Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, a writer, activist, and professor, was born in 1945 in Brooklyn, and has worked in social change movements since the sixties. She earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley, where she taught the first Women’s Studies course in the department. She currently teaches at Queens College in the Jewish Studies, History and Comparative Literature departments. She is the author of several books, including: The Issue Is Power (Aunt Lute Books 1992), My Jewish Face & Other Stories (Aunt Lute Books, 1990), We Speak in Code (Motheroot Publications, 1980), and The Colors of Jews (Indiana University Press 2007). Her writings are widely published and anthologized. To learn more about Melanie, visit her website.
Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz passed away on July 10, 2018 at age 72.
My Jewish Face & Other Stories chronicles the coming of age and coming out of a daughter of the Jewish left. Wandering from Brooklyn to Harlem and Berkeley in the sixties, from the intense feminist politics of the seventies to isolation and to the regathering of activism in the eighties, Kaye/Kantrowitz's women struggle for lesbian community, for proud Jewish identity and always for justice steeped in compassion. As humanly warm and funny as they are serious, these stories will reach with great hope and energy across generations and across cultures.
The issue is power in this collection of essays, speeches, and reviews spanning 15 years of writing and organizing. Political activist and writer Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz brings an insightful eye and a sharp analytical mind to address a wide range of issues in contemporary America: race, class, anti-Semitism, lesbian culture, war, sexual power, identity politics, Israel, Palestine and the Middle East, international and domestic violence against and by women. Kaye/Kantrowitz is indomitable in the fight against being worn down, hushed up. Her work reminds us of the strength in community.
PRAISE FOR MY JEWISH FACE
“I like this book a lot. It’s full of history, herstories and plain stories—and in beautiful combination and variety—all bringing the truth, the angry adversarial truth, the happy love-finding truth of our women’s movement years.”
—Grace Paley, writer and activist
“Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz is a lesbian writer who does not stint in these fictional explorations. Her writing sacrifices neither clarity nor depth. As she recreates the contexts of our lives, she gives us back our own voices.”
—Judith McDaniel, poet, essayist, activist
“Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz’s stories are urgently, often brutally honest…I came away from My Jewish Face as if from a roomful of vivid and articulate people who have discovered they have nothing left to hide. I value Kaye/Kantrowitz’s voice for everything it says that comforts and everything that hurts—this is a sharp, sad, funny document of difficult times and I hope it falls into many, many hungry hands.”
—Rosellen Brown, novelist and poet