• Sara Perman


  • Fran

    What a beautiful woman she was way back then! I am thinking of the Bible book of Esther and how she helped to save the nation in her young days!!

  • Susan

    She still matters to Jewish women. When I was growing up Jewish woman were just not considered beautiful. The standard of beauty was blond and WASP looking. I have heard Black women talk about this, but it isn’t as well known that Jewish women were affect by the same beauty standards too.

    The image of the Jewish woman was the stereotypical Jewish mother, the Jewish American Princess or fat unattractive woman. Bess Meyerson gave Jewish women other options.

  • Her life still matters. Because it is about American Judaism.

    There is no indication from the capsule biographies about her that she was religiously observant at all and the smart money contemplating survey research on American Jews would wager she was not. Her life does not say much about American Judaism, unless you take it somewhat uncharitably as an example of how little Judaism matters to ethnic Jews. The surnames of both of her husbands suggest she inter-married, and did so at times (1946 and 1962) when it was atypical for American Jews to do so. She had just one child (who inter-married) and appears to have died without a single grandchild.

    She had certain talents. She was a capable pianist, one who did play professionally for a time. She was a television personality of the ilk of Arlene Francis or Bill Cullen. There’s nothing wrong with that, but these do not constitute grand achievements or employments which provide a reflective glow on your community. She was well-connected, able to land patronage positions in city hall under John Lindsay and Ed Koch. She was a good sport, willing to help her friend Koch out by posing as his girlfriend. She was beautiful enough in her fifties to poach the husband of a woman a half-generation her junior. Loose morals, divorce-and-remarriage, and adultery do not make a contribution to Judaism, American or otherwise.

    She had an interesting but misspent life. Light a candle for her. Do not laud her. If you’re like most of us, your grandmother did more with less.

  • By the way, Rabbi Salkin, Midge Decter is 87, and still working part time and seasonally. She’s been devotedly married for 58 years, bore 4 children (three of whom did not intermarry), and has 11 grandchildren; among them is a daughter who made aliya (and gave the world four children). Midge Decter has also been a capable producer of sensible social criticism and spent the better part of a generation midwifing literature as an editor at Basic Books. Midge Decter could never have won a Miss America contest, and only one of her four children is above-the-median handsome. However, she’s given the American Jewish community about as much as one woman could. I’m looking forward to your respectful obituary of her.

  • When I was growing up Jewish woman were just not considered beautiful.

    When I was growing up, the suburban Jewish beauty was a recognizable type. Dark hair, brown eyes, slightly swarthy. I’m past fifty. And, no, I do not think the heritable traits which made for such beauty just appeared out of nowhere in 1945 or were not noticed before then.