After reading several articles, I have finally had enough as it relates to the criticism of Facebook COO, author and Miami native Sheryl Sandberg. I couldn't let another minute go by without sharing my opinion.
Let me begin by saying that the perception from critics that Sheryl is a rich, elitist, wealthy white woman isn’t only abhorrent and sexist in its own form, but far from the truth.
I had the pleasure to grow up with Sheryl as well as her sister Michelle and through our summers at Jewish camp we shared similar experiences.
We weren't born into some type of royalty or anointed into our careers because we had an important last name. Yes, we had the luxury of parents that worked tirelessly to raise us with good values, but we had to work for everything we achieved. We weren't poor, but we weren't spoiled either and we were raised with an almost Puritan work ethic. It was ingrained in our souls that we had to fight as individuals to achieve a level of success despite real adversities that existed, including discrimination by some for being Jewish.
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But we also were taught as reform Jews that we have an additional obligation to help others through Tikkun Olam, Hebrew for repairing the world, which is exactly what Sheryl Sandberg is doing with her “Lean in” campaign.
Sheryl worked tirelessly to achieve success and I don't mean that in the financial sense. Her true success lies in the principle that although she is fully aware that structural barriers will always exist for women, she challenges women to take matters into their own hands. She implores women to empower themselves despite the obvious external barriers that exist and not allow themselves to play into gender stereotypes.
This isn’t a lesson that is unique to women that are trying to make it in the corporate world, as some critics have suggested, but a lesson to all women rich, poor or in between to empower themselves no matter their circumstances, station or standing in the world. As far as I'm concerned that is actually a modern day form of collective social action as well as social protest.
Sheryl's Lean In and now her challenge to men to Lean In Together is making a difference. I'm proud of our hometown hero Sheryl Sandberg. She is actually a modern day feminist and she should be celebrated.
Fred Menachem, executive producer, Gray Zone Radio Show, Miami