March 13: Joe Schwartz, Folk Photographer

Joe Schwartz, a largely undiscovered “folk” photographer and lithographer who captured moments in the lives of poor and working people, and especially moments of interracial neighborliness (at left, kids watching a marionette show in Brooklyn), died at 99 in Atascadero, California on this date in 2013. Schwartz was active in New York’s radical Photo League […]

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October 11: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Jews

Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the U.S. from 1933 to 1945 and a progressive activist throughout the 1940s and ’50s, was born in New York on this date in 1884. She shared her patrician class’s low-grade anti-Semitism during her younger days, but by 1935, according to her biographer, Blanche Wiesen Cook, “she spoke out against […]

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Socialist Zionism for the 21st Century

by A. Daniel Roth WHEN I MOVED TO ISRAEL THREE YEARS AGO, one of the questions asked of me was “What kind of Jew are you?” My answer was “Shomer” — that is, a member of Hashomer Hatzair, the Socialist Zionist movement. A few bureaucrats along the way tried to get me to change my answer […]

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Rediscovering Ezra Jack Keats

by Helen Engelhardt From the Autumn, 2011 issue of Jewish Currents EZRA JACK KEATS IS KNOWN to many of us as the author of the modern classic children’s book, The Snowy Day, in which a young boy named Peter wakes to find his urban neighborhood transformed by a snowfall in the night. He puts on […]

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Mississippi Freedom Summer: Voices of the Volunteers

1. Heather Booth If we organize, we can change the world. I learned this lesson powerfully from my experience with the Mississippi Summer Project in 1964. I was 18, a white Chicago student, joining with others to shine a spotlight on the conditions in Mississippi and the horrors of America’s apartheid system. I went to […]

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A Lock and Key on the Seder Plate

Jewish Currents has helped to organize a Jewish Working Group to End the New Jim Crow, which includes a task force within the Woodstock Jewish Congregation, T’ruah (formerly Rabbis for Human Rights—North America), and JFREJ (Jews for Racial and Economic Justice). This Working Group has promised three products: a Passover Haggadah supplement, a Jewish study […]

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March 11: Ezra Jack Keats

Ezra Jack Keats (Jacob Ezra Katz), who transformed children’s literature with his colorful collage-and-ink style and his introduction of African-American children as central characters, was born in poverty in Brooklyn on this date in 1916. His artistic talent was well-recognized by the time he was in high school, but poverty beset him at several junctures […]

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