Culture, Politics

Some red diaper history

While some use (or misuse) secular to define Jews who they deem are “assimilated,” unaffiliated or non-religious, they most often glide over the rich history of Jewish secularism. I’ve been fortunate to work with a handful of folks who come from, and embrace, their backgrounds as red-diaper baby Jews and the link to radical politics, particularly through groups like Jewcy (yes the political networking groups that were formed before the name was, yes I’ll say it, snagged and then bought and sold for consumer consumption) and JFREJ.
Well, for those who may not have seen, there’s a new(er) site called Left-Wing that documents this history. Some of the more interesting sections are the background history of the Jewish Bund, a Jewish Political Party of Labor Workers, founded in 1897 and was made up of Jews from all over Eastern Europe.
There is also some interesting background on Jewish socialists, including Rosa Luxembourg, Emma Goldman, Karl Marx, Mordechai Anieleiwicz and Albert Einstein.
The analysis is not all that, but a good primer. If you have more resources, send in ideas, links.
This definitely isn’t a bad time to continue resurrecting these Jewish roots.

5 thoughts on “Some red diaper history

  1. hee hee, snagging goes both ways.
    i have it on good authority that the workman’s circle bookshop in new york is selling, without my permission, yo semite! buttons. which is a trademark of my company. headed to new york shortly to investigate…

  2. A colleague suggests a few additional sources; all of them have at least a number of sections relevant for the study of Jewish radicalisn and Jewish radicals, and/or the Jewish labor movement:
    NYU Libraries | Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives A center for scholarly research on labor history and radical political movements.
    Welcome to the Kheel Center at Cornell University Home page of the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation & Archives at Cornell University, a repository of archival material on the history of …
    TRIANGLE FACTORY FIRE Online Exhibit from Cornell University’s Kheel Center on the Triangle Fire disaster of 1911 – a terrible and unnecessary tragedy involving the death of 146 …
    YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Home page of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, the preeminent center for the study of East European Jewry and Yiddish.
    Jewish Labor and the Holocaust JLC Finding Aid. Copyright © 1997 NYU Libraries. All Rights Reserved. Design by Picture-Projects.
    Jewish Labor Committee
    The Jewish voice in the labor movement, and the voice of the labor movement in the Jewish community.
    Readings on the American Jewish Labor Movement
    Readings on Traditional Jewish texts on Labor and Worker Rights
    We can discuss the National Yiddish Book Center at another time. But see press statement below.
    Jewish Labor Committee Protests Use of Non-Union Labor
    by National Yiddish Book Center
    Calls on Community to Join Protest
    MAY 12, 1995 — NYC The Jewish Labor Committee has issued a call to the Jewish community to join in asking the National Yiddish Book Center to reconsider its recent decision to continue its relationship with a contractor which has no collective bargaining agreement with its workers. The Book Center, the nation’s largest agency collecting and distributing Yiddish books, is expanding a new facility in South Hadley, MA.
    The JLC intervened at the request of Mark Erlich, Business Manager/Financial Secretary of Local 40 of the Carpenters and Joiners Union, based in Cambridge, MA. Erlich is also the grandson of Henryk Erlich, a leader of the Jewish Labor Bund in Poland, who was arrested and later executed by the Soviet Union in 1941. Despite attempts by Erlich and others to convince NYBC to drop the non-union contractor, and discussions with members of the Center’s board, the Center decided to continue its relationship with its non-union contractor, rather than utilize one of several unionized alternatives.
    The National Yiddish Book Center was formed not only to collect and redistribute Yiddish books, but also to preserve and share with younger Jews Yiddish culture and tradition. That culture is intimately linked with the history of the Jewish labor movement. The JLC is asking interested individuals to contact the National Yiddish Book Center, and ask them to switch their business to one of the union bidders for the project.
    Please write to: Aaron Lansky, President National Yiddish Book Center 48 Woodbridge Street South Hadley, MA 01075
    ABOUT THE JEWISH LABOR COMMITTEE The JLC has represented the organized Jewish community on questions relating to trade unionism and human rights since 1934, when it was founded as a labor-based rescue operation in response to the rise of Nazism in Europe. Today, the JLC works to maintain and strengthen the historically strong relationship between the American Jewish community and the trade union movement, and to promote the shared social justice agenda of both communities. Information about our current activities is available upon request by writing to:
    Jewish Labor Committee 25 East 21st Street New York, NY 10010

  3. Arieh, is that still true about the Yiddish Book Center or has it changed since May ’05?

  4. may have technically been Jewish but he was raised as a christian and hated Jews his writings reflected this

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