Jewish Radical Feminism
Voices from the Women’s Liberation Movement
New York University Press 2018
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Jewish StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network March 6, 2019 Lilian Calles Barger
Joyce Antler is the Samuel J. Lane Professor Emerita of American Jewish history and culture at Brandeis University. Jewish Radical Feminism: Voices from the Women’s Liberation Movement (New York University Press, 2018) provides richly detailed biographies of known and unknown Jewish women from Shulamith Firestone to Aviva Cantor, who were the backbone of the movement. Their backgrounds hidden from historical view, and unrecognized, are brought to light. Many Jewish radical women emerged from the New Left and went on to create local women-centered groups such as the Chicago’s West Side Group, Boston Women’s Health Collective, and Bread and Roses. How they navigated their experiences of being both Jewish and feminists provides insight into Jewish life and the relationship between religion, ethnic identity and feminism. In their diversity, from holding on to a traditional faith making room for feminism, to those who pulled away to lead secular lives, they encountered anti-Semitism, stereotypes, and connections across differences. The book demonstrates the rich contribution of Jewish values and identity had on the women’s liberation movement and how in turn they changed Jewish life in America.
Lilian Calles Barger is a cultural, intellectual and gender historian. Her recent book is entitled The World Come of Age: An Intellectual History of Liberation Theology (Oxford University Press, 2018).