A Day Without (Jewish) WOMEN? Really?

from http://chcentralmich.com/?z=Jewish+Women ARTISIT UNKOWN

from http://chcentralmich.com/?z=Jewish+Women ARTISIT UNKOWN

Here’s an official website:


I want to believe that we can pull this one off; but my FEARS keep me cynical.

FEAR= False Evidence Appearing Real.

I am going to break this down, one ethnic/religious group at a time.

What groups out there have historically been my allies? Who has Done The Work, and truly represented as accomplices to me– an African-American slave descent woman, with some 27% of my blood from “somewhere else” that is European (most probably forced sexual interactions)?

Jewish women. NEWLY WHITE women.

Women who are curiously silent now, as The Apocalypse roars forward into it’s second month.

I am having the conversations. I am hearing the reasons. I am smelling the fear. I am aware– possibly even MORE aware than my Jewish sisters themselves–that they sit as the “we MADE IT to WHITE” group in the States who has been most recently silenced; most effectively scapegoated. And, this occurred almost within my lifetime; certainly within the lifetime of anyone 65 or over.

I am NOT speaking of The Holocaust. I am speaking of McCarthyism.

McCarthyism was not just anti-communist; it was anti-Semitic. And a Jewish woman and mother of two was made an example for all. This is documented painfully in “Heir to an Execution”, produced by Ivy Meeropol; Ethel Rosenberg’s granddaughter:


“A deeply personal, occasionally heartbreaking affair, “Heir to an Execution” paints a rich portrait of a devoted couple whose names came to symbolize Cold War hysteria…On June 19, 1953, Julius Rosenberg was electrocuted, and Ethel followed him minutes later. To the end, authorities offered Ethel Rosenberg an out, telling her she could avoid the electric chair by confessing.

800px-Julius_and_Ethel_Rosenberg_NYWTSPeople have often wondered why she did not do it for the sake of her sons, Michael Meeropol said.

“At the last minute, our father’s already dead, and what she would have had to do is make up stuff,” he said. “She would have had to say, ‘Yes, my husband was a spy,’ and then she would have had to lie and say, ‘I was, too.’ So now she goes to jail for 30 years.
Does she really take care of us that way

Does that really help take care of us?

“Her response was to stand by him and stand by that incredible commitment. And that way, as Ivy says in the film, we get to grow up respecting and loving them.”

(above from http://www.recordnet.com/article/20040122/a_life/301229993 )

Rosenberg et all familyHmmmm. That’s certainly one interpretation. The images stirred up in that documentary, of a nation waiting as this woman went to the electric chair and was electrocuted are more than haunting:

“Julius was executed first; he died after the first electric shock. Ethel’s execution did not go smoothly. After she was given the normal course of three electric shocks, attendants removed the strapping and other equipment only to have doctors determine that Ethel’s heart was still beating. Two more electric shocks were applied, and at the conclusion, eyewitnesses reported that smoke rose from her head.”

(from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_and_Ethel_Rosenberg#Execution)

Those images are TERRIFYING.

Ask yourselves, “Newly white sisters”, if you truly believe that a Catholic woman– sent to die with two adorable boys displayed before the public– would have been fried FIVE TIMES????


A Miracle Was Happening Then…

She would have been dusted off after the first or second shock, declared the Miracle That She Was, and returned to her children (possibly a little softer in the head, but we were using lots of ECT back in those days, and a 3/4 mom was probably better than no Mom at all…)

As an Inside Outsider to Christianity/Capitalism/ and The AmeriKKKan way, the layers of anti-semitism, internalized oppression (a Jewish judge did not stay the execution), and MISOGYNY are breathtaking…Soul-killing…Voice silencing.

Sure looks to me like Jewish women are suffering from a legacy pattern that still says “You Are Too Loud and we HATE you”.

Remember the DNC? Last week?

We just watched two born-Catholic MEN– one older/ one younger/ one browner/ one Blacker duke it out for control of the Democrats, with Bernie cheering them on…

Where are the women? I hear silence. And Deb Wasserman-Schultz is the current scapegoat and Every Assimilated Jewish Woman’s Nightmare because she F**ked up.

