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October 25, 2021

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Memorial for Marcia Freedman

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Marcia Freedman (1938-2021) was an American-Israeli women’s rights and peace and justice activist. Born in the United States, Freedman, along with her then husband Bill Freedman and their daughter Jenny, emigrated to Israel in 1967. After an academic career during the early seventies, she was a co-founder and leader in the feminist movement there. In 1973 she was elected to the Knesset and served until 1977 as a member of the Citizens Rights Movement. During her tenure, she advocated for women’s issues, feminist reform and rights of Palestinian citizens in Israel. As a result of her work, the Youth Ministry’s budget for girls in distress was increased and wife battering in Israel was investigated later opened the first battered women’s shelter, helped create a network of support and services for women, and introduced legislation that led to the reform of Israel’s highly restrictive abortion law. She co-founded the Women's Party in 1977. She also co-founded and helped run the Kol Ha-Isha Women’s Center in Haifa and was a member of and advocate for recognition and legitimacy of the Israeli queer community.

Marcia returned to the United States in 1981 and settled in the Bay Area, publishing her memoir, Exile in the Promised Land in 1990. She helped create the Women’s Computer Literacy Project and was the Director of Marketing for the American Society on Aging, where she established the Lesbian and Gay Aging Issues Network. She again returned to Israel for extended stays from 1997 to 2002, helping to co-found the Community School for Women, which offered courses in women’s studies and employment skills to underserved women.

In 2002 she co-founded Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, a nonprofit grass roots organization that supported the establishment of a Palestinian state and served as its president.

More recently she was a member of Ashby Village and its Board of Directors, and was a co-founder of Elder Action, a political group within the organization, and served on the steering committee of the Arts and Culture Series. She contributed her activist energies, and visionary and thoughtful leadership and commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and access to Village.

Her activism was also always informed by an indomitable spirit, optimism, and a zest for life. She leaves her daughter Jenny Freedman, granddaughter Ella Freedman-Hague and circles upon circles of people here and in Israel whose lives she enriched and nonprofit organizations that grew through her leadership and care.

Shiva information will be forthcoming and an event to commemorate her life will be held in the spring.

Marcia has requested that any donations in her honor should be directed to Gun Free Kitchen Tables (GFKT) in Israel. GFKT works to collect and seed knowledge and concern about guns throughout civil society in Israel, challenging and undoing the militarized equation of guns with security. Today they lead a Coalition of 18 feminist and civil society organizations and have placed their feminist critique of small arms proliferation – and their particular dangers to women and minority groups – on the agendas of Israeli policymakers and the Israeli public.

For Paypal and credit card donations click HERE <https://facebook.us16.list-manage.com/track/click?u=0ca4cd869686cbddc37552468&id=62e420415b&e=6a26201a76>

For bank transfer donations:

Account Number: 105-413461

Bank Code: 31

Branch number: 007

Swift Code: FIRBILITXXX

IBAN: IL380310070000000413461

Account Holder’s name: Isha L’Isha – Haifa Feminist Center

please write to let us know about the donation at:

development@gfkt.org <https://facebook.us16.list-manage.com/track/click?u=0ca4cd869686cbddc37552468&id=e3c7819dd1&e=6a26201a76>

Times of Israel Obit: <https://www.timesofisrael.com/former-mk-marcia-freedman-early-pioneer-of-womens-rights-in-israel-dies-at-83/amp/>

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