This supplement updates through early 2008 "Annotated Bibliography and Guide to Archival Resources on the History of Jewish Women in America" created by Phyllis Holman Weisbard in 1997; © Phyllis Holman Weisbard, 1997, 2008, (an earlier version of the bibliography through 1997 is also found on pages 1553-1586 (v. 2) of Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, edited by Paula E. Hyman and Deborah Dash Moore, and sponsored by the American Jewish Historical Society. 2 v. New York, Routledge, 1997).
Abrams, Jeanne E. Jewish Women Pioneering the Frontier Trail: A History in the American West. New York: New York University Press, 2006. 279p.
This first scholarly book focusing exclusively on the history Jewish women in the western states demonstrates both that their contributions to the region were disproportionate to their numbers and that their pattern was different from Jewish women in the eastern U.S., where Jewish communities were more numerous and much larger -- and from the Upper Midwest, where there was more Jewish involvement in homesteading and farming than in other regions. Many Jewish women in the West became businesswomen in their own right, rather than in family operations found in the East. Others took advantage of the more open opportunities available in the West and went to universities. Some were able to attend professional schools, becoming lawyers and doctors. Living in states that passed women's suffrage earlier than elsewhere, Jewish women also entered politics. As they did in other places, Jewish women in the West created Jewish institutions and sustained the Jewish community. The stories of individuals related in the book included both notables and ordinary women.
Agosin, Marjorie. Uncertain Travelers: Conversations With Jewish Women Immigrants to America.Edited and Annotator Mary G. Berg. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, for Brandeis University Press, 1999. 214 p.
Interviews with nine women who arrived in the United States from Latin America and Europe between 1939 and 1970. They discuss their childhood experiences in wartime, their education, anti-Semitism encountered in their homeland and in the U.S., and their families, careers, and emotional lives. The women are social worker Zezette Larsen (b. Brussels, 1929), microbiologist Elena Ottolenghi Nightingale (b. Livorno, Italy, 1932), social work professor Susan Bendor (b. Budapest, 1937), psychologist Matilde Salganicoff (b. Buenos Aires, 1930), Renata Brailovsky (b. Breslau, Germany [now Poland], 1931; moved to Chile, then to the U.S.), Harvard professor of French and comparative literature Susan Rubin Suleiman (b. Budapest, 1939), psychotherapist Katherine Scherzer Wenger (b. Satu Mare, Romania, 1950), neonatologist Silvia Zeldis Testa (b. Valparaiso, Chile, 1950), and anthropologist Ruth Behar (b. Havana, 1956).
Antin, Mary. Selected Letters of Mary Antin. Edited by Evelyn Salz. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1999. 160 p.
Collection of 150 letters that provide a fuller portrait of Antin than do her published works. Salz finds the letters "affirm her ardent patriotism but reveal her concerns that she give an accurate portrayal of Russian Jewish history. They document her firm belief in open immigration and the possibility of citizen action to bring about political change. They record her Zionist work. And, finally, they lay bare the depths of despair that the end of her marriage caused" (p.xxii).
Antler, Joyce, editor. Talking Balk: Images of Jewish Women in American Popular Culture. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, for Brandeis University Press, 1998. 301 p.
Essays analyze the images of Jewish women in mass media, narratives, and stories from throughout the twentieth century. Antler sees two parallel developments reflected: 1) Jewish women were regarded in multiple ways within the context of their times, and 2) images of Jewish women helped create an American Jewish cultural identity, a necessary prerequisite for becoming American. Jewish women themselves had many means of response, from internalized self-hatred and attempts to "pass" as non-Jewish to "talking back" to the image creators. Contents: "Translating Immigrant Women: Surfacing the Manifold Self," by Janet Burstein; "Projected Images: Portraits of Jewish Women in Early American Film," by Sharon Pucker Rivo; "The 'Me' of Me: Voices of Jewish Girls in Adolescent Diaries of the 1920s and 1950s," by Joan Jacobs Brumberg; "From Sophie Tucker to Barbra Streisand: Jewish Women Entertainers As Reformers," by June Sochen; "The Jewish-American World of Gertrude Berg: the Goldbergs on Radio and Television, 1930-1950," by Donald Weber; "Sweet Natalie: Herman Wouk's Messenger to the Gentiles," by Susanne Klingenstein; "Cinderellas Who (Almost) Never Become Princesses: Subversive Representations of Jewish Women in Postwar Popular Novels," by Riv-Ellen Prell; "Faith and Puttermesser: Contrasting Images of Two Jewish Feminists," by Bonnie Lyons; "Our Mothers and Our Sisters and Our Cousins and Our Aunts: Dialogues and Dynamics in Literature and Film," by Sylvia Barack Fishman; "The Way She Really Is: Images of Jews and Women in the Films of Barbra Streisand," by Felicia Herman; "From Critic to Playwright: Fleshing Out Jewish Women in Contemporary Drama," by Sarah Blacher Cohen; "Eschewing Esther/Embracing Esther: the Changing Representation of Biblical Heroines," by Gail Twersky Reimer; "Claiming Our Questions: Feminism and Judaism in Women's Haggadot," by Maida E. Solomon; "Epilogue: Jewish Women on Television: Too Jewish or Not Enough?" by Joyce Antler. (Some of the essays are individually listed and annotated elsewhere on this bibliography.)
Antler, Joyce. You Never Call! You Never Write: A History of the Jewish Mother. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. 321p.