And there is  second part to that Shadow Work as I see it is that corrosively undermining to TRUST in Jewish women. That is a Dominator Culture trick that effectively divides us– women from men– within our ethnic and racial tribes. It’s an African Slave descent shadow pattern, too… The Dominator Culture makes sure that the property of the patriarchs–enslaved men– are humiliated another layer, by making certain that “the property of the property (that would be us women)” is never really, totally under control of the men.

It showed up with the Rosenbergs. I watched “Heir to an Execution” with a Jewish man, who couldn’t stomach the ending, and left. It is there, at the DNC Drama:

“Your Men will NOT Protect/witness you/support You…” Bernie has had no compassion; and he’s married to a Shiksa!

So when a Jewish friend responded to the Day Without Women idea by chuckling about how her boss “would keel over from a heart attack (if his all female staff struck his business!”  having no plan to participate THAT way), I didn’t laugh.

That is exactly the point. To collapse the system. And, when that Patriarchal system is seized up with it’s heart attack, we best be dis-entangled and far enough removed as to not Go Down Too…But we women are still too often “standing by our men” at our own expense.

If the Jewish women– the ones raised to see themselves as “prized higher than rubies” while their men daily thank God that they were not born female–WAKE UP, I see us actually Going Forward. But I wonder about an Abrahamic culture that still does not treasure The Divine Feminine, not matter what lip service it is giving to same.




Next, The Abolitionists, as represented by THE QUAKERS…




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13 Responses to A Day Without (Jewish) WOMEN? Really?

  1. Many powerful stories and facts in here.

    I appreciated right off the bat that you reminded me of this acronym –

    FEAR= False Evidence Appearing Real.

    Then I review the other aspects of fear. Terror of the past rising up and ripping open the old wounds, ripping open new ones, fear based on real things that happened in the past, fear around present situations that feel ripe to turn into similar situations.

    The stories of being here or being absent and who has one’s back, do not address fully, who has the back of whom? If we are still thinking from he “I” or “my tribe” perspective, then we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. There is no simple “collapse the system” guarantee we will rise up with an improved system, so it is time to get to work on building what that looks like – together.

    We need new ways to create a society that does more than implode or explode what is wrong. If we are to follow this mode, than we may as well bow down to D.Trump, who is about doing this himself. He will discard healthcare acts without true understanding or regard for a system to put in place that works, and education, and medicare, and the list goes on. He has a strong desire, as I see it, to drop all that is now what he sees as dysfunctional. In many ways, he is no different than the anarchists who believe in blowing things up.

    And hey, I am not against true anarchy – having no rulers rather than having no rules. I simply can’t see how we get to a consensus world anytime soon.

    So what I read here is in parts so brilliant and insightful, and in parts has no empathy or understanding that one person never represents the whole. Even a cherry pie divided as equally as possible may have some bad cherries in one slice and not the rest.

    We humans have a million stories, and it takes time to listen, to ask the questions and truly listen. To share information and perspectives in a way that the other person can truly listen. I don’t know this particular Jewish woman who said this about her boss. I don’t know how much her faith plays a part in her life, what her personal wealth level is, if she has children, a partner, her bank account or debt levels, her education level, her family history, her experience with anti-semitism, her experience with diverse cultures, and the list can go on for pages of what I don’t know – and am curious to engage about.

    We need a more curious populace. This is in great part what created my interest initially in improvisational movement and CI – the same interest I have in knowing others. But I find that in speaking to one another as well as in dancing, the sad story is mostly people just want to dance their own story, and find those who feel already safe. It is painful to go up against the shadow stories of others, especially when they make new perspectives imperative. Individually we get to decide whether we can hear the similarities and relate to those, or be in some competitive strain of who is the better at being the underdog, the champion, and so on.
    David Rovics has a song that plays humor to this – “I’m a Better Anarchist Than You”

    All I want to know is, who IS ready to listen to one another? Who IS ready to ask questions to further the discussion and thinking without being confrontational?
    How do I know what this woman is thinking, or why she she feels a need to say what she did? You might be exactly right, hammer on nail. But the hammer needs someone to drive it in, and done right can build something strong. The question is, are we building something together? Or is this nail being driven into the heart of someone who could have their heart more open, or maybe has an caring heart, but needs vision clarified?

