- Stories & Articles by Sonia
Articles and Stories by Sonia Pressman Fuentes
- On July 29, 2020, the new website of the Cornell Club of Sarasota-Manatee was launched. It includes Sonia's article on her friendship with the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
- Sonia's article, "The Meadows has a fascinating history," appeared in the online newspaper, the Sarasota News Leader, on Sept. 13, 2019. Sonia bought a condo at The Meadows in March 1999 and thereafter spent varying amounts of time there during the winters. Beginning on Nov. 1, 2006, she lived there full-time until Nov. 1, 2019, when she moved to a nearby Jewish senior community called Aviva. In early January 2020, The Meadoword, the newspaper of The Meadows, republished that article. You can access it here.
- Sonia's article, "How Being an Immigrant Shaped My Life," appeared in the summer newsletter of the Jewish Genealogical Society of SW Florida, published on April 3, 2019, and on its website. You can read the article in pdf format here.
- On Jan. 14, 2019, Sonia's remembrance of her late, feminist friend, Dr. Bernice "Bunny" Sandler (known as the "Godmother of Title IX"), who died at the age of 90 on Jan. 5, 2019, in her Washington, D.C. condo, was published in the "We Remember" section of the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA).
- Sonia's write-up of her experiences with Hurricane Irma in Sarasota in September of 2017 appeared in the Cornell Alumni Magazine of July/Aug. 2018 in the Class Notes for her class, the class of 1950, on page 69.
- On March 20, 2018, Mary Wilson, president of the Greater Orlando, FL chapter of NOW, put Sonia's write-up on how she became a feminist in the chapter's enewsletter.
- In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2018, The Forward newspaper shared its readers' stories, including Sonia's.
- Sonia participates in a one-hour webinar set up by the National Women's History Project (NWHP) on Jan. 13, 2016. 1) Click here to read about NWHP. 2) To listen to the oral comments and see the written comments, click on "webinar archive" toward the bottom of your screen. On the "webinar archive" screen, it is, however, very difficult to move the written comments up or down. 3) To get a clearer view of the written comments and to be able to move them up and down easily, click on "Chat Log." 4) Click on "Final PowerPoint Presentation" if you would like to see that.
- Sonia's article on the second wave of the women's movement: its origin, accomplishments, and the problems that remain--both in the U.S. and globally--appeared on June 14, 2015, on the website of the Institute for Science and Human Values.
- Sonia's write-up appeared on the Facebook page of the Red Star Line Museum commemorating the 81st anniversary of the arrival in the U.S. from Germany, via Belgium, of Sonia and the rest of her immediate family.
- "My Jewish Weekend in Sarasota," sent by Sonia to her friends, Nov. 16, 2014.
- "History Without Hitler?", Op-Ed in the New York Times and its international edition, October 26, 2014. This Op-Ed was written by Sonia's friend, Timothy Ryback, and edited by Sonia.
- "End of Life Issue," October 16, 2014.
- “Top 18 Issues Challenging Women Today,” The Shriver Report, May 5, 2014.
- Sonia’s letter of April 16, 2014, to Bishop Frank J. DeWane, bishop of the Venice, FL diocese, is on the blog of Bridget Mary Meehen.
- On Nov. 1, 2018, a paperback anthology of writings by older women about their lives entitled “You’re Doing What?: Older Women’s Tales of Achievement & Adventure,” edited by Marjorie Penn Lasky, was published. In a section called " A Life of Activism," it contains a piece by Sonia named "Eighty-five years old in Sarasota County, Florida." The book can be purchased from Amazon. For purchases in bulk, Regent Press (email@example.com) will take orders for 10 or more books and provide them at a discount.
- “The Second Wave of the Women’s Movement—Past, Present, and Future,” Women You You Should Know website, March 26, 2014.
- Sonia reminisces about her three British feminist friends, March 25, 2014.
- Sonia’s article about her trip to the Catskills appeared in the Jewish News of Sarasota-Manatee (Jan. 2014, Vol. 44, No. 1, p. 23A).
- Three-part series by Sonia in the Sullivan County Democrat, a newspaper in the Catskill Mountains of New York State.
- Sonia’s submission to the book Mother Knows Better - Sense and Nonsense from American Moms by Patti Murphy is one of over two hundred momisms in the book.
- Sonia’s article about the travails of The Forward after Superstorm Sandy appeared in Der Bay (Vol. XXIII, No. II, Mar.-Apr. 2013, p. 12).
- NOW (National Organization for Women) Founder Sonia Fuentes Gives Back To Education.
- "A heart-healthy diet is easier to adhere to than it may seem, especially with plenty of grocery and restaurant choices in Sarasota," December 7, 2012. (To see this article, which first appeared in the online Sarasota News Leader, once the large picture appears, scroll down to the article.) On April 27, 2015, the article was published on the website of Vegan Everyday Stories. On May 22, 2015, a shortened version of the article appeared on the website of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.
