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Sol Jaffe

Sol Jaffe

Sol Jaffe

In 1962, Al Shanker was after Sol Jaffe's job. The two had worked together closely in the Teachers Guild and the early UFT, with Shanker supporting Jaffe in his first bid to become the UFT's secretary. But now Jaffe had sided with the "militants" and the two were at odds. It wasn't the last time they would clash.

Whether it was Shanker's support for the Vietnam war or his handling of the tumultuous 1968 Ocean Hill-Brownsville blowup, Jaffe was unsparing in his criticism. He even went so far as to liken Shanker to a "czar" even "Caesar." You'd think that if Al Shanker had an "enemies list" the name of Sol Jaffe would be in bold.

Not so.

Ask Shanker who to talk to about the history of the union, and he insists you don't leave out Sol Jaffe. No wonder. While he claims not to have the steel-trap memory of his younger days, Jaffe owns the best collection of newspaper clips and UFT literature around.

When Jaffe wasn't compiling history, though, he was making it. As chapter leader at JHS 139, he built one of the biggest chapters in the city. Jaffe, a 1965 recipient of the Smallheiser award, also was chairman of the collective bargaining committee and junior high vice president.

His wife, Judith Brown, was a UFT firebrand in her own right and former chapter leader at Bayside HS.