A nuanced history of the American Jewish mother -- stereotypes and reality -- with chapters on self-sacrificing immigrant mothers, the iconic figure of Molly Goldberg, Jewish mother jokes, an anthropological study, and the "monster mother" (Sophie Portnoy), followed by a reconsideration and return to a more positive description by feminist scholars, and a postmodern take featuring Roseanne (Barr), The Nanny and more.
Apte, Helen Jacobus. Heart of a Wife: The Diary of a Southern Jewish Woman. Edited by Marcus D. Rosenbaum. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1998. 222 p.
Personal life of a Jewish woman born in Georgia in 1889 who spent her married life in Tampa, Miami, and Atlanta. The diary spans 1909-1946, with contextual historical commentary and editing by her grandson, journalist Rosenbaum.
Ashton, Dianne. Rebecca Gratz: Women and Judaism in Antebellum America. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1997. 329 p.
Tells Gratz's life story (1781-1869) set in the context of the Civil War and other events and important themes characteristic of 19th century Jewish life in America: assimilation, developing an Americanized religious education, incorporating increasing numbers of poor immigrant Jews, withstanding conversion, and Anti-Semitism. Gratz, who never married, devoted herself to her large extended family and to Jewish causes. She founded the first independent Jewish women's charitable society (Female Hebrew Benevolent Society), the first Jewish Sunday school (Hebrew Sunday School), and the first American Jewish foster home. These organizations were soon copied elsewhere. In creating institutional structures that suited American Jewish life, Gratz' influence on the development of American Judaism was immense. The section "The Lessons of the Hebrew Sunday School" is reprinted in American Jewish Women's History: A Reader, edited by Pamela S. Nadell, 26-42. New York: New York University Press, 2003.
Benson, Evelyn Rose. As We See Ourselves: Jewish Women in Nursing. Indianapolis, IN: Center Nursing Publishing, 2001. 196 p.
Seeks to fill the gap in nursing history, women's history, and Jewish history by "identifying the Jewish presence in nursing and by describing the contribution of Jewish women to nursing" (Preface). Most of the book focuses on American women. Covers both the promotion of nursing as a career in such publications as The American Jewess, and a negative attitude on the part of some Jewish parents towards that profession for their daughters. Profiles prominent women such as Lillian Wald and numerous other Jewish women nurses, including many who responded to a survey the author made in 1990, and discusses the creation that same year of the Hadassah National Center for Nurses Councils.
Coan, Peter M. Ellis Island Interviews: In Their Own Words. New York: Facts on File, 1997. 432 p.
Among the 140 oral history interviews conducted through the 1990s and sampled in the book, of people who entered the United States through Ellis Island, are life stories of numerous Jewish women from throughout Europe, as well as one each from Turkey and Palestine. The volume was produced in cooperation with the Ellis Island Research Foundation. Except for a few well-known immigrants, the narrators are referred to by pseudonyms.
Cohen, Jocelyn and Daniel Soyer. My Future is in America: Autobiographies of Eastern European Jewish Immigrants. New York: New York University Press, 2006. 328p.
Anthology of selected responses to the essay contest "Why I Left Europe and What I Have Accomplished in America," sponsored by the Yiddish Scientific Institute-YIVO in 1942, not long after YIVO relocated from Vilna to New York City. Over 200 essays in Yiddish were submitted, which are still housed in YIVO. In order to make the stories more accessible, Cohen and Soyer selected nine, which they translated and annotated. Of the nine, five are by women: Minnie Goldstein, Rose Schoenfeld, Rose Silverman, Bertha Fox, and Minnie Kusnetz. The essays trace their origins in Eastern Europe, emigration to America, and events and accomplishments in their lives in America. In their introduction, Cohen and Soyer discuss the modes of autobiographical writing these essay writers echo, including the theme of loss of religious faith and practices, commitment to Socialist principles, and working their way up from poverty to comfort. Unlike most published memoirs, the YIVO autobiographies "give an intimate view of gender relations in marriage, from the joys of shared domesticity to deep conflict over money, religion, emigration, and politics, both in Europe and America" (p.14).
Cohen, Sandor B. Women in the Military: a Jewish Perspective. Washington, DC: National Museum of American Jewish Military History, 1999. 72 p.
Catalog of an exhibition held at the Museum in 1999. Replete with photographs tracing the history of women in the military and highlighting the participation of Jewish women. Twelve Jewish women, for example, were included in the first graduating class of officers in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), Fort Des Moines, Iowa, August 1942. Women from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin, and other states reminisce about their stints in the WAACs (and its successor after 1943, the Women's Army Corps, or WACs), the Women's Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs), and the Navy Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVEs). Military nurses from Confederate hospital matron Phoebe Levy Pember through Vietnam nurse Marita Silverman, and chaplains Rabbi Bonnie Koppel and Rabbi Chana Timoner are also featured. Since 1978 women serve in the regular armed forces rather than in special corps, and Jewish women have continued to be represented among them.
Coser, Rose Laub, Laura S. Anker, and Andrew J. Perrin. Women of Courage: Jewish and Italian Immigrant Women in New York. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999. 162 p.