- “A Journey of Discovery,” Sonia’s article about her September 2011 week’s trip to Germany exploring Jewish life in Germany, published in two parts.
- "Finding My Identity as a Feminist" - This article appeared in the online magazine, Identity, on September 21, 2011.
- "My Story" - This article appeared in HavaMag, Issue 4, August, 2011.
- To access the article:
- Click on the arrow to the right until it takes you to the Table of Contents on the left.
- Click on the first item in the Table of Contents, which is the article about Sonia, on page 10.
- When you come to the article, double click on each page to make the type readable.
- To access the article:
- "First Woman: Sonia Pressman Fuentes," appeared at the end of July 2011 in Ms. JD, an e-zine for women law students and lawyers.
- “Judging Our Future: Supreme Women Move Up,” about the increasing percent of women judges on the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts, went online in the Café section of On the Issues e-zine on December 21, 2010. In February of 2012, the article was added to the featured news & comments section of the website of Cornell University’s Avon Global Center for Women and Justice.
- "Advancing Rights: 1964 Marks the Beginning of a New Era" - This article was published in On The Issues Magazine, Café section, on August 25, 2010, in celebration of Women’s Equity Day, the 90th anniversary of suffrage, August 26, 2010.
- Sonia has written articles for Scitable, a website for women in science, or been introduced as a resource on women and employment law for Scitable, as follows:
- Sonia decries American women’s ignorance of the legal rights they have achieved since the early 1960s and lists those rights. (August 13, 2013)
- Sonia discusses breast implant ruptures and leaks. (Mar. 21, 2011)
- "Sonia Pressman Fuentes on Pregnancy Leave, Parental Care Leave, and the Law" - Sonia explains the law on leave and benefits in connection with pregnancy, delivery, and post-delivery. (July 28, 2010)
- Correction to posting of June 3, 2010, introducing Sonia as Scitable’s resource on women and employment law. (June 4, 2010)
- Sonia is introduced as Scitable’s resource on women and employment law. (June 3, 2010)
- "My Life After Divorce" - Sonia discusses her life after divorce for a “Divorce and Women’s Success” series. (2010)
- "A Negative Experience, A Positive Outcome" - The lucky day Fuentes was fired. (2009)
- "First Wedding at the Fontainebleau," an unpublished anecdote, November 23, 2008.
- Added as a Luminary on inspiremetoday.com, Oct. 2009, and updated in Nov. 2013.
- “If You Build It, They Will Come—The Birth of A Yiddish Club,” published in Der Bay, The International Anglo-Yiddish Newsletter (Vol. XVII, No. 9, Nov. 2007). Sonia starts a Yiddish Club in Sarasota, FL. Also published in the Gantseh Megillah. (Nov. 14, 2007, Issue 8.10)
- "My Fortuitous Escape from the Holocaust and My Life Thereafter" - This article is published on a Web site called "Women and the Holocaust." (2006)
- “A Love Letter to Ostuni” (2005)
- "My Visit to Piltz" - A sequel to "A Visit to Piltz." (2005)
- "Three-hour Tour Turns Unforgettable" - This article, by Fuentes, recalling the saga of her trip to the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford estates in Ft. Myers, FL, appeared in The East County Observer, a newspaper in East Manatee and Sarasota Counties, Florida, January 16, 2003.
- "I Lucky Everything: The Story of a Real `Miss Saigon'" - Along with a manicure, a reminder of how immigrants revitalize our nation. (2002)
- "A Visit to Piltz" - This article is about Fuentes' August 2001 journey to her parents' birthplace, a village called Piltz in Poland. (2001)
- "How I Built a Life in Retirement" - Sonia had a difficult time adjusting to retirement, and then she entered the best years of her life. (2000)
- "How I Published My Memoir: A Lawyer-Feminist's Story" - This is the story of the six years Fuentes spent in researching, writing, publishing and marketing her memoir and making the transition from being a lawyer to a writer and public speaker. (Also see: "How I Got Published in South Africa) (2000)
- "A Seder in Shanghai" - Fuentes participates in a seder in a most unlikely city, Shanghai, China. This piece appeared previously in JoyZine and on Harry Leichter's website. (1999)
- "HUD Goes to the Moscow Trade Show" - This article was originally published in Sparks 28. March - April, 1999. (1999)
- Breast Cancer and Ruptured/Leaking Breast Implants - The story of Fuentes' experience with breast cancer. (1998)
- "Three United States Feminists: A Personal Tribute" - This article is about Fuentes' most memorable encounters with Alice Paul, the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray, and Catherine East (1998). Later that year, a slightly different version of the segment on Alice Paul was published in Moondance. A more readable version can be accessed here.
