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In Memoriam: The Woman Who Popularized “Ms.”

by Bennett Muraskin   ALTHOUGH Ms. magazine is most identified with Gloria Steinem, the woman who most popularized the term “Ms.” was Sheila Michaels (1939-2017). The word enabled women to be identified as their own persons, rather than according to their marital status (Mrs. or Miss). Michaels’ career included a variety of jobs including cabdriver, technical editor, co-owner […]

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The Vulnerable Side of Rebellion: Cate Blanchett in “Manifesto”

by Alessio Franko WHAT DOES THE WORD “manifesto” manifest in your mind? Karl Marx or the Unabomber? Theoretical insight or idealistic impracticality? Genius or self-importance? Truth or nonsense? We parse historical manifestos in search of clues about past artistic and political movements, but attempts to take them at face value, as living texts with application to […]

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Yiddish in the Age of Identity

AN ALTERNATIVE TO ASSIMILATION AND ZIONISM by Lina “Khave” Morales From the Spring 2017 issue of Jewish Currents LATE LAST December, I went to an event that promised to do something I’m always striving to do and mostly failing at: organically bringing together parts of my identity that I usually count as disparate and disconnected. […]

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Against the Phrase, “White Privilege”

by Bennett Muraskin THE TERM “white privilege” should be discarded. This is not to say that African-Americans are not subject to many forms of racial discrimination — including in the realm of policing and the criminal justice system. Blacks are disadvantaged, historically and still today, in housing, education, employment, healthcare, and more. The “Do Black […]

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June 17: Aaron Lansky

Aaron Lansky, the founder of the National Yiddish Book Center (NYBC), was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts on this date in 1956. Lansky began collecting discarded Yiddish books in the 1970s while studying the language as a graduate student at McGill University. He soon assembled a crew of zamlers (collectors) and formally established his not-for-profit […]

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What Remains

Finding Yiddish by Janice Segal Weizman YIDDISH TALES. The book lies casually, almost coyly, on my desk. It’s a hardcover bound in fading blue cloth, a 1946 reprint of a 1912 collection of Yiddish stories translated into English. I found it in a used book store in Tel Aviv, and though the volume’s dusty presence […]

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April 7: Ilan Stavans

One of the most prolific, interesting, and wide-ranging contemporary Jewish scholars, Ilan Stavans (Stavchansky), was born in Mexico City on this date in 1961. His Eastern European father was an actor and soap opera star on Mexican television. A professor at Amherst, Stavans has focused a good deal on language and popular culture and has […]

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February 7: Non-Violent Communication

Marshall Rosenberg, a psychologist who was the creator of Non-Violent Communication (NVC), a communication process that helps to resolve conflicts without violence, died at 83 on this date in 2015. After spending his adolescence in a tough Detroit neighborhood (the family moved there one week before the 1943 Detroit race riot, which saw 34 people […]

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December 15: Ludwig Zamenoff’s International Language

Dr. Ludwig Lazarus Zamenhof, an opthalmologist who created and promoted the world’s most successful language invented by an individual, Esperanto, was born in Bialystok on this date in 1859. Zamenhoff had native fluency in Yiddish and Russian, and his father, a language teacher, gave him knowledge of German and French. Zamenhof also learned Polish, and […]

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OpEdge: Torturing Language to Sanitize Torture

by Marc Jampole HOW DO WE KNOW that those who are defending the American torture program under the presidency of George W. Bush recognize that they are wrong and that torture is both illegal and immoral — in other words, evil? We can tell in the language they use. As soon as the Central Intelligence Agency, […]

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