    Then there is the whole can of worms of men. We don’t exist in a world without men, and a great many of the men in our country are whipped. I have no use for many of them at the moment, and I agree wholeheartedly with the patriarchal problems inherent in religion, especially in traditional forms. Exactly this awareness is what made me personally leave the religion initially, and determine organized religions are something I feel wary about.

    Yet, there women who have felt a need to reconstruct their religions, change thing sup from within, find historical references to teach in a new way, become rabbis and cantors.

    Stepping aside from this, a subject I have mixed feelings about, someone with Jewish upbringing in a cultural sense, has an identity, identifies as a person of varied ideals and history. This is entirely separate from the religious teachings. It is like saying one can not get away from the color of their skin. Because we know this is not entirely true – or false. A black person can move to another country where black people are not treated as here, and be treated with grace and first class citizenship. But if they have grown up with the culture of walking in fear, of rage over coming from enslavement, or feeling misunderstood, and not cared for, this is not something that is erased because it is internalized.

    Most Jews in the age range you mention walk through the world with something very similar. They made walk around with stealth, but in fact, some of those who wear the best pretend skin are the most fearful.

    You are definitely right on about the loud voice being shut down, but it isn’t all about men. That never changed when I left the synagogue, and it never left when I spoke out. I am told on a regular basis from some to shut up, tone it down, or they simply walk away. I am told this by women, too. There is little encouragement to speak up in a world that wants to not give space to hear the other sides.

    I can speak to the truth that yes, I can say a lot, and I forget the capacity to listen is small for most people. I can get quiet.

    I can also say, I am a great listener. I used to be a great debater…until I decided that this way to end things does not suit me. It can be helpful at times to shut someone down, but then what?

    Where are we in the building process? I honor that there is tons of shadow work to be done, and encourage we each do it, and check my impatience that some are slower than others to feel the value for their own lives in doing it.

    But I am going to keep working at not judging others so they can feel more safe about dipping into the work. I hope we will all one day be able to work together, knowing we are always going to be on different parts of the waves, even when we are all part of the same ocean.

    • ceremonyheals says:

      Clearly you thought long and hard and felt into the words you shared. I thank you for that. And, regarding face to face connection? I remain confused and troubled by the fact that I waited for 40 minutes at the end of our dance last week with what I thought was an agreement we would check in about ongoing dialogue on intersectionality. As I left at the end of the dance and went to wait for you, you were talking to a younger white man. I walked by you two times. I felt unseen, disrespected and invisible This is my experience of my white sistars these day; pretty ready to accommodate men. Of any race. Not so interested in building relationships with women. Of any race. Harsh words for Harsh Times.

      • WOW, while this does not feel the place for this, clearly there were mixed messages. I had set aside hours to engage with you, and your message to me prior to the date was “let’s see if we can do this at the dance.” I had let you know the time after the dance was available until 3:30, and never received anything specific from you. My past experiences with this arrangement with you, is to wait and see what you decide. I wish you had said something – SPOKEN UP. You came into the dance with Martin, told me you two were going to the movie on this day, and I did NOT see you after the dance. I thought you two had left.

        BTW – This young man engaged with me on something that led to a very serious discussion of safety of women in the dances, that has been on another burner with someone who is female/gender fluid, and what we can do regarding this. It was unplanned. Though important, I would have absolutely disengaged from this if you had let me know directly you were available for our talk.

        Your jumping to conclusions about my intentions, or that this is about accommodating men is your own story. We actually were engaging in a very difficult dialogue and at times holding very different strong stances in a struggle to both hear and be heard respectfully about different viewpoints.

        Harsh words are a choice and a perspective. I honor your struggle to make sense of the struggles we face. I disagree with your decisions to analyze instead of ask questions.

        In this, I feel sad that there is an agenda underlying this, to name and identify me and it seems perhaps shame me.

        I am not, however, shamed, at this point in my life, for the stories others place on me.
        Just tired, and sad over the failure to communicate with respect, yes.