Based on interviews with women who came to America after World War II collected as part of a "World of Our Mothers" project conducted in the early 1980s, this work is a collaboration between a sociologist (Coser) and historian (Anker). Coser wrote Part One: "Immigrant Women and Families" (edited by Perrin following Coser's death), and Anker Part Two: "Women, Work, and Migration." Extensive quotations from the interviews let the women speak for themselves. Among the findings is that work outside the home was very important to the majority of women in establishing their self-worth and for the female friendships forged in the workplace. One significant difference between the Jewish and Italian women was that the Jewish women received more help from relatives and organizations than did their Italian counterparts. The authors deposited the complete interview transcripts in the Henry A. Murray Research Center, Radcliffe Institute.
Danzi, Angela D. From Home to Hospital: Jewish and Italian American Women and Childbirth, 1920-1940. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1997. 200 p.
Contrasts the choice of most Jewish women giving birth after 1920 to consult physicians and have their babies in hospitals with the varying patterns of Italian women. Some Italians continued to give birth at home, assisted by midwives; others went to hospitals. Still others had their first births at home and later deliveries in hospitals. Danzi's interviews reveal that the choices were shaped by advice from women relatives and friends and personal relationships with physicians.
Diner, Hasia R. and Beryl Lieff Benderly. Her Works Praise Her: A History of Jewish Women in America From Colonial Times to the Present. New York: Basic Books, 2002. 462 p.
Distills a generation of scholarship on the history of Jewish women in America into a sustained and lively narrative that emphasizes the influence of gender on all facets of the lives of Jewish women (and men). Supports the notion that without an understanding of the distinctive experiences of Jewish women with respect to education, family, work, community, and leisure, American Jewish history is incomplete and inaccurate. While primarily a social history, Her Works Praise Her is filled with portraits of individual women, some already renowned and others deserving to be better known.
Epstein, Helen, editor. Jewish Women 2000: Conference Papers From the HRIJW International Scholarly Exchanges, 1997-1998. Working Paper, 6. Waltham, MA: Hadassah Research Institute on Jewish Women, 1999. 242 p.
Among the papers are three that address North American Jewish women's history and contemporary status: "Jewish Women in the United States," by Riv-Ellen Prell; "Canadian Jewish and Female," by Norma Baumel Joseph; and "Bookends," by Pamela S. Nadell, which discusses the writing of Jewish women's history from The Jewish Woman in America, edited by Charlotte Baum, Paula Hyman, and Sonya Michel (Dial Press, 1975) through Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, edited by Paula E. Hyman and Deborah Dash Moore (Routledge, 1997) and her Women Who Would Be Rabbis: A History of Women's Ordination, 1889-1985 (Beacon Press, 1998).
Feldberg, Michael, editor. Blessings of Freedom: Chapters in American Jewish History. Hoboken, NJ: Ktav Publishing House, in association with the American Jewish Historical Society, 2002. 243 p.
Compilation of 120 of the weekly "Chapters in American Jewish History" columns in the English-language Jewish newspaper, The Forward, from 1997 onward, written by Feldberg. Women who have been the subject of these vignettes include (in the order in which they appear in the book): Abigail Levy Franks, Emma Goldman, Rebecca Gratz, Penina Moïse, Alice Davis Menken, Emma Lazarus, Tiby Savitt, Ernestine Rose, Frances Wisebart Jacobs, Minnie Low, Celia Greenstone, Regina Margareten, Lane Bryant Malsin, Henrietta Szold, Golda Meir, and Ruth Gruber. Each column is approximately 800 words.
Ford, Carol Bell. The Girls: Jewish Women of Brownsville, Brooklyn, 1940-1995. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000. 217 p.
Based on oral history interviews, The Girls examines the lives of 41 Jewish women from the same neighborhood in Brooklyn who came of age in two decades, the 1940s and 1950s. While women of both decades were expected to work only until marriage, the work choice of the 1940s cohort was by and large restricted to office work, whereas some of the 1950s women attended college and became teachers. Many in both groups re-entered the workforce by the late 1960s -- the 1940s women mostly to offices and the 1950s group to a variety of careers following a return to college for completion of undergraduate and graduate degrees. Adds significantly to the scant information on Jewish women of the post-war period.
Goldman, Karla. Beyond the Synagogue Gallery: Finding a Place for Women in American Judaism. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press. 275 p.
Traces how the "redefinition of women's religious place," achieved through step-by-step elimination of separate seating by sex in the sanctuary, the introduction of organs and mixed choirs, and expansion of roles for women in communal organizations, was used by nineteenth century male leaders of Reform Judaism to Americanize their movement. These reforms, along with others that created a more decorous atmosphere in the sanctuary emulated middle and upper class Protestant churches in an attempt to gain respectability. Women were no mere bystanders to change. They founded temple sisterhoods and the National Council of Jewish Women, moving American Jewish women to a more "conspicuous public religious identity" (p.172). Goldman situates these developments within the context of nineteenth century American Jewish life and society at large.
Guberman, Jayne K. In Our Own Voices: A Guide to Conducting Life History Interviews with American Jewish Women. Boston: Jewish Women's Archive, 2005. 103p.
Produced for the Jewish Women's Archive, In Our Own Voices is blueprint for conducting life history interviews based on ten frameworks, each introduced by a Jewish women's history scholar: family (Paula E. Hyman), education Pamela S. Nadell), work (Hasia Diner), community service (Dianne Ashton), Jewish identities (Karla Goldman), home and place (Jenna Weissman Joselit), leisure and culture (Riv-Ellen Prell), health and sexuality (Beth Wenger), women's identities (Joyce Antler), and history and world events (Regina Morantz-Sanchez). Includes photographs by Joan Roth and an introduction by Joyce Antler.
