Great-Granddaughter of Lewis Dembitz Weds


As interested as I am in Louis D. Brandeis’s uncle, Lewis Dembitz, I was quite happy when I ran into a recent article in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency about his great-granddaughter Shoshana Dembitz and her recent marriage to her partner of 18 years, Abigail Grafton.

As interesting as the marriage is, I was more intrigued by the account of Ms. Dembitz’s life. Her father, named like his grandfather, Lewis N. Dembitz, worked at the Federal Reserve System. Her mother, Florence de Haas, was the daughter of Jacob de Haas, the man who introduced Brandeis to Zionism and who wrote the first biography of Brandeis. She was an attorney, who, like Brandeis, appeared often before the Interstate Commerce Commission. Apparently, she later worked as a civil rights attorney until her career was derailed by accusations of communist affiliations. Shoshana seems to have spent her life working  for progressive and Jewish causes. She founded a non-profit elementary school, a community credit union, as well as a couple Jewish communities. It would appear that she has inherited her great-grandfather’s sense of commitment towards public service as well as his devotion to his faith.

Abigail Grafton does not appear to be a slouch either. In the sixties, she was active in civil rights and anti-war protests and lived in an anarchists’ collective. She later became a psychotherapist and founded the Sonoma Institute, which according to the article, “trained therapists with a feminist slant.” In the last paragraph of the article, Grafton identified with people who are “conscientious objectors and shit disturbers.” That description sounds like it could apply to Dembitz and Grafton as well.

Mazel tov Shoshana and Abigail!

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