        • Opeyemi Parham says:

          I hear you feel I have shamed you. I understand this, since you also said I have “analyzed rather than felt” in response to you.


          I am harsh, I know. And I have experienced my women friends as being fragile to brittle in their responses. I am cultivating resilience.

          • “I choose instead to simply trust the courage/ resilience/ and authenticity of my sistars as open dialogue continues.”

            I fully appreciate this line. I very much love the term siSTARS.
            This is where I hope we grow.

            Amy, I don’t know if you got this, because I did not take the time to explain in great detail what Opeyemi already knows from my other writings, but my father lived till age 11 amidst the atrocities to Jews in a closed city – Uman [Ukraine]. My maternal grandparents came a bit later, also escaping Russia.
            I chose at age 12 to leave the religion of Judaism and follow the path of loving others, then Spirit has shown up for me in many metaphysical experiences, in teachings from indigenous cultures, Buddhism, and pagan ways that mirror one another often, and glimpses into past lives.

            I know completely and fully that we exist on a connected web, feel impacted by the situations of others – even those who are operating under conditions of lack of awareness and how to make use of this to our own benefit.

            Knowing that the way of peace is simple, yet the web has been tangled beyond untangling, is frustrating.

            I firmly believe the basic way is not what most people want to hear, and only will grow in proportion to those who believe and engage. Even though I fully connect to the fact that time goes in a spiral, we live the past, present and future simultaneously, the only way forward is to believe and take forward movement. Or perhaps we can see it actually as higher movement. Moving a level up on the spiral. It means Beginner’s Mind, it means the mind of any mother who has been to the point of failure and despair, then stopped, and begun at zero.
            It is something the world pulls us away from, even as it speaks in linear form.

            We let go of everything old, knowing we can not [at least yet] change the past.
            We then use exactly what is true and known to live in the way we know is peace and love, which treats every being as autonomous, glowing as special as oneself, connected through our connection to this earth, deep below where our energy roots, and around our bodies. We recognize this even when the other being seems to have no glow, that in this case, the body, soul, heart, has been damaged, abused, not nurtured, and needs infusion of energy directed at it, to reach the being within. We don;t give our own energy to them, we merely direct the abundant energy all around to include them.

            There are a lot of obstructed beings walking around… all of us actually because of anger and pain over past actions. Even when we are not directly harmed, we feel the pain and rage for the others who share our breath, water, we are connected through the molecular level. Beyond the bodies now alive on this planet.

            We don’t fix others by telling them how to be. We don’t ever fix beings really. Some people have medical skills that support, some have mothering skills that support, and so on. But the individual receives this through energy around it being directed, opening to receive, and obstructions to this being removed.

            When we obstruct others, we must be ready to suffer the consequences connected to the stopping flow of love.

            If we can find ways to stand steadfast in love, even in our rage that it is about actions identified, we can have a hope of starting a new web, and eventually those left in the old web will be those who are so entangled they are not going to evolve in the present incarnation. So whether this sounds like craziness, or karmic nonsense, it has nothing to do with caste systems based on what good we do or how much money we have. It has to do with right actions and seeing the true equality that values the autonomy and gift of every being not knowing what gifts each may hold or share. By every single being to every single being – and not only to humans, but to animals, plants, water, air, stars, etc. It is beyond understanding and language, beyond communication and relationships.

            When each person takes in the very real vibration that every unique being has a unique vibration – that collectively makes up the vibration of this all and one-ness we make up together. It relies on the uniqueness as well as the love and valuing. That is the best I can do to explain it in this moment, what I believe, have experienced briefly in past experiences, and try, but don’t always manage to remember and live. The Yolngu tribe calls it Yothu Yindi, and that seems to be the closest to a way of sharing it I can manage at this time.

            I am not naive. I am super aware of the plight we are all in, have been in, and choose to remain tangled in. Unfortunately it is something that many people feel even more enraged about, that they have to let go of their historical rage. It is confusing, like feelings of betrayal to one’s child for living beyond them. What happens though, if we start by recognizing the pain and rage in everyone is real, unique and collective, and honor and love into these feelings?
            Can we soften our hearts through looking into one another’s hearts and eyes deeply, loving no matter what?

