like, apart from that. And that is a fact of what it would be like for liberals to enter these spaces, as opposed to leftists entering liberal spaces, which is the more common kind of thing.

JC: Right. Well, I can’t really imagine any of my friends–who were also pretty activist, right–going into these spaces. And actually, once I got, you know, walked in after the first day, I was completely fine. But I was very careful about what I said and how I said it, like I was on eggshells.

AA: Tell me about that.

JC: Well, because there’s this whole feeling out there, you know, with the progressive left, among everybody, that if you say something and it’s not politically correct you could get yourself in trouble. I wanted them to embrace me. I just wanted to be very careful about what I said, because I realized that I was in a very different environment than what I’m used to.

AA: What struck you just in terms of the environment?

JC: Everybody starts the meeting at 10:00 because people like to sleep late. I’m used to going to meetings where you’re in your seat by 7:30, you know? And then they have stress balls, because people said they felt stressed, or anxiety or whatever. They had very long breaks, and rooms like a wellness room, a room for chilling.

AA: Like taking care of people’s mental health.

JC: Yeah, I’m just not used to that. And everybody used the word “fuck” very freely, like you would never see that at a conference. I don’t mind that because I use it myself.

AA: Yeah Mom, you curse a lot.

JC: I do, I do. But not at meetings. Which, I don’t care. I actually really liked that. And then there were t-shirts that said things like, “Mom’s who get stoned, or use drugs, get the job done.” You know, things like that. It’s just a different kind of environment. Even when I was much younger, the environments–the conference environments that I attended–were just much more conservative. And nobody cared how you felt, like if somebody wanted to confront you or disagree with you, there was always a caveat, like this is coming from a place of love. Or, you know, and then if they confronted me, they would thank me for accepting it. You know, I felt like saying, “Guys, I’ve been in a criminal and dependency court for 28 years, there is nothing you could say to me that’s gonna ruffle my feathers.” Like, it’s just a different way of being, and it’s a very nurturing way of being, in many ways. But it’s not what I’m used to.

AA: I mean, did you end up appreciating it? Or were you still feeling kind of–

JC: Yes! You know, I did appreciate it, but I feel that it may be going a little too far. Everybody’s worried about somebody getting their feathers ruffled.

AA: Right, you don’t like safe spaces, or trigger warnings, or that kind of thing?

JC: No, I think that in some instances trigger warnings are important. I don’t like banning people on campus from speaking. I’m a pretty solid First Amendment person. I don’t want to alienate your audience–see, I’m very careful about what I’m saying.

AA: Why don’t you just say what you’re gonna say?

JC: Okay. I think that some of what happens today–like people are human, they make mistakes, they say things. And I’ve seen some professors that I know be completely ousted for saying things that they can apologize for. There’s no apology, and that’s something that I do object to.

AA: So tell me about some of the language stuff, because you said that often you were confused.

JC: It didn’t happen a lot, but it happened a few times. One funny thing is when we came in, everybody was using “y’all,” and I thought, “Oh, this must be a Southern group.”

AA: Well, you know why they’re saying that though, Mom?

JC: Why?

AA: Because you don’t say “you guys” anymore, because “you guys” itself is gendered. And so instead of saying “you all,” which is the kind of gender neutral way of saying “you guys,” they say “y’all.”

JC: Okay, well see, I didn’t know that. You just taught me something. But I’m telling you, I thought they were Southern.

AA: Yeah, I mean, I think you’ve been actually–I know that, initially, there were some feelings that you had about not centering the word woman, for example.

JC: Hey, I’m putting my pronouns up.

AA: Uh huh.

JC: You know, and I had to look up like, she/they.

AA: Uh huh.

JC: I’m fine with it. You know, I’m on another board where, at the beginning of each meeting, people talk about, you know, the native lands that are being inhabited.

AA: The acknowledgement.

JC: The acknowledgement, yeah. So in the beginning, it’s not that I was uncomfortable with it, but it was new. But now, it’s just... I’m used to it.

