Deborah, Golda and Me

Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Author, Betty Prashker, Editor, Erica Marcus, Editor Crown Publishers $22 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-57517-8
A founding editor of Ms magazine here casts a wide net, chronicling her family history and her feminist and spiritual awakenings and tackling issues that concern Jews and feminists. Her mother, who died when Pogrebin, now in her 50s, was 15 and is somewhat sentimentalized in this telling, served bacon in her ``kosher'' home and kept secrets regarding a previous marriage, abortions and money. Pogrebin's father denied a daughter from a earlier marriage, neglected his family to be a big shot in Jewish organizations and, following the letter of the law, barred the author from the minyan saying kaddish for her mother. Linking patriarchal Judaism with her emotionally withholding father, Pogrebin in adulthood was an unaffiliated Jew until she served as cantor of a Fire Island prayer group in 1970. Spiritual seekers will find a wealth of alternative Jewish rituals here, of varying worth. Pogrebin's assessments of anti-Semitism in the women's movement and of clashes between blacks and Jews and between feminists and establishment Jews are trenchant. Her film critiques are facile, however, and a commendable account of Middle East peace initiatives is diluted with details of organizations and meetings. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
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