            Aside from my personal experiences, having seen the repair work done in Rwanda and Burrundi, I see the power in choosing to value others and love over hate, anger, revenge.

            It ain’t easy. Hey, I have trouble with forgiving a few men who have not returned borrowed money and such over the years. But it continues to hurt me when I go there. I feel lighter and able to create more of what I need when I am not stuck in those obstructed places. I would prefer those men to repay me because aside form the betrayal and money concerns, I know it is obstructing them to be the good men they can be, who can believe in themselves totally.
            Men who believe in themselves do not need to take advantage of women.

            Anyway, this has traveled to side stories now, and I need to sleep. Hopefully some value exists in sharing.

            Yo manmak [many thanks] – for being your unique selves, who bring me gifts of new perspectives, enriching my own existence while here.

    • shifra freewoman says:


      i want to weigh in on Opeyemi’s piece and also respond to some of the women who responded to it.

      I found much of what she wrote on target and accurate. I had never before thought of the whole McCarthy debacle being largely anti-semitic. I knew there was some anti-semitsm but i never thought of the movement being largely driven by jew hatred.

      I think that some of the points that she raised were missed by some of the Jewish sisters who responded to her piece. When she said Jews are newly white, I agree. Many of us have become assimilated and like many, gone after the American dream, even though i personally have never been able to hold down jobs long enough to pursue this. I was too hurt. Many of us have toned it down, we speak softly, don’t make waves and go about our business more like white anglo saxon protestants than like the more orthodox unassimilated Jews i grew up with.

      Believe you me i don’t go for orthodoxy, the sexism, homophobia, etc etc and at the same time there was a life force there, a particularity a chutzpah that i like and that i miss.

      my dad, when i argued, would say we are not arguing we are discussing. No i was not discussing i was arguing. He knew he had to fit in he had to tone it down and not act too Jewish.

      I did not hear Opeyemi saying Jews were just like all white people or that we do not and did not suffer oppression. On the contrary, i heard her saying that Jews have faced terrible oppression and maybe don’t get how hated we are by some people, the same folks who hate Black People. I want to shout to the entire Jewish community to make common cause with Black people among other oppressed people.

      i am speaking only for myself- this part is not in response to what other women wrote. if i went by what i heard about Black people from the orthodox community i would have run a hundred miles from African Americans and missed some of the best hueman beings i have ever been priviledged to meet and know.

      I can’t speak for her. Yet i heard her saying she is concerned for Jewish women and Jews in general that we are not speaking out loudly and clearly enough for ourselves and others who are us in another form. i heard her not so much criticizing us as trying to be an ally and say we are in trouble and we ought to be more bold and expressive and outrageous in response to this new horrifying reality we are facing so that we can stay alive and thrive.

      I certainly know that she does not object to Jewish women becoming Rabbis or cantors of taking on Jewish rituals. I wanted to be a rabbi as a child, and had i been a boy i would have undoubtedly been one. I was and am cut out for it. She named me the Rattlin Rabbi which is exactly what i am. She didn’t make the rattlin rabbi, she helped me to womanifest who i really am.

      I know Jewish women are not a monolith by any means, and yet i do not think it wrong to focus on general patterns. I can empathize with the concern about leaving the men with heart attacks, and just collapsing a system will not work because we must build something new and that takes time and effort.

      i know that i can have compassion for individual men, even those who are very destructive and yet, i cannot help but think that if women were to walk out and say enough, it would shake things up and bring change.To me this is not about hating men, it is about rising in our power and not being so careful and timid as i often am. This will help men too, because if we timid it will hurt all huemanity.

      Women in Iceland did not have a high status and they all went on strike for 2 weeks and after that the disruption was so great they got their rights.

      Further i did not hear a response to what happened to Ethel Rosenberg, the horror of it, that she was killed, murdered, smoked to death, not that long after the holocaust, even though she clearly did not deserve that fate nor was she guilty of anything even by the law that would have justified killed her.

