Friday, July 13, 2018

Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz (1945 - 2018)

I just learned that Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, founding director of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, has passed away.

An active participant in Jewish, feminist, and anti-racist causes, Kaye/Kantrowitz reportedly taught the very first women's studies course here at UC-Berkeley. She was the author of several books, the most important (for me at least) being The Issue is Power: Essays on Women, Jews, Violence and Resistance. It is one I regularly consult and reconsult, as I think it is one of the finest meditations on antisemitism and one of the more provocative works of feminist theory I've ever read. I've long thought that if I ever taught a course centered around either (or both!) of those subjects, it would get a very prominent place on the syllabus. She was also active in a group of radical Jewish lesbian authors whose work in the 1980s and early 90s somehow has managed to remain cutting edge even when revisited today.

May her memory be a blessing.

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