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Reclaiming Jewish Activism: Rediscovering Voices of Our Ancestors

May 24, 2012 - 7:00pm
Congregation Sha’ar Zahav
290 Dolores Street
94103 San Francisco , CA

This event is organized by The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California and co-sponsored by Bend the Arc Bay Area.

A presentation and discussion with Julie Gilgoff, Rae Abileah, and Elaine Elinson

Three Jewish activists discuss ancestors who continue to inspire their social justice activism, documented in recent books and memoirs about earlier civil rights and social justice struggles that speak strongly to our times.

Julie Gilgoff is the author of A Granddaughter’s Rite of Passage: Tales from the McCarthy Era. Weaving in her own family history, Gilgoff will discuss the Red Diaper babies and how they witnessed their parents’ persecution during the McCarthy era. Paying tribute to her grandfather Max Gilgoff, who died from a sudden heart attack while being interrogated for his political activism, Julie reflects on the legacy of the Red Scare and how it affected the generations that followed. Gilgoff has travelled to Israel, Argentina, and Nicaragua for regional and international media sources and has feature articles published in New York NewsdayThe Jerusalem Report, and The Jerusalem Post. She has also contributed to Not for Tourists guidebooks.

Rae Abileah is the grand niece of Joseph Abileah, a Haifa musician who became a pacifist during the formation of the State of Israel and worked for reconciliation between Arabs and Jews. Abileah finds inspiration in the legacy of her great-uncle, whose life is remembered in the book Israeli Pacifist: The Life of Joseph Abileah, by Anthony Bing.  Abileah, co-director of CODEPINK: Women for Peace, is a contributing author to 10 Excellent Reasons Not to Join the Military; Sisters Singing: Incantations, Blessings, Chants, Prayers, Art and Sacred Stories by Women; Beautiful Trouble; and Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists.

Elaine Elinson is the co-author of Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and PoetsShaped Civil Liberties in California, winner of a Gold Medal in the 2010 California Book Awards. Elinson is currently working on a historical novel based on the life of Selina Solomons, a Jewish suffragist, who organized working class women to walk precincts in the mostly poor and immigrant areas where they lived. Elinson's own activism led her to join picket lines in the dusty vineyards of California's Central Valley, travel with an anti-war troupe putting on shows for GIs in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, and, as the communications director of the ACLU of Northern California for two decades, to work for voting rights and other civil liberties.


Moderated by Shoshana Simons of the California Institute for Integral Studies
Organized by The Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring of Northern California
Co-presented by Bend the Arc Bay Area

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