      I did not know that she survived the initial shocks and was then killed anyway. i did not hear anyone respond to that horror. i know it is scary to take that in. And while it is true that Jews were not rounded up here like the Nazis did in Europe, they sure did go after those people, mainly Jews, who stood up for justice, and many others who lived the Jewish values of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, and pursuing justice and remembering we were slaves in Egypt and must identify with the oppressed..

      And though most of them were not religious, they were Jewish in ethnic background and in their focus on justice and liberation, those are Jewish values. Of course one need not be a Jew to espouse those values and it absolutely not happenstance thing that so many of them were Jews.

      So they went after us to let us know that we better fit in if we don’t want to end up like Ethel and those who were hounded by HUAC etc. Watch out. Shut up. Know your place. Don’t stand with Blacks or others who are more marginalized. Tone it down, fit in Or else.

      I used to be orthodox and today have a pretty interfaith kind of life. i don’t find myself feeling very at home in any Jewish community. I am kind of an outsider in general too loud and too different to fit in most places though i working on finding ways to modulate so that i can be more effective. i belong to a Unity Church and practice Nicherian Buddhism. i go to Kirtan and goddess mountain when i can. i still love the some jewish prayers and shabbes etc. But perhaps because i never attained a middle class lifestyle i am tolerated at best in the most Jewish communities.

      there is much in judaism that i cannot tolerate, circumcision of boys, that god awful prayer where men thank god for not making them women. I could go on for days Yikes.

      i cant get with a guy who is lauded because he was willing to murder his son because god told him too. Even thought he was stopped, the fact that he was willing does not make him great. I identify with Issac. Our religion has some most serious and fundamental problems as do all the patriarchal faiths.

      Still with all the problems that we must address directly and openly- there is much there that is liberating. that focus on compassion and justice and challenging oppression and working to change this world not just the waiting for heaven or just going along with the system, that is part of our heritage that we must enact and make wo/manifest.
      And challenge the part of our tradition that tells us that women voices cause sexual sin, no singing in the presence of men in the orthodox community. Even though some of you may never have heard of that, it impacts us. Most Jewish men don’t really listen to us.

      Well. we must speak anyway.

      Yes, I know my beloved sistar Opeyemi can be harsh. I have felt this many times and it has been challenging and sometimes quite painful for me to deal with and not the style i am used to, and we have and are continuing to work that through, and I know that she has helped make me a stronger and better hueman being and woman and Jew. I know that she is fueled by love and compassion and power and that she has the backs of Jews and cares deeply for us.

      my own experiences in the Jewish community as a kid were so bad that sometimes i cannot see the good parts of my tradition and she helps me see that.

      what i feel now is a tremendous fear that feels specifically Jewish, because, shit we have nazis in authority now.


      So i hope we will speak as strongly as we can be as brave as we can and ally as strongly as possible with Black People, Muslims, Arabs Palestinians Asians Latinos as well as white folks who empathize. I hope and pray that more and more Jews will see that the divisions that i grew up with that taught me that Blacks were anti Jewish and not to be trusted and our enemies is a lie and that we were set up. I hope and pray that we come together as never before as Jews women and hueman beings and stand strong for life love justice peace truth and healing.

      And with all that reasoning i have expressed the most important is the heart the soul the neshoma the love that is beating in our breasts. let us be outrageous in our love our support of all who struggle including ourselves let us be outrageous in our power in our dance in our bodies in our sex in our souls in our voices so loud and soft and strong and wild and free to tap into something so primal so powerful so strong so song that we tip the earth and come out singing singing singing together united with the rainbow of huemankind.

      Love peace justice and healing to all beings everywhere.
      shifra freewoman

  2. Amy Anderson says:

    “So when a Jewish friend responded to the Day Without Women idea by chuckling about how her boss “would keel over from a heart attack (if his all female staff struck his business!” having no plan to participate THAT way), I didn’t laugh.” ~ Opeyemi

    “How do I know what this woman is thinking, or why she she feels a need to say what she did? You might be exactly right, hammer on nail. But the hammer needs someone to drive it in, and done right can build something strong. The question is, are we building something together? Or is this nail being driven into the heart of someone who could have their heart more open, or maybe has an caring heart, but needs vision clarified?” ~ Bonnie

    Hi Bonnie, et al,

    I am that Jewish woman. I am shaking with adrendelin and my heart is hammering as I begin to write this. I’m not used to being exposed this way, but since you have (gently and kindly) asked, I am making the choice to expose myself further. You may draw your own conclusions re: my heart and/or the clarity of my vision.

