Judith Stein

Judy and I first “met” in 1979 when we were organizing an east coast Feminist Fat Liberation conference that was held in New Haven, CT in the spring of 1980. We did the organizing (with others’ help, of course) via mail and telephone — this was WAY before email or other hyper-fast means to communicate. We actually met right before the conference in 1980 and we maintained a loving long-distance friendship for those 30 years. We never lived in the same city or even on the same coast.

I have SO many images of Judy and our friendship flooding my mind right now. Way too many to put in this post but know that they are rich, loving, ass-kicking, shared activist, exasperating, artistic and wonderful, with lots of delicious things to eat running through them.

Elana told me that in her hospital visit to Judy she reminded Judy that it was Rosh Hashonah and that the Book of Life was opened and that Judy could write her own page. (Nevermind the traditional version where God writes your page – knowing Judy we know she would be very much in charge of her own!) That comment opened up an image of Judy that I find very comforting so I’ll share it here.

My first image was of Judy’s page in the Book of Life: It’s illustrated — maybe even illuminated like Medieval manuscripts — with gold leaf and flowers around the edges and also with many images of beautiful fat women. Then her page became three-dimensional, like a children’s pop-up book, with a stage that opens out of the page and velvet curtains and tassels and of course lots of lights and props. The stage is in a beautiful, restored old theater, with fabulous decor (and of course, armless seats accessible to all). Judy comes onto that stage — and rest assured she will be out there — to sing, read, to perform. The audience quiets to that full-house hush, each of us eagerly ready to enjoy the magnificence and creativity that was our Judy. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry, we’ll cry, we’ll cry….

Judy, I will miss you terribly, but I am grateful for your release from pain and anxiety.

Love always,
Cambridge MA 9/13/2010


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