March 28, 2012Howard Freedman, Director BJE Jewish Community Library1835 Ellis StreetSan Francisco, California 94115Dear Howard Freedman and Library Staff:We are writing to express our deep dismay at the recent cancellation of our panel event,“
Reclaiming Jewish Activism: Re-discovering Voices of Our Ancestors,”
organized bymembers of Workmen’s Circle and Progressive Jewish Alliance and originally scheduledto be held at the Jewish Community Library on May 24
.While we have, in fact, succeeded in rescheduling this event at a more welcoming Jewishvenue in San Francisco, we find it particularly troubling that an act of censorship hasoccurred at the Library -- an institution that is supposed to be a symbol of open thought andlearning in the Jewish community.Our goal for the event has remained the same -- from our early discussions with the Librarylast year, through the cancellation in late February, to the present:to discuss work of earlier Jewish activists who continue to inspire the social justiceactivism of our three women panelists.
, author of
A Granddaughter’s Rite of Passage: Tales from the McCarthy Era
,will discuss Red Diaper babies and their experience of their parents’ persecution during theMcCarthy era; she’ll pay tribute to her grandfather, Max Gilgoff, who organized to stop police violence against African Americans in his community, and died of a heart attack while being interrogated for his political activism.
Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California
(winner of a 2010Gold Medal California Book Award), will elaborate on the book’s profile of Jewishsuffragist Selina Solomons, who organized working women in San Francisco in 1911, andhow Solomons inspired Elaine’s own advocacy for voting rights and other civil libertiesissues today.
, contributing author to several books including
Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists,
will speak about her great uncle, JosephAbileah, a Haifa musician who became a pacifist during the formation of the State of Israel.His life’s mission -- reconciliation between Arabs and Jews – is documented in a JewishCommunity Library holding,
Israeli Pacifist: The Life of Joseph Abileah