Hyman, Paula E. Jewish Feminism Faces the American Women's Movement: Convergence and Divergence. Ann Arbor: Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, University of Michigan, 1997. 20 p.
In this David W. Belin Lecture in American Jewish Affairs, Hyman reflects on the origins and development of Jewish feminism in the 1960s and early 1970s, as affected by the American women's movement, and later inward turn towards influencing Jewish institutions, religious practices, and the field of Jewish Studies. Finds most Jewish feminists to be in the liberal feminist camp, striving for equality, except among the Orthodox, who favor an essentialist feminist view in which women are nurturers with a higher degree of spirituality.
Igra, Anna R. Wives Without Husbands: Marriage, Desertion & Welfare in New York, 1900-1933. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007. 175p.
Uses a sampling of case files from the National Desertion Bureau, a Jewish agency in New York set up to locate husbands of destitute wives who applied for aid, Igra delineates how and why marriage became an instrument of private and later public social policy. The concept of desertion was more about money than presence or absence of husbands. According to Igra, [i]t was a womans marital status combined with her application for aid that earned her the label deserted woman (p.2). Themes explored in the book include the shift from responsibility of both husband and wife to support their family, which was more characteristic of Jewish life in Eastern Europe, to the husband as sole breadwinner, which was the dominant view in America; the establishment of domestic relations courts; characterization of deserters as self-indulgent; and antidesertion reformist rhetoric of female dependence. Igra also analyzes the dispositions of the 300 cases she examined and how Depression relief programs in the 1930s incorporated policies developed by the National Desertion Bureau and its supporters. In an epilogue she discusses persistent aspects of the antidesertion reform movement, including the linkage between law enforcement and the welfare system and the assumption that marriage keeps women and children out of poverty.
Jackson, Naomi M. Convergent Movements: Modern Dance and Jewish Culture at the 92nd Street Y. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2000. 288 p.
In this study of the influence of the 92nd Street Y on dance history from the 1930s through the 1950s, much attention is paid to the contribution of Jews in shaping contemporary dance. Chapter 7, "Synthesizing the Universal & Particular: Producing 'Jewish Dance' at the Y" (pp.171-206) describes several individual Jewish dancers and choreographers, mostly female, who performed works with Jewish themes at the Y, including Lillian Shapero, Sophie Maslow, Anna Sokolow, Pearl Lang, and Katya Delakova.
Joselit, Jenna Weissman. Aspiring Women: A History of the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women. New York: Jewish Foundation for Education of Women, 1996. 76 p.
History spanning some 115 years and numerous name changes of a New York City institution devoted to educational opportunities for women. Begins in 1880, with the Downtown Sabbath School (later the Hebrew Technical School for Girls), where founder Minnie Louis and her staff dispensed "religion and cookies in equal measure" (p.6). Describes the cultural and vocational training offered early in the twentieth century and the shift in the 1930s to offering college scholarships, eventually to both Jewish and non-Jewish young women. Includes numerous photographs.
Kafka, Phillipa, editor. "Lost on the Map of the World": Jewish-American Women's Quest for Home in Essays and Memoirs, 1890-Present. New York: Peter Lang, 2001. 255 p.
Contains an excerpt Dina Elenbogen's manuscript Drawn From Water: An American Poet Encounters Israel and the Ethiopian Jews, articles on Anzia Yezierska's The Bread Givers (by Philippe Codde), E.M. Broner's A Weave of Women (by Ranen Omer-Sherman), and Erica Jong's Fear of Flying (by Tobin Belzer), as well as contemporary essays by Barbara Finkelstein, Batya Weinbaum, Ruth Knafo Setton, and Phillipa Kafka, all of which dwell on aspects of Jewish American women's identity and search for "home."
Kalinowski, Andrea. Stories Untold: Jewish Pioneer Women 1850-1910: The Art of Andrea Kalinowski. Santa Fe: Santa Fe Museum of Fine Arts, distributed by the Museum of New Mexico Press, 2002. 32 p.
Catalog of a traveling exhibit organized by the Museum of Fine Arts of the work of Andrea Kalinowski who designed quilt patterns to tell the stories of individual Jewish women pioneers. Each quilt design is accompanied by an excerpt from a memoir or archival resource. The catalog includes an interview with Kalinowski and color reproductions of ten quilts and their accompanying stories. Exhibit is online at http://www.storiesuntold.org/main.html.
Klapper, Melissa R. Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920. New York: New York University Press, 2005. 310p.
Explores the nexus of gender, class, and Jewish identity for American Jewish girls in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries, through diaries, periodicals, school records, etc. Pays particular attention to middle class adolescents who lived in places other than New York City and who were born in the U.S., sometimes into families already here for generations. The first chapter provides grounding in the history of adolescence, Jews in America, and gender roles. The second discusses the formal education of Jewish girls (see also her "'A Long and Broad Education': Jewish Girls and the Problem of Education in America, 1860-1920" listed elsewhere on this bibliography); the third at alternative forms of education for working class girls (see also her "Jewish Women and Vocational Education in New York City, 1885-1925" listed elsewhere on this bibliography); and the fourth at the gendered nature of Jewish religious education. While boys continued to be sent to traditional cheders, parents were more willing to send girls to more Americanized supplemental religious schools, or to Zionist or Yiddish schools. As Jews acculturated, the responsibility for continuing Jewish life fell more and more on women, and the importance of educating girls Jewishly increased. The last chapter takes up the engagement of Jewish girls with youth culture, but circumscribed by their desire to remain within Jewish religious culture.
