Selma‘s Missing Rabbi

Including Heschel would not diminish the film’s emphasis on the centrality of African Americans in the civil rights struggle, but it would have lent the film more historical accuracy, not simply about one man but as a representative of the role Jews played in the freedom struggle and as a reflection of the Civil Rights movement’s inclusiveness.

Dr. Seuss’s Progressive Politics

Dr. Seuss was, and remains two decades after his death, the world’s most popular writer of modern children’s books. He wrote and illustrated forty-four children’s books characterized by memorable rhymes, whimsical characters, and exuberant drawings that encouraged generations of children to love reading and expand their vocabularies. But, equally important, he used his pen to encourage youngsters to challenge bullies and injustice. Generations of progressive activists may not trace their political views to their early exposure to Dr. Seuss, but without doubt this shy, brilliant genius played a role in sensitizing them to abuses of power.

Justice, Not Charity

One of the major turning points in my political education was hearing Michael Harrington, the socialist organizer and author of The Other America (1962), the influential book about poverty in America, who spoke at my temple when I was in high school. I agreed with everything he said and thought to myself, “If he’s a radical, so am I.”