Our awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the workplace has grown in recent weeks. In thinking about this issue, one obvious question is why it has taken until 2018 for this issue to come to the forefront of our attention. Part of the answer lies in the difficulty in raising the issue when it can affect ones livelihood. But part of the answer is that women have had many other issues that for years have been higher priority for activists to address.
To put a face on these issues, we will tell the story of Rose Schneiderman, woman, activist, leader, and Jew.
Rose was born in 1882 to a devout Jewish family in Poland. Her family immigrated to New York in 1890. Because her father died when she was 10, at age 13 she had to enter the workforce as a cap maker. Incensed about the discrepancy between the pay men and women received for the same work, she led a successful campaign to organize her shop at the age of 21. Male union leaders were deeply impressed by Schneiderman’s skill as an organizer and her charismatic speaking style. Within a year, she became the first woman elected to national office in an American labor union (the New York City Central Labor Union) and was elected vice president of the New York branch of the Women's Trade Union League in 1908.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, in which 146 garment workers were burned alive or died jumping from the ninth floor of a factory building, dramatized the conditions that Schneiderman, the WTUL and the union movement were fighting. That year, she gave a speech where she famously said “The woman worker needs bread, but she needs roses too.” The slogan "Bread and Roses", appealing for both fair wages and dignified conditions, is commonly associated with the successful textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912, now often referred to as the "Bread and Roses strike".
Long an ardent suffragist, Schneiderman had helped found the Wage Earner’s League for Woman Suffrage in 1911 and toured for the Ohio suffrage referendum in 1912. In January 1917, she launched the final, successful drive to win the vote for New York women.
Schneiderman’s powers of persuasion won her many influential admirers. A close friend and adviser to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Schneiderman taught them most of what they knew about working people.
Schneiderman had a strong Jewish identity and was active on behalf of Jewish causes throughout her career, particularly during the 1930s and 1940s. Her speeches and letter-writing campaigns mobilized the resources of the labor movement to help Jewish refugees escape from Nazi-occupied Europe. She was also a major fund-raiser for the Labor-Zionist Leon Blum Colony in Palestine.
Due to the work of Rose Schneiderman and others like her, factory working conditions have dramatically improved, women have the right to vote, and the wage gap has been significantly reduced (still working on that one!) We have a long way to go to achieve a truly gender-neutral workplace, but sometimes it is good to take a minute to look back and rejoice in how far we have come, and to celebrate the women like Rose who have been a force in bringing us to where we are today.
Bingotini: Sat. Feb 10, 7:30 - turn in your Bingotini reservations soon to get the reduced price of $30!
Gender identity Meeting: Tues. Feb 20, 7pm
Sisterhood Seder: Thurs. Mar 15, 6pm - turn in your Seder reservation soon before we sell out.
Author Presentation: Thurs. Mar 22, 7pm
Women of the Wall Speaker: Sat. Mar 24, 7:30pm - turn in your WoW reservation too!
Mahjongg Cruise: Mar 22-26
Thanks for reading to the end of this email!
Most people avoid thinking about unpleasant things. And paying taxes is definitely an unpleasant thing! So you might be tempted to avoid our January meeting this Thursday. But it will be full of good tips on how to prepare to file your taxes and lots of schmoozing with friends, so we hope you come. Did you read the bylaws changes we sent out last week? If you can't find the email, just reply and we will send you the bylaws changes again.
If you haven't sent in your check for Bingotini yet, then bring it to Thursday's meeting and save yourself a stamp. Put a check in your car or purse right now, to make sure you don't forget it. Bingotini is Feb. 10, and it costs $30/person (before Feb 7; $36 at the door.)
And a reminder that our February meeting is on a TUESDAY - Tuesday, Feb 20. It's on a Tuesday because it is a joint event with Adult Education and TAS High.
Hope to see you Thursday!
One of the most fun fundraisers we do is Bingotini! Martinis, smoothies, yummy desserts, and Bingo! There are cash prizes for the winners too. Did you already put Saturday, Feb 10 (7:30pm) on your calendar? We hope you can come - it won't be the same without you! Bring a friend for even more fun. Are you in a Havurah? This makes a great Havurah event. We attached a flyer that you can print and put on your refrigerator or hand out to friends.
The price is $30/person for RSVPs before Feb 7, $36/person at the door. RSVP by sending a check payable to TAS Sisterhood to Sue Cohen at 22349 James Alan Circle, Chatsworth 91311. Or drop it off at the Temple. And we would love a reply to this email saying that you are coming.
Questions? Contact Carol Bizar-Morton at 818-894-6113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bingotini is the Saturday after the Cantor's concert and 10 days before the February Sisterhood meeting on Gender Identity. Remember that our February meeting (Feb 20) is on a Tuesday, because it is a joint effort with Adult Education and TAS High.
Do you think millennials will get this joke? Do people still play battleship?
The annual MoTAS Shabbat service is scheduled for this coming Friday (Jan. 5, 2018) at 7:30pm. We encourage you to show your support for MoTAS by coming to services Friday. In honor of MoTAS, here is a short history of the Men of Reform Judaism (MRJ), the national umbrella organization for hundreds of affiliated Reform brotherhoods and men's clubs.
On January 23, 1923, sixty five Reform Jewish brotherhoods and men’s clubs came together at the Hotel Astor in New York City to form The North American Federation of Temple Brotherhoods (NFTB). The stated mission of NFTB was to encourage local brotherhoods to engage in projects and activities that would provide meaningful services to their congregation; to sponsor and promote vitally important nationwide community-building projects; and to give local brotherhood members the opportunity to explore and celebrate fellowship.
Nearly 85 years later, the national organization adopted a modified mission statement: “To serve Jewish men, Reform Judaism, and its local congregations.” And thus, two years later, in 2007, the North American Federation of Temple Brotherhoods (NFTB) officially changed its name to Men of Reform Judaism (MRJ).
For the first time, MRJ’s mission statement explicitly stated that its primary function was “to serve Jewish men,” rather than simply be either a resource for local affiliated brotherhoods or as a conduit through which national and international service projects might be conducted. Fully committed to our traditional brotherhoods, the national organization’s mission now demanded it create new partnerships and relationships with hundreds of congregations throughout the Reform Movement currently without affiliate brotherhoods; rather, MRJ is now prepared to sponsor and promote any and all formal or informal local organizational structures that will serve as an effective delivery system of MRJ’s Men’s Programs to the adult men of a given congregation.
BTW, remember that the January Sisterhood meeting is Thursday, January 18, 7pm. We will be presenting tips and answering questions on what preparations to make before filing your tax return.
Hope to see you soon!
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