Women’s History Month inspires reflection on economist Myra Strober and Jewish life

By Debra Israel

As I prepared to give a talk for Women’s History Month at Indiana State University on the two women who received the Nobel Prize in Economics, Elinor Ostrom and Esther Duflo, I also reflected on a memoir I read a few years ago by the economist Myra Strober.

Strober’s memoir Sharing the Work: What My Family and Career Taught Me about Breaking Through (and Holding the Door Open for Others) tells of her experiences earning her PhD in Economics during the late ’60s at MIT, at a time when even fewer women worked in the field.

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Intersecting calendars can bring complications, or a fun combo of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah

By Debra Israel

Hanukkah begins the evening of Sunday, Nov. 28. And while not quite the same as our historic Hanukkah/Thanksgiving combination (which we last experienced in 2013), it’s still pretty close!

Personally, I love thinking about the culinary possibilities, such as enjoying my leftover cranberry dishes with latkes instead of just applesauce. I’ll make sure to keep some sweet potatoes to grate and add to the latke recipe.

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Learn to balance work and life, and take satisfaction in that Shabbat day of rest

By Debra Israel

Every week at Shabbat services, we read that God finished all of the work of creation in six days and took a day of rest.

We also take a day of rest, for this reason, on the seventh day.

This spring, I started thinking more about the idea that we need to “finish our work” in order to take our day of rest.

In our busy world, with many demands on our time and indeed many things we each want to accomplish — for work, family, friends, creativity or social justice — it is difficult to imagine feeling as if our “work” is ever finished.

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Gather family memories while you can; take solace in silence; support ‘Covered with Love’

By Debra Israel

Recently, I’ve been thinking about memory and memories.

This past February marked 20 years since my father’s older sister, my Aunt Julie, passed away.

My father had died in 1990, and their younger sister, my Aunt Rebecca, is now the last surviving sibling.

I have my own wonderful memories of many special times with my aunts and my father, but I regret now that I didn’t ask them more questions about their lives growing up in New York City, about their experiences as children of immigrants, where their parents spoke a different language (Ladino) at home.

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