Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
INDIANAPOLIS, JANUARY 21
In 1960 domestic violence was a family problem, not a crime. We are not going back.
In 1960 women could not obtain a safe and legal abortion. Hundreds died from back alley abortions. One of them was my neighbor. We are not going back.
In 1960 women made up less than 1% of medical and law schools, and many job opportunities were closed to them. I know; I entered a profession in which there were not any women. We are not going back.
In 1960 homosexuality was considered a psychiatric disorder, discrimination was rampant and marriage between people of the same sex was prohibited. We are not going back.
In the early 1960s there was racial segregation in most public places, in schools, in housing, in employment, even in our city. We are not going back.
In 1940 Italian, German and Japanese immigrants were required to register, to our shame. Jews escaping Nazi Germany were prevented from entering the United States, abandoning millions to certain death, to our shame. We are not going back.
Amos Oz said that there are a number of ways to respond to calamity. Take the example of a fire. What can you do? You can run away. You can write an angry letter. Or you can bring a bucket of water to throw on the fire. “If you don’t have a bucket,” he adds, “bring a glass, and if you don’t have a glass, bring a teaspoon. Everyone has a teaspoon. I know a teaspoon is little, and the fire is huge but there are millions of us and each one of us has a teaspoon.”
Bring your teaspoon as a teacher and a neighbor;
Bring your teaspoon as a scientist and an artist;
Bring your teaspoon as an employee and an employer;
Bring your teaspoon as a mother and a daughter, as a father and a son;
Bring your teaspoon as a citizen;
and pour water on hate and fanaticism.
The poet and author Marge Piercy wrote: “A strong woman loves strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly terrified. A strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined not to be done.”
A strong woman is determined never to go back to a time when her rights over her body, her dignity and her opportunities were restricted.
A strong woman carries a teaspoon determined in vigilance, in volition and in vision.
We are strong women. We all have a teaspoon. And we are not going back.
RABBI SANDY EISENBERG SASSO, the first woman ordained as a Reconstructionist rabbi, addressing the Indianapolis “sister rally” to the Women’s March on Washington, representing Women 4 Change Indiana. https://www.women4changeindiana.org