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Letter | To the Jewish AOCs: Why don’t Jewish institutions support you?

To the Editor:

In response to “We are the Jewish AOCs,” I would like to say that I fully agree and add that I am here, too, and for decades have been speaking and writing on our behalf.

The problem is not only for “the Jewish organizational world to see us [my emphasis] as leaders and position us at the heads of our largest tables.” The problem is also that the entire Jewish organizational world needs to speak up and take action.

That is precisely the point of my article: Why do I not hear our voices echoed by the mostly male heads of major Jewish organizations, U.S. Jewish Senators and Representatives, directors of Jewish Federations, who possess hefty funds and power?

We have long advocated for ourselves as women, but it’s time for those who control organizations with enormous financial resources to speak up as well.

When The Forward listed the highest 65 salaries of Jewish non-profit organizations, only nine women were included and the highest salary for a woman was 29th down on the list. What if the ADL put 50% of its resources to combatting sexism, harassment, assault, and rape? After all, we are more than 50% of the Jews.

Another point: We need formal policies by all Jewish organizations, synagogues, and academic institutions regulating the exclusion, harassment and assault against women and LGBTQI+, as the Committee on Ethics in Jewish Leadership has been demanding.

Yes, we are Jewish AOCs and Jewish women’s organizations, but these are not problems for women alone to deal with; they are problems men have to address and stop. That was AOC’s point and, like you, I agree with her.

Sincerely,

Susannah Heschel

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