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Melissa R. Klapper

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Many people have probably heard of Betty Friedan, Bela Abzug, Gloria Steinem, and Andrea Dworkin, all stars of Second Wave Feminism. They were also all Jewish (by heritage if not faith). As Melissa R. Klapper shows in her new book Ballots, Babies, and Banners of Peace: American Jewish Women’s Activism, 1890-1940 (New York University Press, 2013), this was no accident. Freidan et al. inherited a rich tradition Jewish women’s activism in the U.S. These women did not burn their bras (it’s not clear that any feminists did, actually), but they did fight for the vote, for birth control, and for peace. In this interview, Melissa explains why, how, and to what extent they succeeded.

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