What a great turnout for last Thursday's meeting on Marijuana, and the speaker did not disappoint - she was excellent! Photos are up on the Sisterhood website (tassisterhood.org - click on "Photos" on the menu). Check out all the smiling faces! Note that if you are unhappy with any picture on our website, just let us know and we will remove it.
One of the reasons we brought in a speaker on Marijuana is that politicians have changed the legal status of Marijuana recently. This made us think of Jewish women in politics. In 2018, women in high political leadership positions is thankfully nothing new. But in 1947, they were a rarity.
In 1947, Ana Pauker became the first ever female foreign minister when she was appointed to the job in Romania. Pauker was born in 1893 into a poor Orthodox family in Bucharest. She became a teacher in a Jewish school and active in the country’s socialist movement. She and her husband were repeatedly arrested for their activities and spent years in exile in the 1920s.
In 1934, she was arrested in Romania and imprisoned for seven years, until she was sent to the Soviet Union in a prisoner swap deal in 1941. There she became an unofficial leader in the Communist Party and volunteered with the Red Army. In 1944, she returned to Romania and in 1947 she was appointed foreign minister, a position she held for five years. But Pauker was then criticized – and some say scapegoated – for the party’s harsh activities and subservience to Moscow.
But later discoveries revealed that she tried to be a moderating force within the government, not always successfully. Pauker also worked to facilitate Romanian Jewish immigration to Israel. In 1952, she was forced out of the party, and in 1953, was arrested on charges of “international Zionism.” She was later released and died of cancer in 1960. To this day, she is considered a controversial figure in Romanian history.
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