I was transfixed by Suffragettes with Lucy Worsley last week on the BBC. She demonstrated so brilliantly that the miraculous changes of the past 100 years were not down to a steady atmosphere of progress but rather real and risky rebellions. The suffragettes, as we saw in this documentary embellished with historical drama, were terrified and terrifying. They fought with body and intellect in every way for change.
Jeanette Winterson picked up the Suffragettes and Annie Kenney in particular for her Richard Dimbleby lecture at the House of Lords (the first woman ever to deliver it). I find intriguing antecedents in this week's portion Korach. The rebellion he staged along with Dathan and Abiram against Moses' leadership is almost unanimously critiqued throughout Jewish tradition as not for the sake of heaven, in other words mistimed, misdirected and selfish. But we know from our contemporary stance that speaking truth to power, calling for change and inclusion has become very Jewish indeed. The Suffragettes, and the suffragists who supported them, are forever heroes. They should give pause when we read about other rebellions, even in our ancient sacred scriptures.
A very warm Shabbat Shalom to you all.