- “Representing Women,” a 17-page article, originally published in Frontiers, a Journal of Women Studies (Vol. 18, No.3, Nov. 3, 1997), by the Washington State University Press, is available by emailing Sonia at firstname.lastname@example.org and asking her to email it to you or by purchasing it at jstor.org. This was Sonia’s first published article about women’s rights.
- "House of History" (written in 1996) -- A history of the headquarters of the National Woman's Party (NWP). The house, most recently known as the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument and previously known as the Sewall-Belmont House, was for many years the headquarters of the National Woman's Party. However, at the end of 2020, NWP ended its existence and transferred its functions to the Alice Paul Institute in New Jersey.
- "Magnolias" - A Washington, DC, love story. (1996)
- "Family Past Unfolds Like Detective Story" - Research Leads to Ship's Records, a Movie and Snapshots. (1995)
- “Impressions: The Status of Women in Southeast Asia,” published in the Common Law Lawyer (no longer in existence), Sept.-Oct. 1978. (To enlarge the print on machines using Windows, hold down the control button of your computer while moving the wheel of your mouse. If viewing through Adobe Acrobat, enlarge the text with the plus button, or use the percentage dropdown list.)
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Sonia Pressman Fuentes
End of Life Issue
October 16, 2014
I cannot come to terms with death. My father died in 1968 at the age of seventy-four. And in the minute of his death, his life and everything he did was all over. And when I die, there will be no one left who really knew him. That is what concerns me. I wrote a memoir, much of which was about my parents, as a way of keeping them alive but, of course, a book can't keep anyone alive.
My father was born in 1863 in a shtetl in Poland named Piltz, an hour's ride from Cracow. His mother, who ran a bakery, had several husbands and her third husband, about whom I know nothing, was my father's father. Why he had the German name of Pressman I do not know.
My father never attended any school and had contempt for education all his life. He was illiterate except that he learned to read printed Yiddish while we were living in Antwerp, Belgium in 1933-4 after fleeing from Berlin, Germany because he'd heard that in order to be admitted to the U.S., one had to know at least one language. A man we knew came to our home in Antwerp and taught my father to read Yiddish and thus my father was able to read the Yiddish newspapers. In one of them he read that ships were leaving from Antwerp for the U.S. and that's how my family came to the U.S. on May 1, 1934.
When they were living in Berlin and were well-to-do, my mother used to hire tutors to come to our house to teach my father, but he always ran away when he heard one was coming.
When we lived in North Miami Beach, FL and I was attending law school, I'd come home from my classes every day to find my mother seated at a table trying to teach my father how to sign his name. I don't know if she ever managed it.
At the age of fourteen, my father illegally ran across the Polish border to Germany and there began to work in an establishment and learned how to be a tailor. Later, he became a prosperous businessman. My family had maids in our home in Berlin and my father owned and ran a men's clothing store with a small factory in the back. Shortly before we left Germany in 1933, he had bought a 44-apartment building for investment purposes.
Under pressure from my brother, Hermann, who was eighteen in 1933, my father agreed to leave Berlin because of the threat to the Jews from Hitler and the Nazi regime. So, he sat down in a room with a small group of Nazis and gave them our men's clothing business and the apartment house we had recently bought for a fraction of their value and they allowed us to leave Germany. My father had already had the foresight to send money out of the country to banks in other countries.
In the summer of 1933, we came to Antwerp, Belgium, but when we couldn't get visas to legally remain in Belgium, and were under threat of deportation to Poland (my parents' birthplace), my father saw that item in the Yiddish newspaper about ships leaving for the U.S., and we boarded a Red Star Line ship for the U. S., arriving here on May 1, 1934.
When we arrived in the U.S., my father for a while returned to the men's clothing business with a partner in NYC. But he didn't like the pace of life in NYC and, after we took a brief summer vacation in 1935 in the Catskills Mountains of NY State, in 1936 we moved there. My father had decided to go into the summer resort business, a business about which he knew nothing. But that didn't faze him. He eventually bought fifty acres of land in Monticello, NY, on which he erected twenty-five bungalows, a home for our family, a swimming pool, a handball court, a casino, and a small general store. He ran that colony successfully until 1947, when he sold it and moved first to Long Beach, LI, where my married brother lived, and then to North Miami Beach, FL, where I was attending law school.
He lived to see his son become one of the most successful realtors in Long Beach and to see his daughter graduate first in her class at the University of Miami School of Law.
One of many things I remember about him was that after bribing a clerk in Monticello to grant him a driver's license (since he couldn't read) he would sometimes drive by himself from Monticello, NY to Miami Beach, FL--without the ability to read a single street sign. I don't know how he did it as he hated asking for directions. When my mother and I were in the car with him on occasion, she'd make him drive up to anyone on the street to ask for directions, and as the person was giving them directions, my father would drive off.
Although short in stature, to me he was bigger than life.
So that is what I resent about death and the end of life: that it ends and erases forever the life of a man like my father.