Kolmerten, Carol A. The American Life of Ernestine L. Rose. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1999. 300 p.
Biography of an atheist, socialist, freethinking suffrage leader and fiery orator, born in Poland to a rabbi and his wife in 1810. She lived in America from 1836-1869, where she campaigned vigorously for women's rights; but as a foreigner and Jew (despite her atheism), she was considered an outsider by other leaders of the American women's movement, and she spent the rest of her life in England.
Levin, Martin, and Esther Kustanowitz. It Takes a Dream: the Story of Hadassah. Hewlett, NY: Gefen, 2002. 407 p.
A narrative history of the Women's Zionist Organization of America for general audiences, abridged by Kustanowitz from a 1997 edition by Levin, which in turn was an updated edition of his Balm in Gilead (New York: Schocken, 1973). Based on interviews with participants and published accounts, although specific sources are not generally cited or listed.
Litt, Jacquelyn S. Medicalized Motherhood: Perspectives From the Lives of African-American and Jewish Women. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2000. 189 p.
Demonstrates how the process of medicalization of mothering through advice given by pediatricians and other experts "reflected and fueled ethnoracial and social class divisions among women" (p.13). Based on interviews with 18 Jewish and 20 African American women who raised their children in the 1930s and 1940s. Chapter 1 surveys the history of "scientific motherhood." Chapter 2 shows how Jewish mothers adapted medicalized motherhood to signify their move up into the American middle class. Chapter 3 looks at working class African Americans, who remained distant from modern medicine. Chapters 4-6 examine the influence of women's networks on the acceptance of medicalized motherhood. The networks facilitated the adoption of medicalized motherhood by both Jewish and African American middle class women, but did not do so for poor and working class African Americans.
Lonstein, Ann. NCJW, the First 100 Years: A History of the National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Minneapolis Section. Minneapolis: NCJW, Greater Minneapolis Section, 1999. 20 p.
Sixteen-page history of the local section of the National Council of Jewish Women.
McCune, Mary. 'The Whole Wide World, Without Limits:' International Relief, Gender Politics, and American Jewish Women, 1893-1930. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2005. 280p.
The quotation in the title comes from National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) founder Hannah G. Solomon who in 1920 optimistically touted the expansion of women's sphere through the activities of her organization and others over the prior 30 years. While the roles had definitely expanded and the accomplishments were many, McCune traces how three Jewish women's efforts in three organizations were affected by gender politics. Two of the groups were women's organizations: the NCJW and Hadassah, while the third was the Workmen's Circle (Arbeiter Ring). During the period studied, NCJW attracted upper-class women of Central European/German descent; Hadassah also drew on such women for its leadership, though members were more from Eastern European backgrounds, while the Workmen's Circle women were working-class and socialist. Hadassah was explicitly a Zionist organization; NCJW and Workmen's Circle members varied in their attitudes towards formation of a Jewish state. Organized chronologically, the first chapter discusses the founding and early years of the organizations, paying attention to gender and class. Chapter two describes their relief efforts during World War I, both in concert with Jewish men and gentile women. Chapter three looks at the struggles NCJW and Hadassah faced after the War to assert their independent identities away from male-led groups and chapter four finds those two organizations drawing together in their projects, though they still differed towards Zionism. The last chapter details the formation of separate women's groups within the Workmen's Circle. (Since portions of the book appeared earlier as articles, for further description, look for McCune citations in the Journal Articles and Book Chapters section of this bibliography.).
Mohl, Raymond A., Matilda Bobbi Graff, and Shirley M. Zoloth. South of the South: Jewish Activists and the Civil Rights Movement in Miami, 1945-1960. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2004. 264 p.
Traces the emergence of civil rights activism in Miami through focusing on two Jewish women activists who moved there from the North: Bobbi Graff in the left-wing Civil Rights Congress (CRC) and Shirley Zoloth in the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which held numerous sit-ins in downtown Miami that forced the desegregation of public accommodations in that city. Their roles are documented through their own writings: "The Historic Continuity of the Civil Rights Movement," a memoir written in 1971 by Graff covering the years 1946-1954, published for the first time in the book, and CORE reports, minutes, correspondence and published articles by Zoloth. The originals of the CORE materials are in the CORE Papers at the Wisconsin Historical Society. The two women did not overlap in Miami and never met. Graff worked against the Ku Klux Klan and publicized police brutality against Blacks, including murders by police of some of the Black men charged with raping a white woman in the Groveland case. Red-baited in the McCarthy era, Graff fled Miami for Canada in 1954. Interviewed over 30 years later, Graff said "Our biggest crime was bringing Blacks and whites together" (p.47). Zoloth arrived in Miami a few weeks after Graff departed. She was a co-founder of the Miami CORE chapter, and her CORE reports document the Miami lunch counter demonstrations of 1959.
Morris, Bonnie J. Lubavitcher Women in America: Identity and Activism in the Postwar Era. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998. 186 p.
Uses articles in the Lubavitcher women's journal, De Yiddishe Heim, and other sources to describe the response of Lubavitcher women in post-World War II America to assimilation and feminism within American Jewish life. Shows how the women were willing agents of the Rebbe, skillfully co-opting feminist arguments and marketing the superiority of community and service to others over personal autonomy.
