Robert Spitzer, the APA, and Homosexuality

On this date in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (with Jews making up about 30 percent of its membership) declared that “by itself, homosexuality does not meet the criteria for being a psychiatric disorder” and removed it from the second edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-II). Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, […]

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Bette Midler

Singer, songwriter, actress Bette Midler was born in Honolulu on this date in 1945. Her mother was a seamstress and her father a house painter. From 1966 to 1969, Midler appeared on Broadway as Tevye’s eldest daughter, Tsaytl, in Fiddler on the Roof, shortly before developing her persona as “the Divine Miss M” at the Continental […]

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Stories of Activist Victories

WHAT WORKS AND WHY by Jacob L. Perl Discussed in this essay: When We Fight, We Win: Twenty-First Century Social Movements and Activists That Are Transforming Our World, by Greg Jobin-Leeds and AgitArte, The New Press, 2016, 208 pages. Artwork, above: Maggie Crabapple; below: Melanie Cervantes — from When We Fight, We Win   IN 2012, we were going to […]

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David Rakoff’s American Life

David Rakoff, a Canadian-born gay writer who was a regular contributor to National Public Radio’s “This American Life” and published three bestselling volumes of essays, died at 47 on this date in 2012. Rakoff’s grandparents fled Latvia and Lithuania for South Africa at the turn of the 20th century; his parents left South Africa in 1961 and moved […]

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“Different from the Others”

“Different from the Others” (Anders als die Andern), a silent film offering a sympathetic portrait of homosexuality, was released in Germany on this date in 1919. Written by Magnus Hirschfeld, founder of the Institute for Sexual Science in the Weimar Republic, and Richard Oswald (Ornstein), who also directed the film, “Different from the Others” portrayed the downfall […]

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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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J. Edgar Hoover and the Jews

J. Edgar Hoover was appointed director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on this date in 1924, a post that he would hold for more than half a century, accumulating enormous power and prestige. The appointment came five years after Hoover had led the Palmer Raids, an unconstitutional roundup of over six thousand leftwing immigrant […]

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Wednesday Night Fiction: The Rabbi and the Shark

by Dan Grossman from the Spring 2017 issue of Jewish Currents THE RABBI was terrified. Just minutes before Kol Nidre he stood in his office chanting the prayers under his breath, worrying for the twentieth time that his sermon was too high-minded, and flipping through the tall, gold-spined books on his shelf, as if he […]

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