August 17: A Letter to the President, 1790

Moses Seixas, the “warden” of the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, wrote a letter to President George Washington on this date in 1790. “Permit the children of the stock of Abraham to approach you with the most cordial affection and esteem for your person and merits — and to join with our fellow citizens […]

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Henry George and Zionism

by Dusty Sklar THE AMERICAN SOCIAL PHILOSOPHER HENRY GEORGE published his second book, Progress and Poverty, in 1879, and became one of the most celebrated figures in the Western world. Not surprisingly, his ideas excited the early Zionists, who were just then beginning to come together to search for solutions to the Jewish Question. George […]

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September 7: Ronnie Gilbert

Ronnie Gilbert, who brought vocal power and womanly soul to The Weavers, was born in New York City on this date in 1926. The group formed in the 1940s and had a hit in 1950 covering Leadbelly’s “Goodnight, Irene” and the Israeli folksong “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,” which turned them into international stars until the McCarthy-era […]

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April 7: A Woman in Hollywood

Julia Miller Phillips, the first woman producer to win a “Best Picture” Oscar for her 1973 film, The Sting, and author of the bestselling, tell-all memoir, You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again, was born in New York on this date in 1947. Phillips was also a producer of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of […]

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March 1: “The Rule of Justice, Not the Rule of Law”

Canada Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, her country’s first woman judge and first Jewish woman Supreme Court justice, spoke at Harvard on this date in 2010 about how her parents’ experience as Auschwitz survivors had shaped her own commitment to social justice and human rights. In 1976, at 29, Abella became the youngest person […]

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February 4: Evan Wolfson and Freedom to Marry

Evan Wolfson, founder and executive director of Freedom to Marry, a leading same-sex marriage advocacy group, was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1957. A graduate of Harvard Law, Wolfson worked for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and became a legal expert of the same-sex marriage movement. He co-wrote an amicus brief in […]

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December 31: Civil Union and Civil Divorce

Glen Rosengarten, the founder of Food Emporium Supermarkets, entered into a civil union in Vermont with Peter Downes on this date in 2000 — and then sought to dissolve the union in his home state of Connecticut seven months later. In that case, Rosengarten v. Downes, the state appellate court refused to recognize the civil […]

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Upper West Side: Meet the Maharats

Misogyny and What It Takes to Move On It was a late springtime graduation unlike any other, a landmark event in Jewish history. For the first time ever, three women were granted smikha, clerical ordination, by three male Orthodox rabbis who had taken a much-publicized stance in support of this controversial departure from past practice.  […]

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June 23: Bernice Sandler and Title IX

President Richard Nixon signed Title IX Education Amendments on this date in 1972, which guaranteed equal access and equal opportunity for females and males in almost all aspects of America’s educational systems, including athletics. Three years earlier, Bernice Resnick Sandler had begun to use an anti-discrimination executive order, issued by President Lyndon Johnson at the […]

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