Nadell, Pamela S., editor. American Jewish Women's History: A Reader. New York: New York University Press, 2003. 326 p.
Reprints significant recent articles and book chapters that chart the new research in American Jewish women's history. (Most of them appear elsewhere on this bibliography and are described there.) Nadell provides a general introduction and introductions to sectional divisions: "Sense of Place" sets out how early Jewish settlers created a home in America. "Worlds of Difference" charts the upheaval and changes wrought by the East European migration; "A Wider World" examines the years between the World Wars and the cultural draw of New York City; and "Fierce Attachments" surveys the transitions, stereotypes, and activism of the postwar era. Contents: "Portraits of a Community: the Image and Experience of Early American Jews, by Ellen Smith; The Lessons of the Hebrew Sunday School, by Dianne Ashton; "A Great Awakening: the Transformation that Shaped Twentieth-Century American Judaism," by Jonathan D. Sarna; "Gone to Another Meeting: the National Council of Jewish Women, 1893-1993," by Faith Rogow; "Borrowers or Lenders Be: Jewish Immigrant Women's Credit Networks," by Shelly Tenenbaum; "'We Dug More Rocks': Women and Work," by Linda Mack Schloff; "Organizing the Unorganizable: Three Jewish Women and Their Union," by Alice Kessler-Harris; "Immigrant Women and Consumer Protest: the New York City Kosher Meat Boycott of 1902," by Paula E. Hyman; "Zion in Our Hearts: Henrietta Szold and the American Jewish Women's Movement," by Joyce Antler; "The Jewish Priestess and Ritual: the Sacred Life of American Orthodox Women," by Jenna Weissman Joselit; "The Women Who Would be Rabbis," by Pamela S. Nadell; "Budgets, Boycotts, and Babies: Jewish Women in the Great Depression," by Beth S. Wenger; "Angels 'Rewolt!': Jewish Women in Modern Dance in the 1930s," by Julia L. Foulkes; "The 'Me' of Me: Voices of Jewish Girls in Adolescent Diaries of the 1920s and 1950s," Joan Jacobs Brumberg; "Rage and Representation: Jewish Gender Stereotypes in American Culture," by Riv-Ellen Prell; "'From the Recipe File of Luba Cohen': A Study of Southern Jewish Foodways and Cultural Identity, by Marcie Cohen Ferris; "Going South: Jewish Women in the Civil Rights Movement," by Debra L. Schultz; and "Jewish Feminism Faces the American Women's Movement: Convergence and Divergence," by Paula E. Hyman.
. Women Who Would Be Rabbis: A History of Women's Ordination, 1889-1985. Boston: Beacon Press, 1998. 300 p.
Recounts the long struggle for women's ordination as rabbis, from 1889, when Mary M. Cohen argued for it in a short story published in the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, through the 1970s and 1980s, by which time the Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative Movements in the United States had all ordained women; and speculates on the possibilities within Orthodoxy today. Shows how several women in the first half of the twentieth century tried in isolation to receive ordination, but were each rebuffed. It was not until the 1960s, when female students in Jewish seminaries supported each other in making their case, buttressed by the sweeping changes in American society that opened many previously locked doors for women, that rabbinical ordination had a real chance to succeed.
Nadell, Pamela S., and Jonathan D. Sarna, Edited by Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England for Brandeis University Press, 2001. 322 p.
Includes essays that demonstrate the deep significance of women to the history of American Judaism. "[F]rom the colonial era to the close of the twentieth century, American women, committed to Judaism and to their own Jewish communities, repeatedly reshaped Judaism and helped to redefine the place of men and women within it" (Introduction, p.12). See descriptions of the individual essays in the Articles section of this bibliography.
Powell, Lawrence N. Troubled Memory: Anne Levy, the Holocaust, and David Duke's Louisiana. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000. 593 p.
Most of the book chronicles Anne Skorecki Levy and her family's experiences during the Holocaust and re-establishment in New Orleans. The last sections include description of how she challenged Neo-Nazi David Duke and his supporters by speaking in public about what had befallen her and her family.
Prell, Riv-Ellen. Fighting to Become Americans: Jews Gender, and the Anxiety of Assimilation. Boston: Beacon Press, 1999. 319 p.
An anthropological look at gender stereotypes throughout the twentieth century. Describes how the working immigrant Jewish woman image of the early twentieth century gave way in one generation to the epitome of conspicuous consumer. In Prell's view, that was the ticket for the whole family into middle class American life. Through use of popular culture imagery as well as other sources, Prell demonstrates how Jewish women -- especially the Jewish Mother and her Jewish American Princess daughter -- became the primary seat of Jewishness in the family and the brunt of prejudices and Jewish self-hatred, while Jewish men went off to successful business and professional careers, largely "untainted" by Jewishness. See also her "Rage and Representation: Jewish Gender Stereotypes in American Culture." In Uncertain Terms: Negotiating Gender in American Culture, edited by Faye Ginsburg and Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, 248-266. Boston: Beacon Press, 1990, and reprinted in American Jewish Women's History: A Reader, edited by Pamela S. Nadell, 238-255. New York: New York University Press, 2003.
Reinharz, Shulamit and Mark A. Raider. American Jewish Women and the Zionist Enterprise. Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, published by University Press of New England, 2005. 393p.
