Quotations From IRENA KLEPFISZ
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To most middle-class feminists, as to most middle-class non-feminists, working-class women remain mysterious creatures to be "reached out to" in some abstract way. No connection. No solidarity.Irena Klepfisz (b. 1941), U.S. Jewish lesbian author; born in Poland. "The Distances Between Us," 1985. Dreams of an Insomniac, part 1 (1990). Klepfisz was a feminist from a working-class background.
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It was like stepping into a negative rather than a photograph. I was overcome by the sudden realization of the scale of the loss.Irena Klepfisz (b. 1941), U.S. Jewish lesbian author; born in Poland. "Secular Jewish Identity," 1986. Dreams of an Insomniac, part 4 (1990). On visiting Poland with her mother in 1983, on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, in which her father, a Jewish rights activist, was killed. The rest of the two women's family also died in Poland during the Holocaust.
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I have never heard of a tradition among Jews that encourages us to support each others' differences. Quite the contrary. What I've always been taught is that Jews forever see each other as bitter enemies whose differences are irreconcilable.Irena Klepfisz (b. 1941), Jewish-American lesbian author; born in Poland. "Jewish Progressives and the Jewish Community," 1988. Dreams of an Insomniac, part 5 (1990).
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...the Holocaust has been like a fad, a rock group losing its original sound, a fashionable form of dress that outlives its popularity ... it has been commercialized, metaphored out of reality, glamorized, been severed from the historical fact.Irena Klepfisz (b. 1941), U.S. Jewish author; born in Poland. "Resisting and Surviving America," 1982. Dreams of an Insomniac, part 2 (1990). Klepfisz, a Jew born in Poland in 1941, escaped the 1943 Warsaw Uprising; her father had been killed on the second day of the Uprising. They emigrated to Sweden, then, in 1949, to New York City.
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...I've stopped wanting to do any work at all. All work is bullshit. Everyone knows that. No matter how many telephones and extensions, no matter how many secretaries, no matter how many names in the rolodex. It's all bullshit.Irena Klepfisz (b. 1941), Jewish-American lesbian author; born in Poland. "Work Sonnet," part 3, paragraph 5 (1982). Referring, specifically, to clerical work; a prose poem.
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