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    Bella Abzug

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    July 24, 1920 – March 31, 1998

    During her run for Congress, Bella Abzug earned the nickname "Battling Bella". She spent six years in the House, and most of her life as a leading voice in the women's rights movement. She truly was a fine representative of Jewish women, battling the establishment wherever she went.

    One of Bella's first battles was against the institution of Orthodox Judaism.

    When Bella was 13, her father passed away. She wanted to recite the Kaddish; her Orthodox synagogue would have none of it. It didn't matter that Bella's didn't have any brothers who would be able to say the mourner's prayer. She was a woman, and that was that.

    Except it wasn't. For a whole year, Bella went to temple every morning, reciting the Kaddish day after day. We could imagine the look on the rabbi's face, as that young woman defied the obtuseness of orthodoxy to carry forth a Jewish tradition in her own way.

    Battling Bella, indeed.

    Verdict: Jew.

    August 7, 2020

    See Also

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    Betty Friedan

    Ed Koch

    Pauline Newman

    Gloria Steinem
    © Jew or Not Jew, 2006-2024.