Judge Polier

Activist judge Justine Wise Polier retired from New York family court on this date in 1973, after thirty-eight years of service. When, in 1935, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia appointed her to the city’s “Domestic Relations Court” (as it was then called), she was the youngest city judge in the U.S. (age 32) and the first woman […]

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In Memoriam: Henry Foner

by Bennett Muraskin HENRY FONER (March 23, 1919—January 11, 2017), the last of the four activist Foner brothers — all heroes to Jewish Currents readers and other progressives — has left us at age 97. His loss will be felt deeply by JC: He was the eldest member of the magazine’s Editorial Board and a […]

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July 12: The Screen Actors Guild

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) was founded on this date in 1933 with the aim of lessening the contractual power of Hollywood’s movie studios over the lives of actors. Jewdayo locates no Jews among the union’s founders, but it was Eddie Cantor who sparked the growth of membership from eighty to more than 4,000 when […]

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October 13: The Fact-Gatherer

Josephine Clara Goldmark, a social reformer of the Progressive Era who shaped the use of fact-gathering to win reform in the courts, was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1877. Working with the New York Consumer’s League, Goldmark recruited her brother-in-law, Louis Brandeis, to serve as the league’s attorney and compiled the “Brandeis Brief,” […]

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August 1: Morris Hillquit

Socialist leader, orator, and lawyer Morris Hillquit (Hillkowitz) was born in Riga, Latvia on this date in 1869. He moved with his family to New York at 17 and became a shirtmaker, although he never advanced beyond entry-level work. At 18 he joined the Socialist Labor Party of America and became involved in the internal […]

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July 10: Sidney Hillman

Labor leader Sidney Hillman, head of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union and a key organizer of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), died of a heart attack at 59 on this date in 1946. Hillman was born in Lithuania and groomed to be a rabbi, but became a Jewish Bundist by age 16 and, after coming […]

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May 11: Daniel De Leon

Daniel De Leon, leader of the Socialist Labor Party of America from 1890 until 1914, died on this date in that year at age 61. De Leon was born in Curaçao to Dutch Jewish parents, his father a military surgeon who died when his son was 12. De Leon spent his teen years in Europe […]

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