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She Persisted: Clara Lemlich

Clara Lemlich had thousands of followers way before the internet even began. When she saw injustice, she spoke out. Loudly.
Ages 9+
Pages 80
Publisher Penguin Random House
Coming Nov 2022

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What the Book Is About

This short, illustrated biography explores the life of Clara Lemlich, a Jewish woman born in Ukraine in 1886. After her family moved to the United States, she began working in a shirtwaist factory and was appalled by the conditions. Within a few years, Lemlich had started a union for the workers, and in 1909 she organized the Strike of the Twenty Thousand, the largest strike of women in the United States at that time – most of whom were Yiddish speaking.
 
Clara’s commitment to social justice and her resilience in the face of multiple setbacks and challenges will inspire young readers. The book ends with a list of ways in which young readers can persist in their own lives.
 

Jewish Content & Values

  • Clara was Jewish and wanted to attend yeshiva (Jewish school) like her brothers. She grew up speaking Yiddish and spoke in Yiddish to the women she helped organize in New York City.
  • Clara’s lifelong commitment to social justice work is an example of the Jewish value of tikkun olam, or repairing the world.
  • Clara’s three children all carried on her legacy of social justice work, an example of the Jewish value of l’dor v’dor, or from generation to generation.

There are passing references to pogroms, but there are no details about them. In addition, Clara was beaten up by two men who opposed her organizing; she sustained broken ribs but recovered.
What the Book Is About

What the Book Is About

This short, illustrated biography explores the life of Clara Lemlich, a Jewish woman born in Ukraine in 1886. After her family moved to the United States, she began working in a shirtwaist factory and was appalled by the conditions. Within a few years, Lemlich had started a union for the workers, and in 1909 she organized the Strike of the Twenty Thousand, the largest strike of women in the United States at that time – most of whom were Yiddish speaking.
 
Clara’s commitment to social justice and her resilience in the face of multiple setbacks and challenges will inspire young readers. The book ends with a list of ways in which young readers can persist in their own lives.
 

Jewish Content & Values

  • Clara was Jewish and wanted to attend yeshiva (Jewish school) like her brothers. She grew up speaking Yiddish and spoke in Yiddish to the women she helped organize in New York City.
  • Clara’s lifelong commitment to social justice work is an example of the Jewish value of tikkun olam, or repairing the world.
  • Clara’s three children all carried on her legacy of social justice work, an example of the Jewish value of l’dor v’dor, or from generation to generation.

There are passing references to pogroms, but there are no details about them. In addition, Clara was beaten up by two men who opposed her organizing; she sustained broken ribs but recovered.