AA: I know, you have tremendous respect for the women, and nonbinary, and trans people who do this work.

JC: Yeah, I do.

AA: But you’re also coming from a really different position. I mean, like, you were in the criminal justice system, you were a prosecutor. I mean, like, you’re what most of them would call a cop, you know. And there is a way in which the new situation around Roe is going to create a lot of carceral opportunities for people seeking abortion care.

JC: That’s true.

AA: People are going to come into the justice system in a different kind of way than they were before. And you are very much an insider person; it has always been your way to work inside the system.

JC: Correct.

AA: You were always looking for diversionary programs, getting people out of prisons, trying to work on the family in a social work sense, instead of punitive, carceral solution sense. So you did a lot of really good work within the system, but within the system nonetheless. And I think like, I think I personally saw a change in you from the beginning of your career to the end, on some level. Like I think you became actually less trusting of police officers the longer you were in that role. I think you were a lot more trusting in the beginning, from my experience.

JC: That’s correct.

AA: I mean, I think you have a general faith in the system. But I think that, in some ways, eroded over time in a different kind of way.

JC: Yeah, I think that’s fair. Yeah.

AA: So I mean, I’m curious about what it would take to bring liberals like yourself–to get, for example, friends of yours who were involved in the movement when they were younger–back involved financially, in terms of not just their resources, also their time, also their political capital. I mean, you have a lot of powerful friends in your network. What what do you think it would take to get those people back in the movement?

JC: Okay, well, most of my friends give financially to abortion funds.

AA: Just out of curiosity, do you think that they’re giving like to NARAL?

JC: I think that they’re giving to my fund. They may be giving to NARAL, but more to my fund. I know when DeSantis first came up with the 15-week ban, I went with all young women–there were some older women, but mostly young women–to Tallahassee to protest. Several of my friends came, but a lot of them funded the trip for other women that couldn’t afford it. So they are interested financially. I can tell you that most of them, though, really don’t want to come out and demonstrate. They don’t want to do the activist stuff. You know, at this point in their life, they’re in their 70s, they feel like they fought this fight. They’re willing to do poll watcher work, they’re willing to give money to pro-choice candidates, they’re willing to maybe come to an event to raise money, but they’re not willing to get out there and do the activist stuff. And I think that it’s because they’re just tired. You know, they’re older. And I think that they just don’t feel connected to the progressive movement. But they are willing to give money, and that’s important.

AA: No, that’s very important. I mean, that’s arguably, maybe that’s their role in the movement. But I do sort of also wonder, because these are people who, if they don’t have it now because they’re too old, they are connected to institutional power.

JC: What would you envision for them?

AA: Well, I don’t know. I really don’t know. What I do know is that it is partially about money, but it’s also about having people in inside positions, both like in political positions and in institutions, that are sympathetic to you. And a lot of the people who are in those positions are liberals. And I think a lot of those liberals, because of their sort of belief in the system, and their sense that it’ll sort of take care of itself or won’t go too far off the rails, are averse to more radical solutions.

JC: Yeah, Arielle, these people–these liberals, as you say–are not going to get involved in any kind of radical solutions. I think that there are women like me who are going to stay in this fight, no matter what. These are the hardcore, you know, these are women that have been in this struggle their whole lives. They will adjust to the younger part of the movement, they will shift to a reproductive justice reproductive liberation lens, even though they may not speak the language. And they will stay in this movement. And there are groups of those women all over the country.

JC: The vast majority, though, of women in my age category, they’re not going to get involved in this movement. They don’t want to make that shift. They’re not comfortable. But they’re going to continue to give financially. I can tell you one thing. I raised a lot of money for this march to Tallahassee; it was not well organized. And there was a promise made that the women that gave $1,000 or more would get a thank you, they would get their name publicized–I know that’s not why you should give. I understand that. But that’s just the reality–there’s got to be follow up. Otherwise, you lose people. And I think that that’s something that some of the younger people could learn from us.