Covers significant individuals, organizations, and themes in the involvement of American Jewish women in supporting Israel from the pre-state era through the first decades of statehood. Contents: THREE GENERATIONS OF AMERICAN JEWISH WOMEN AND THE ZIONIST IDEA: Emma Lazarus and Pre-Herzlian Zionism, by Arthur Zeiger, along with The Banner of the Jew (1882), by Emma Lazarus; The Zionist Vision of Henrietta Szold, by Allon Gal, along with Keeping the Torch Burning (1936), an exchange of correspondence between Beatrice Barron and Henrietta Szold; Marie Syrkin: An Exemplary Life, by Carole S. Kessner, along with Why Partition? (Nov., 1946), by Marie Syrkin. AMERICAN JEWISH WOMEN'S ORGANIZATIONS AND THE ZIONIST ENTERPRISE: "Never a Rubber Stamp": Bessie Gotsfeld, Founder of Mizrachi Women of America, by Baila Round Shargel; Formulating the "Women's Interpretation of Zionism": Hadassah Recruitment of Non-Zionist American Women, 1914-1930, by Mary McCune; Hadassah-WIZO Canada and the Development of Agricultural Training for Women in Pre-State Israel, by Esther Carmel-Hakim; The Impact of Zionism on the International Council of Jewish Women, 1914-1957, by Nelly Las; Women and Zionist Activity in Erez Israel: The Case of Hadassah, 1913-1958, by Mira Katzburg-Yungman. ALIYAH, SOCIAL IDENTITIES, AND POLITICAL CHANGE: Settling the Old-New Homeland: The Decisions of American Jewish Women during the Interwar Years, by Joseph B. Glass; Em Leemahot: The Public Health Contributions of Sara Bodek Paltiel to the Yishuv and Israel, by Peri Rosenfeld; Rose Viteles: The Double Life of an American Woman in Palestine, by Sara Kadosh; Irma "Rama" Lindheim: An Independent American Zionist Woman, by Shulamit Reinharz; Golda Meir and Other Americans, by Marie Syrkin; Golda: Femininity and Feminism, by Anita Shapira. WOMEN REPORT AND REMEMBER: DOCUMENTARY PORTRAITS: Contemplating Aliyah to Palestine (Chelsea, Massachusetts, 1935), by Judith Korim Hornstein; From Brooklyn to Palestine in 1939 (Kibbutz Kfar Blum, 1985), by Engee Caller; They Couldn't Imagine an American Girl Would Do the Work (Kibbutz Revivim, 1971), by Golda Meir; Memories of Rose Luria Halprin (Norwalk, Connecticut, 1999), by Ruth Halprin Kaslove Coming of Age in Kibbutz (Kibbutz Mishmar Haemek, 1954), by Irma "Rama" (Levy) Lindheim; Life in a Religious Kibbutz (New York, New York, 1999), by Yocheved Herschlag Muffs; I Became a Zionist on the Top Floor (Bethesda, Maryland, 1999), by Lois Slott; Remembering Israel's War of Independence (Givat Savyon, Israel, 1999), by Zipporah Porath. Also includes a Timeline of American Jewish Women and Zionism in Historical Context, 1848-1948.
Schofield, Ann. To Do & To Be: Portraits of Four Women Activists, 1893-1986. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1997. 183 p.
Labor leaders Pauline Newman and Rose Pesotta are two of the four portrayals of activists committed to bettering conditions for working women.
Schultz, Debra L. Going South: Jewish Women in the Civil Rights Movement. New York: New York University Press, 2001. 229 p.
Based on interviews with 15 Northern, secular Jewish women who were among those who went South between 1960-1966 to participate in freedom rides, sit-ins, voter registration drives, and adult literacy campaigns; to teach in Freedom schools; and to help integrate public facilities. Schultz probes their reasons for participating, which included acting on the liberal values instilled by their parents, suffused with Jewish commitment to improving the world; drawing a lesson from the Holocaust, when most people stood by and did nothing to derail it; and a personal need to escape, at least temporarily, the limited choices then available to women. An important contribution to the histories of Jews, women, radicals, and civil rights, and especially to the intersection of these fields. Pages 1-18 of the book are reprinted in American Jewish Women's History: A Reader, edited by Pamela S. Nadell, 281-296. New York: New York University Press, 2003.
Schwartz, Shuly Rubin. The Rabbi's Wife: The Rebbetzin in American Jewish Life. New York: New York University Press, 2006. 312p.
Comprehensive look at the contributions of the rebbetzin to American Jewish communal life, paying particular attention to prominent individual rebbetzins. (See also articles by her on this subject cited elsewhere on this bibliography.).
Simmons, Erica B. Hadassah and the Zionist Project. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. Surveys Hadassah from its founding in 1912 through Youth Aliyah efforts during World War II and into the 1950s. Views the organization from the lens of American Progressivism. 241p.
Staub, Michael E. The Jewish 1960s: An American Sourcebook. 371p.
Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, published by University Press of New England, 2004. "Jewish Women and Feminism" constitutes Part 12 (pp. 317-348) of this anthology. "A Comfortable Concentration Camp?" by Betty Friedan, is excerpted from her The Feminine Mystique, showing her use of analogy that was deeply Jewish, if deeply flawed). "Jewish Women: Life Force of a Culture?" by the Brooklyn Bridge Collective rails against a culture centered on the Jewish man and called for Jewish women to "get together and fight to determine for ourselves what is a Jewish Woman." Rachel Adler's oft-cited "The Jew Who Wasn't There: Halacha and the Jewish Woman" is next, in which Adler states that women (along with children and Canaanite slaves) were viewed by Jewish law as peripheral Jews. It is time, she argues, for changes within the system: halachic scholars should "make it possible for women to claim their share in the Torah and begin to do the things a Jew was created to do." Paula Hyman's "The Other Half: Women in the Jewish Tradition" also calls for Jewish feminists' demands to be taken seriously -- that they are not "self-hating," but rather committed Jews calling for a way to fulfill themselves as Jews and as women. "Jewish Women Call for Change," by Ezrat Nashim, a feminist group raised in the Conservative Movement, where they participated fully in religious schools, camps, and youth organizations, called upon the Movement to grant women equality in participation in religious life and encouragement to assume leadership roles in the community. In the last of the six items in the section is "The Population Panic," Shirley Frank gives examples of worried statements about the "demographic crisis" of low birth rate among American Jews. "Why now?" she asks -- at a time when women are establishing careers not hospitable to them in the past -- and why just point to fertility as a guarantor of Jewish survival, instead of "making Judaism and Jewish life clearly meaningful and necessary"? She detects the whiff of antifeminism in the rhetoric. Except for The Feminine Mystique, which was published in 1963, the rest of the contributions appeared in the 1970s, when the seeds of Jewish feminism planted in the 1960s began to sprout.
Stone, Ellen Hallet. A Homeland in the West: Utah Jewish Remember. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2001. 500 p.
Selection of 65 excerpts from archived and current Jewish oral histories and reminiscences of Utah Jews, including several women. Examples include Eva Siegel ("Naches in Nephi"); Claire Steres Bernstein ("Keeping Kosher in Vernal"); Berenice Matz Engelberg ("A Minority Child"); and Esther Rosenblatt Landa ("Busy as a Bird Dog"). Footnoted and edited by Hallet Stone.
Sturman, Gladys and David Epstein, Edited by Jewish Women of the American West: An Anthology of Articles Published in Western States Jewish History. Los Angeles: Western States Jewish History Association, 2003. 232 p.
Corresponds to volume 35, no. 3-4 double issue of the journal. Reprints short articles on individual Jewish women, their organizations and endeavors in the region. Includes articles on Selma Gruenberg Lewis, the namesake of Selma, CA; Ray Frank, the "girl rabbi" of the West; labor organizer Rose Pesotta; San Francisco television cook Edith Green; and others.
Women of Reform Judaism (U.S.). In Pursuit of Justice: Resolutions and Policy Statements. New York: Women of Reform Judaism, The Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, 1998.
First published in 1988, this work collects the full texts of resolutions and policy statements by Women of Reform Judaism on issues that affected American society and Jewish life in the United States, Israel, and elsewhere since the founding of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods in 1913. The topics that recurred the most dealt with civil rights, Israel, or the United Nations. There was also a steady stream calling for women's equality within the Reform Movement and in society at large. The resolutions include action components, such as getting the word out to appropriate officials and agencies, setting up study commissions, strengthening community services, etc.
Women of Valor: A Guide to Celebrating Jewish Women's History. Brookline, MA: Jewish Women's Archive and Ma'yan: the Jewish Women's Project, a program of the Jewish Community Center on the Upper West Side (Manhattan, New York), 1997-2002.
Series of annual packets issued in conjunction with posters of Jewish women designed to increase awareness of individual Jewish women who made a difference. The packets contain biographies, best practices, and other curricular suggestions. Three women were selected each of the six years. They are 1997: Glikl of Hameln, Rose Schneiderman, and Henrietta Szold; 1998: Rebecca Gratz, Lillian D. Wald, and Molly Picon; 1999: Emma Lazarus, Hannah Greenebaum Solomon, and Justine Wise Polier; 2000: Bella Abzug, Barbara Myerhoff, and Bobbie Rosenfeld; 2001: Beatrice Alexander, Gertrude Elion, and Ray Frank; 2002: Emma Goldman, Anna Sokolow, and Gertrude Weil. Exhibits about the women are mounted on the Jewish Women's Archive website: http://www.jwa.org.
Journal Articles and Chapters in Anthologies
Abrams, Jeanne, "Opening New Doors: The Jewish Women's Experience in the Early American West, 1848-1930," Religion Compass 1, no. 1 (2007): 203-213. An article summarizing the author's contentions that Jewish women had more doors open to them in the West than they did in other parts of the country, and that they played important dual roles of helping to settle the West and promoting Jewish continuity. For a more detailed presentation, see her book Jewish Women Pioneering the Frontier Trail: A history in the American West (New York University Press, 2006).
Abusch-Magder, Ruth, "Eating 'Out': Food and the Boundaries of Jewish Community and Home in German and the United States," Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues 5 (2002): 53-82.
Looks at ways in which 19th century German Jews in Europe and the U.S. came in contact with "outside food," Abusch-Magder's term for food "whose primary place of preparation and/or consumption was not the home," and foods that were "not historically part of the German Jewish cultural tradition" (p. 54). Uses the eating of outside food as an indicator of the making of the German middle class. The focus of the article is on German Jews in Europe, but there is also attention to German Jews in America, who gradually adopted various American foods -- bringing them "inside" -- while continuing a connection to German cooking. Women, the preparers of meals and arbiters of what was inside and what outside, therefore had a central role in shaping the modern Jewish experience.
Alroey, