Musing: Full Circle for a Firebrand Feminist

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A long article in The New Yorker chronicles the life and death of radical feminist  Shulamith Firestone, who angrily rejected her Jewish heritage and whose name in the 1960s became synonymous with the jettisoning of traditional mores.

Ms. Firestone died last August at 67, after increasingly exhibiting signs of schizophrenia over the final decades of her life, during which she survived on public assistance and the kindness of others.  She eventually became a recluse, living in a East Village tenement and refusing visitors.

The article, by the Jewish feminist journalist and author Susan Faludi, includes a deeply moving image, recounting how a spurned visitor to the shut-in recalled hearing “a torrent of Hebrew coming from inside” the tenement.  “Firestone,” the article explains, “was reciting Jewish prayers.”

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