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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 7/2/20


Some of you may remember my sister, Gale. Some may know of her from stories they’ve heard. Others may only know of her tragic death from cancer at age 37. If these Musings make it to August 14th, which would have been her 62nd birthday, you’ll hear more about her then. In the meantime, I was pleasantly surprised to see this post on Facebook last week from one of Gale’s best friends. The writer is a professor who grew up in Orange County with us. Her parents and ours were very close. I could expound upon the following, but it requires no explanation. It speaks not only to the memory of my sister, but to the memory of happier times, when people could disagree, discuss and collaborate:

"Today, as I spend too much time arguing about politics, I miss my friend, Gale Sonnenberg, z”l, sister of Glenn Sonnenberg. Gale was a conservative. I, as all my Facebook friends know, am a liberal. We loved to discuss politics, and we would argue and argue until we got to a point of clarity and agreement. It turned out that we had the same goal - making this country a better place, including for the poor and the suffering. We had very different ideas about how to reach those goals though. She believed in private action; I believe in a substantial role for the state.

The thing about Gale that was really inspiring is that she put her Conservative values into practice, making the world a better place by her private actions. She taught business law in a Los Angeles Community College. Her students were mainly poor women of color. For all of my liberal thoughts and proclamations, I was teaching in a university with a predominantly white, rich student body. Gale did more for social justice by, as she put it, helping those women pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

For all that I might want to talk about how the very fact that bootstraps are needed for poor people of color is a stain on our society or how the problems of systemic racism need systemic responses, Gale was doing social justice work just by teaching people without privilege. I don’t think she would have called it social justice, but maybe she realized it as her special mitzvah.

I miss a country in which we can have actual democratic deliberation in which we can find common goals and change each other’s minds.

And [name redacted for privacy], your post today also brought Gale to mind because #fuckcancer. She died way too young."

Gale would have liked this. And she most assuredly would not be happy the current political situation.

Have a good day,


Yes, that’s Gale at her law school graduation. Our grandfather, Eddie Abrahams, is to her left. I have no idea who the other guy is.

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