Between the Lines: Shanda: A Memoir of Shame and Secrecy
SHANDA: A MEMOIR OF SHAME AND SECRECY
Part of Between the Lines: Author Conversations from The Library of JTS
The word “shanda” is defined as shame or disgrace in Yiddish. This book, Shanda, tells the story of three generations of complicated, intense 20th-century Jews for whom the desire to fit in and the fear of public humiliation either drove their aspirations or crushed their spirit.
In this candid memoir, author and activist Letty Cottin Pogrebin exposes the fiercely-guarded lies and intricate cover-ups woven by dozens of members of her extended family. Beginning with her own long-suppressed secret, the story spirals through the hidden lives of her parents and relatives—revealing the truth about their origins, personal traumas, marital misery, abandoned children, religious transgressions, sexual identity, radical politics, and supposedly embarrassing illnesses. While unmasking their charades and disguises, Pogrebin also showcases her family’s remarkable talent for reinvention in a narrative that is, by turns, touching, searing, and surprisingly universal.
About Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Letty Cottin Pogrebin, co-founder of Ms. magazine, is a nationally acclaimed writer, activist, and public speaker. The author of twelve books, her articles and essays have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including The New York Times, The Nation, and Huffington Post. She is a co-founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus and the Ms. Foundation for Women; a past president of the Authors Guild and Americans for Peace Now; and has served on the board of the Harvard Divinity School Women in Religion Program and the Brandeis University Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Among her many honors is a Yale University Poynter Fellowship in Journalism, a Matrix Award for excellence in communication and the arts, and an Emmy Award for her work as consulting editor on the TV version of Marlo Thomas’ Free to Be, You and Me.