    I am a Jew by blood and a Pagan Witch of over 30 years by spiritual practice. A Jewitch, if you will. There are many of us. The witch part is how I came to know Opeyemi, with whom I have been part of an ongoing sacred Women’s Circle for over 20 years. As it happens, the above-mentioned conversation took place within the confines of that circle a few nights ago.

    I had asked O, who is very committed to this work, if there were other ways to support this strike, as I will not be staying home from work this Wednesday. Buying local and female, check. Wearing red, check. I was glad to learn that there were other things I could do. Because, you see, while I may have chuckled as I mentioned it, the the man I work for has, in fact, had three heart attacks so far, two while I’ve been in his employ. He is a tax accountant who owns his own little practice and it is now pressure-cooker season. I have been particularly conscious of this lately because I, who have been his Gal Friday for 14 years (yes, that devoted, loyal, 40’s-movie model is exactly how I feel it), will be leaving after this season. I am moving away. I am irreplaceable and we both know this. I worry for him, and for his heart, in these times. Just as I have striven to offer my best throughout my time at his office (because offering faithful service is nourishing for me), he has silently, with impeccable modesty and humility, been a guardian and support for me. He has had my back, rock-solid, through some very difficult times and will continue to do so in perpetuity. I know this, because I am not alone in receiving such support. This (white) man has consistently hired women (both white and of color) over (white) men, then reached into his own pocket to provide training and support for those women if they wished to advance in the field. He is, in fact, the only non-woman in the office. As I said the other night, if there’s any man who appreciates the power and necessity of women, it’s this man.

    This is why I’m choosing not to “collapse the system” in this particular way on that particular day. Because that good man is not the monolith, I am not dis-entangled, and this will not be our last or only action. I will, as suggested, buy from small, local businesses (like the one I work for), from women-owned businesses (like the health food store I’ll buy lunch from), and wear red as suggested (cuz I do love a dark-bloody red). These actions will have to suffice.

    Speaking of red, I did grow up during the Rosenberg era – I was born the day before Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected in November of 1952. My parents, Brooklyn Jews, one of whom had recently served in the Pacific, were horrified by all of it – the blacklisting, the Red & Jew-baiting, the commie-hunting. My father’s whole side of the family were pinko intellectuals & commies so yes, those were dark times, although, as I was a very small child, I could only sense the undercurrents. But the shadow of McCarthyism isn’t what freaks the living shit out of me now. No. We weren’t actually rounded up wholesale and put in death camps during the reign of Joe the Drunk. It’s the stench of NAZISM that gives me that feral, gnaw-off-my-foot-to-escape-the-trap feeling. I’ve been hearing the distant sound of jackboots in the street ever since 9/11. They are no longer distant. Working my way through this particular terror so that I’m not paralyzed by it has been, and continues to be, serious work for me. As I suspect it is for many of us “quiet” women. But I’m working on it. Trust me, I’m working hard.

    Separately, as Opeyemi already knows, I really, really dislike that “NEWLY WHITE” label. I don’t know about anyone else, but my read of history says that nobody has slaughtered Jews like European Christians since the dispersion by the Romans from Judea in 132 AD. Nobody. Italians invented the original Ghetto for Jews 500 years ago. Ferdinand & Isabella expelled the Jews from Spain in 1492 and used the confiscated proceeds to fund exploration to . . . what was that place again? Beyond the Pale was where we lived in Russia – the Russian Pale of Settlement, that honkin’ big ghetto in the Ukraine. England, Poland, Germany, France, even Norway; these events have rolled back & forth across Europe, cyclically, for over a thousand years. In all this time, none of the native inhabitants of those places ever had the slightest difficulty telling themselves apart from the Jews, or from the other Others du Jour (like our Muslims now). Nor have they very much cared if there was the occasional bit of collateral damage. The idea that we are ever unassailably accepted or assimilated is, well, an idea. A consummation devoutly to be wished. Or not. Until we, as a race of beings, evolve past that dyadic need for a blamable Other, Jews remain the, uh, chosen people. We’re the fave from Column A. Current circumstances – to my tremendous sadness and periodic waves of terror – bear that out once again. Perhaps NEWLY WHITE is a useful designation for people who don’t believe their roots are showing. Like Jared Kushner, maybe. The rest of us already know that we’re “ethnics.” And you know what happens with ethnics. Periodically they get “cleansed.”