AA: I hear what you’re saying. I mean, it’s a very basic thing to thank your donors, or to make your donors feel included. And if their role in this movement is just a financial role, then at least to honor that in some kind of way. But I do think that there’s a question about how do you make sure that you don’t end up back in a situation where those women and their sensibilities are driving some of the agenda, or become a condition of the funding, or whatever. But it sounds like you think that that’s not really the case, that they’re going to give no matter what.

JC: Yes, they are, because they believe in this. You know, most of these women remember a time before Roe v. Wade. A lot of them have had illegal abortions. They remember the terror and what it was like.

AA: I just found out that my great-grandmother had an illegal abortion. I never knew that.

JC:

Whose mother was that?

AA:

Your grandmother. During the Depression. Bubbe told me that.

JC: Oh, you know what? You just told me something I didn’t know. See, that’s, oh, that’s very interesting.

AA: Apparently. She told Bubbe that.

JC: Oh. So I think that, you know, they’re not going to drop out of the movement. And they will go to a demonstration, like, you know, they’ll go to Washington and march. Are they going to do something more radical than that? No. The other part of this is, if you asked 100 of them if they understand that the movement has transitioned into reproductive justice or reproductive liberation, they would not be able to tell you what that is.

AA: Yeah. I mean, I guess the real question is: Are you afraid of them being turned off, for example, by not using the word women, for example?

JC: Well, no. No.

AA: Okay. Well, that’s good news.

JC: No, I don’t think that would turn them off. Now, I know on my board there’s a little resistance–not to the diversity, but to the fact that the movement has transitioned and they need to get off the board and make room for a more diverse board. And I put myself in that category. I think that there’s some resistance to that. But you know, I think that’s kind of normal. And that’s why I talk about a gradual transition, a gradual bringing them around, so that people leave your board feeling that what they’ve done is really meaningful and appreciated. I think that’s really important. But I also don’t think they want to be in a meeting where they feel they have to watch what they say.

AA: Yeah. I mean, I guess my last question is sort of like, when you talk about being afraid to speak in these meetings or whatever: Isn’t part of being nervous, a little bit, also recognizing that you’re in a world that you have to learn about? I mean, I’ve watched you, in the last couple years, come to an understanding of the feminism that you lived through, and were part of, as a white feminism.

JC: That’s correct.

AA: You know, and recognizing that, essentially, you guys were getting to a point where you were having it all, so that usually a woman of color can clean the house, and et cetera.

JC: Well, I don’t know if I put it like that. But we did look at it from a place of privilege, right?

AA: Yeah. And so I’m just wondering, like, do you feel like you’re in a learning process? Like, how do you feel right now, to be in that? What does it mean to be thrust back into that? Well, I think that’s a good place to stop.

JC: Well, I think it is a learning process. And I think that anything that you do that’s new to you makes you nervous. And I think being uncomfortable is a good thing, because it forces you to examine your beliefs, what’s normative for you, and to make adjustments. I felt uncomfortable in situations my whole life, and I’ve learned because of that. And I think that it also instills a degree of humility. I’m coming in there as a judge, where everybody my whole career sort of kowtowed, and now I’m with all these young women, and I’m just me, you know, feeling uncomfortable and being forced to learn something new. And I think that that’s a good thing. I think it’s a very humbling experience. And those are good experiences.

JC: Okay.

AA: Thanks, Mom, for joining us. This has been another episode of On the Nose. If you liked it, share it and leave us a review. As always, subscribe to Jewish Currents at JewishCurrents.org. See you next time.

