Published On: Wed, Mar 30th, 2016

In Wisconsin, a Feisty Jewish Justice Fights Her Way Through a Bitter Race



Milwaukee — As a young girl growing up in Connecticut, Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg – who sits on Wisconsin’s second highest court and is now running for state Supreme Court – made what many would consider an unusual, albeit mature decision.

She refused a bat mitzvah.

Kloppenburg, 62, recalls that she was active in her Conservative synagogue – The Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford, Connecticut – and performed community service.

So what was the problem?
At the time, the synagogue would allow only boys to read from the Torah, Kloppenburg said.
”I refused to have a bat mitzvah if I could I not read the Torah — I didn’t want something different from the boys, ” Kloppenburg said. “I guess I showed that I was pretty independent and strong-willed.”
Those are traits she may need now, too. Kloppenburg is facing an ally of Wisconsin’s cutting-edge right-wing governor, Scott Walker, in her bid for an open seat on the state’s high court, and is neck-deep in what many observers view as the most politicized judicial race in the country.
It is a race even more bitter than her unsuccessful run for a seat on the state Supreme Court in 2011. Kloppenburg has been attacked for being soft on criminals while her opponent, incumbent Justice Rebecca Bradley, has had to defend writings from 1992 in which she said, among other anti-gay comments, that homosexuals with AIDS had effectively chosen to kill themselves.

Read the full story at forward, by Cary Spivak



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