    I hope that makes things a bit clearer, Bonnie. Thank you for the benefit of the doubt.

    O, that was quite the love note.

    • ceremonyheals says:

      My voice gets dry, and I must clear it to dictate this. I knew as I prepared to leave the US that a part of where I would be going next would feel like becoming Tokyo Rose–hated and-fascinating at the-same time. I am learning the difference between evocative and provocative blog posts. I could apologize when I don’t get it right; I choose instead to simply trust the courage/ resilience/ and authenticity of my sistars as open dialogue continues. I will follow Spirit wherever it leads me even when my voice is shaking, too

      • I think my reply went to the wrong place. It should be after the March 5 comment Opeyemi made. <3

        • ceremonyheals says:

          in·ter·sec·tion·al·i·ty (noun)
          the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.
          “through an awareness of intersectionality, we can better acknowledge and ground the differences among us”
          I was trained up (or DOWN, depending on your worldview) in conventional allopathic medicine. When an abscess develops, there is only one way to relive the pain/drain the pus/move the HEALING forward. That is to take a sharp scalpel and LANCE the abscess. I was trained (again down— not up???) to do this quickly, thoroughly, and effectively but it was always done without any anesthetic. They told me there was no way to effectively numb the patient; that it would hurt even more to numb up the area around/in/over/under that hot pocket of pus. and, to put that patient under general anesthesthesia risks DEATH every time it is used– however small a risk. That is what I was taught. I am sure there must be other ways to heal that abscess. I am still learning new ways.

  3. Nanci Bern says:

    I read this passionate and evocative conversation yesterday, and while i wanted to reply immediately, I felt it best to sleep on it and then see what I felt. I woke up still thinking about it so here it goes.

    I am a Jewitch. i have great pride and attachement to both the Witch and the Jewish paths. They travel well together. I am also active in both worlds. I get that there are Jewish women who have become ‘White’, as Opeyema, said; but there are also black, Cuban, Christian, Muslim women, to name a few, who have also become only ‘White’. There will always be some who become enmeshed in the comfortable and majority rule. Sad:yes, Something we, as those who have not become ‘that’, that we can try to reverse: yes. BUT, I was dismayed that Jewish women were being lumped together as a whole.

    There are loud Jewish Women voices speaking and wailing about what we are now facing. There are also quiet Jewish Women voices who are also wailing. And both are doing the work.

    There is not just one way to move forward and be part of the desperately needed Tikkun Olam-the fixing of the world-that is the only way we will survive.

    But along with doing the work of correcting the wider world, we need to practice this within our own diverse and sometimes broken community. There are times when we need to make ammends to each other for wounds that occur, through our own pain, not the intention to hurt others. Saying ‘I am sorry sister, for assuming what your truth may be. I will listen and ask for discourse supported by love.’ This is a way for resilliance as well. It is not weakness, it is not oppression. it is honest and deep work.

    I am not going to take off work on March 8. I have not had a ful time job since 2012 and I if get some hours, I will take them. I do not feel like I am a cop-out ‘fakester’. I am taking care of myself in desperate times. AND this is not the only way and time to make a stand. I am doing other actions.

    So, while sometimes the best thing we can do is to agree-to-disagree: the highest thing we can always do is to continue to reach for each other’s hands, be they covered in the mud from the trenches we are in, or covered in the blood of the life force that we share.

    • ceremonyheals says:

      Thank you for your words. WEARING RED seems like such a powerful option; that, and speaking up in our workplaces about our indispensibility. Beyond any intended or un-intended mud slinging, I hold out my hand as a fellow “midwife to SELF”.

    • Amy Anderson says:

      Amen, Nancy.

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