I was a bit in awe of Marcia, regardless of agreement or disagreement (and we had both). In my own life experience and also in the development of Kadima, the progressive Jewish community in Seattle, learning from our elder trailblazing activists was key to finding footing for continued activism. I deeply appreciated Marcia’s capacity to unite the sweep of the work for justice and peace in Israel and Palestine, sharing the progression of our movement’s history. We did and do difficult work, and I’ve found that knowing our context, how different actions intersect (e.g. feminism, peace and justice politics, LGBTQ+ ) and upon whose shoulders we stand gives strength to continue. I found Marcia to be an important teacher on this as well as an important political leader.
As a political leader, she did a remarkable balancing act with reasonable grace and a huge time commitment—astonishing considering how fractious a group of progressive Jewish leaders and activists can be (as gently referenced by others). When she came to Seattle and went with me and others to meet with Federation apparatchiks and leaders in the Jewish community, she dealt with guarded sympathy, outright scorn and more with grace and resolution. I never saw her lose her cool in those encounters, and she, again, taught me a lot about doing the work, building relationships and maintaining sanity.
Finally, she had a physical impact on me. During one of our group meals in Washington DC, I sat with her and we had a nice chat, the sort of wide-ranging talking others have mentioned. She had paella, and offered me a taste. In doing so, honest to HaShem, I bit on a pearl, and later discovered that I’d cracked a tooth. There’s some sort of metaphor there!
When we look at the sweep of Marcia’s activism, including in the latter part of her life regarding elder rights as part of the fight for justice…what an aspirational model!
Zikhronah l’vrakhah u’mapekhah – her memory for blessing and revolution.
In love and solidarity,