Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The AZM [American Zionist Movement]: Absurd and Out of Touch

Are the folks at AZM [the American Zionist Movement] living under a rock? Are they completely out of touch?

My friend Rela Geffen, Past President of Baltimore Hebrew University, has alerted me to the fact that someone at the organization decided to put together a Hanukkah game on their web site. They singled out 8 Hanukkah heroes.

All men. Yup, all men.

They are men of accomplishment without doubt.

But couldn't these folks have found one woman to celebrate?

Golda Meir?

Henrietta Szold? [She created the MOST successful Jewish organization in the world and one that has had a tremendous impact in Israel...]

Nehama Leibovitz? [One of the great Torah teachers of all time.]

Hannah Senesh? [She showed more bravery than some of the leaders who sat in Tel Aviv. She died to save her people.]

Rachel? [one of Israel's great poets]

Alice Shalvi? [considered the "mother" of Israeli feminism and a winner of the Israel Prize. The prize committee described her as having been "revolutionary and courageously trailblazing, with intellectual integrity and long-term vision."]

Rabbi Naamah Kelman [the first Israeli woman to be ordained]

Didn't it seem strange to the AZM folks to look at 8 photos of Jewish heroes and not see one woman? Did they notice and not care or -- and this is even more frightening -- did they not even notice?

And sometimes organizations wonder why they become irrelevant.

I am not asking for 4, i.e. parity. Just one or, maybe to be a bit greedy, two.

If you want to see how it could be done check out the website of the Jewish Women's Archive, a great organization that I have always thought was highly relevant but, after my encounter with the AZM, am even more convinced of the fact.

Or maybe we should get the AZM folks a subscription to Lilith


hockey hound said...

As I read your post, Prof. Lipstadt, I thought of all the Jewish women who died fighting as partisans against the Nazis in the forests of eastern Europe, and the women who died fighting the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

I agree with you: the AZM could have mentioned the names of at least one or two of these many, many courageous and selfless women. It's not asking too much.

Roman Werpachowski said...

Or all the Jewish women who bravely protected their children against the Nazis...

Wyman said...

Ms. Lipstadt,

You put it so very well that the incredible accomplishments of Jewish women need to be recognized and celebrated. I am working with the Vilna Gaon Jewish Museum to create the Vilnius Jewish Library to open in 2009. The success of this library project will be in great part thanks to Rachel Kostanian who is deputy director of the museum.

We first met when she gave a lecture on the Shoah and about posters from the Ghetto period during nazi occupation. She is a driving force in keeping Jewish culture alive in the Jerusalem of Lithuania. She is not only a director of a museum, but also a lecturer, author, and all around wonderful person.

Your books along with other female Jewish authors will have a very welcome and very prominent place in the Vilnius Jewish Library.


Wyman Brent