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This interview with Elizabeth Shaw was conducted remotely via Zoom on August 28, 2020. This is the second interview recorded with Elizabeth, a school librarian and part-time religious school educator at Rodeph Sholom, a Jewish elementary school located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The interview begins with a reflection from Elizabeth on her role in a broader school community and her beliefs about childcare as a communal rather than a two-parent task. In the interview, she also discusses a number of challenges that have arisen in Rodeph Sholom's reopening plan for 2020. The school is dependent on tuition to run, and with parents advocating for a variety of their own needs, Elizabeth sees teachers being stretched thin. Topics discussed on this theme include: an administration that is more concerned with placating tuition-paying parents than attending to teacher needs; limited power of teachers to assert their priorities due to their non-union status; the burden of a combination of in-person and remote teaching requirements; and a difficult process for at-risk teachers applying for health accommodations. She also critiques the responses of parents to New York City moving a number of homeless people into a hotel across the street from the school, and she reflects on the discussions about racism and safety that have ensued.
Noah Schoen is a community organizer and oral historian based in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the co-founder of Meanings of October 27th, an oral history project that has interviewed 105 Pittsburghers about their life histories and reflections on the October 27th, 2018 synagogue shooting at the Tree of Life building. He is also the Community Outreach Associate at the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, where he works to strengthen the Center's approach to dismantling antisemitism and the injustices of today. A 2017-2018 JOIN for Justice Organizing Fellow and two-time "Don't Kvetch, Organize" course instructor, Noah has been listening and organizing in Jewish communities and the labor movement for over ten years.
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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.