Deborah Kaufman's Reflection

I met Marcia very soon after she settled in Berkeley, where she immediately made an impact. In the early 80’s, her Lehrhaus Judaica class on Women in Israel was a bracing dive into the front lines of feminist politics there. Her bold 1990 memoir was an exhilarating, incisive, and moving read. Her organizing and leadership on many fronts, especially around Israel-Palestine, was vast. A record of our shared activism still exists in my email which covers our work in Brit Tzedek and J Street, the controversies about the Rachel Corrie movie at the Jewish Film Festival, ad campaigns in the Forward and elsewhere about Federation Guidelines restricting free speech in the Jewish community, solidarity around the Washington DC JCC/Theater J controversy, and so much more! Her leadership as Chair of the Board at the Jewish Film Festival was outstanding. And in my email there is also a record of Marcia as a friend – notes about birthday parties, dinner parties, caring for ailing friends, movies, trips to New York and New Zealand, references to fabulous women like Naomi Newman, Hannah Kranzberg, Lilly Rivlin – a circle of shared friendships. Subject headings like: “Possible signatories to Free Speech letter,” “Can I get a ride with you?” “The cost of the ad,” “Good article in Tablet,” “Occupy flyers,” “A thought.” Alan and I had the good fortune to film Marcia’s last interview on August 1st for a forthcoming Israel TV documentary about women in the Knesset, and she rose to the occasion with her usual brilliance, verve, and charm. Marcia will always reside in my head and my heart.

Deborah Kaufman

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