I teach management in a Haredi college for women in Jerusalem. I’m not myself Haredi and so I’m often surprised by the students’ knowledge base – sometimes they are much more aware of the “outside” world than I would expect (with knowledge of things like Abercrombie and Fitch’s discriminatory hiring policies) and at other times they don’t have what most consider general knowledge (i.e. knowing that Silicon Valley is the high-tech capital of the world). One experience this past semester where their cultural upbringing truly caught me off guard.
I read obituaries. I like getting the whole picture about a person’s life, to be moved by other people’s passions and work. Perhaps it is the sociologist in me, inspired by Margaret Mead, who liked to be inspired by people’s real lives.
Lilith, the first partner of Adam who rejected the subservient role that Adam and God tried to foist upon her, has been an inspiration for feminists for generations. As I was beginning my own young vocalizations and learning the power of naming things in my world, Judith Plaskow re-envisioned the traditional tale of Lilith in her 1972 essay, “The Coming of Lilith.” Plaskow imagined an alliance between Lilith and Eve: after the two shared stories from their lives, “the bond of sisterhood grew between them.” In this way, Lilith became an example of the power of consciousness-raising for Jewish women.
“If you will it, it is no dream,” might have been Theodor Herzl’s catchphrase for the founding of the State of Israel but it is a wholly American sentiment: “Energy and persistence conquer all things,” Benjamin Franklin said.
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has donated 290,000 shares of company stock, worth about $31 million, to several different charities.