March 6, 2003
This is what happens in this week's parsha. In Parshat Pekuday, Moses gives the Israelites an accounting of how much gold, silver and copper was contributed to build the mishkan (the Tabernacle that held the Ten Commandments). This helps the Israelites to truly own the mishkan -- it is their own creation that they can now offer to God. Moses knew that doing the math helped the Israelites feel good about their generosity.
March 8 is International Women's Day!
The first National Woman's Day was observed in the United States in 1909. It became International Women's Day in 1911, when European women joined the movement to promote and protect the equal rights of women. Only a few days later, the famous and tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire occurred in New York. More than 140 working girls, mostly Italian and Jewish immigrants, were killed. This spurred women around the world to join the movement to improve women's working conditions, salaries and participation in politics. Women have come a long way since those days.