Ruth Messinger and Marilyn Sneiderman Are Odd Couple of Jewish Social Justice

Roommates as Well as Non-Profit Powerhouse Leaders

In the Field: American Jewish World Service chief Ruth Messinger traveled to Ethiopia in 2011;
Courtesy of AJWS
In the Field: American Jewish World Service chief Ruth Messinger traveled to Ethiopia in 2011;

By Sarah Seltzer

Published November 05, 2013.
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“It’s a little sad,” says Messinger. “Women are taking over hospitals,universities, and pulpits as Rabbis. But this is not yet happening in positions of leadership in the Jewish community, which is not as it should be.”

Their solidly feminist belief in supporting each other and nurturing other female leaders creates yet another strong ideological bond. And then there are the little things that arise simply from occupying the same living space. For instance, Sneiderman broke her long time ban on handling meat to take a delivery from Grow and Behold, a Kosher and pasture-raised meat company, upstairs and put it in the fridge for Messinger. Messinger had asked the favor without realizing the extent of Sneiderman’s vegetarianism.

And then there are the bouquets. “Marilyn brings me flowers every week,” Messinger says with a laugh. “My husband says, ‘She has taken on the role that I would never play.’”

Sarah Marian Seltzer is a journalist and fiction writer and a contributor to the Sisterhood blog. She tweets at @sarahmseltzer


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