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Remembering Rela Geffen

Lilith magazine mourns the death of our longtime friend and contributing editor Rela Geffen. A respected sociologist, former president of Baltimore Hebrew University and fearless examiner of gender issues in Jewish life, Rela was also known for her warmth, humor and resilience.

As a result of her doctoral research, she became convinced that for women, birth order was extremely important in predicting career success and accomplishment. Several years ago, before giving a talk to a meeting of high-powered executive women, she came to the podium and asked, “How many of you are first-borns or onlies? Or come from all-girl families?” Almost every hand in the room went up.