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Oct 13 2022
Gaza Under Blockade (55:23)
Alex Kane speaks with Kholoud Balata and Miriam Marmur about Israel’s blockade and bombardment of Gaza.
Sep 29 2022
Yeshiva Education (38:15)
After a recent New York Times investigation into Hasidic yeshivas, Joshua Leifer speaks with Naftuli Moster and Frieda Vizel about divergent strategies for change in the Hasidic world and what’s at stake in the fight over secular education.
Sep 15 2022
Mom Save America (this page)
Arielle Angel interviews her mother, Jeri Cohen, about getting back into the reproductive justice struggle at 69.
Aug 25 2022
Documenting the Struggle (41:51)
Joshua Leifer speaks with Oren Ziv, co-founder of the photojournalist collective Activestills, about chronicling the violence of apartheid.
Aug 11 2022
The Scream Clarifies an Elsewhere (01:03:07)
To celebrate the release of Culture Editor Claire Schwartz’s debut poetry collection, Civil Service, she discusses the social meanings of poetry with Managing Editor Nathan Goldman and Graywolf Press editor Chantz Erolin.
Jul 28 2022
The Trouble with Germany, Part 1 (01:06:59)
Arielle Angel speaks with Emily Dische-Becker and Michael Sappir about the bizarre and worrisome ways that “memory culture” plays out in Germany among Jews, Palestinians, and Germans, as well as the recent attacks on Dische-Becker in the German press.
Jul 14 2022
¡Inquilinos Unidos, Jamás Serán Vencidos! (51:29)
Recording from a convention of the Autonomous Tenants Union Network, Ari Brostoff speaks with organizers Kenia Alcocer, Danya Martinez-Spider, and Claire Spiehler about the tenant movement across the country.
Jun 30 2022
The Mapping Project (53:25)
Jewish Currents staff discuss the controversy that arose after Boston activists published a map of Massachusetts institutions they deemed complicit in Zionism and US imperialism.
Jun 16 2022
The Age of No Revolutions (49:08)
David Klion speaks with history podcaster Mike Duncan about why the left’s discontent with the status quo hasn’t led to a sustained uprising.
May 26 2022
The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh (51:36)
Dylan Saba, Dana El Kurd, and Fadi Quran discuss Israeli obfuscation and strategies of resistance in the wake of a journalist’s murder
May 5 2022
Campus Wars (54:10)
Jewish Currents staff discuss the latest flashpoints in campus conflict over Israel/Palestine
Apr 20 2022
A Surge of Violence in Israel/Palestine (36:27)
Peter Beinart, Dana El Kurd, and Daniel Seidemann discuss the recent increase in fatal attacks in Israel/Palestine.
Apr 1 2022
Volodymyr Zelensky and Post-Soviet Jewishness (56:15)
David Klion, Julia Alekseyeva, Linda Kinstler, and Helen Betya Rubinstein discuss the meaning of the Ukrainian president’s background.
Mar 17 2022
The Assault on Trans and Reproductive Rights (58:16)
Senior Editor Ari M. Brostoff, scholar Jules Gill-Peterson, journalist Meaghan Winter, and reproductive justice advocate Laurie Bertram Roberts discuss the recent wave of executive and legislative attacks on trans people and abortion rights.
Mar 3 2022
I Want to Believe (54:54)
Upon the release of Senior Editor Ari M. Brostoff’s debut essay collection, Missing Time, they discuss the political potential of The X-Files with Editor-in-Chief Arielle Angel and Managing Editor Nathan Goldman.
Feb 17 2022
The Black–Jewish Relations Industrial Complex (59:54)
In light of recent flashpoints in so-called Black–Jewish relations, Contributing Writer Rebecca Pierce joins artists and activists Anthony Russell, Reuben Telushkin, and Shoshana Brown in discussing the continued prevalence of anti-Black racism in the American Jewish community and the ongoing exclusion of Black Jews.
Feb 3 2022
Whose West Side Story? (01:02:32)
Editor-in-chief Arielle Angel spoke with scholars Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Brian E. Herrera, and Daniel Pollack-Pelzner about the parallel resonances of West Side Story in Jewish and Latinx communities, and the tensions that emerge over questions of power and control.