In the late 1960's and early 1970's, Ackelsberg was involved in the women's health movement in New York City.She was also a student activist at Princeton while doing graduate work from 1968 to 1972. Ackelsberg was born in New York City in 1946 and is a graduate of Radcliffe College and Princeton University (where she received her Masters and Ph D).She has been on the faculty of Smith College since 1972, where she teaches government and the study of women and gender.The interview covers Ackelsberg's relationships both with her ex-husband and with her current partner, Judith, and investigates the intricacies involved in becoming a lesbian step-parent and the multiple definitions of family that have become central to Ackelsberg's life, passions, and academic work.View transcript Watch full video (transcript and video available on Smith campus only) Martha Ackelsberg's papers are also in the Sophia Smith Collection.
Abstract In this oral history, Martha Ackelsberg describes her work in Jewish feminist communities and her experiences with attempts to make sense of her lesbian identity in terms of her Judaism.She has also been involved with several movements aimed at changing the status of women within the Jewish community, including the politics of changing family structures and the place of the LGBT community.Martha Ackelsberg currently lives with her partner, Judith Plaskow, in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she is involved with various feminist, progressive, and Jewish organizations.See also: interview with the Yiddish Book Center BRENDA AHL Brenda Ahl (b. Army from 1984-1988 in Savannah, GA and served in the Army Reserve as a U. Military police officer thereafter, totaling 22 years of service.
The interview first focuses on Ackelsberg's early observations of gender inequalities within Judaism and then moves into her work within feminist organizations such as Ezrat Nashim and B'Not Esch to try to combat those injustices.
Ackelsberg's describes her feelings about current gay issues such as the use of the word "queer" amd gay marriage.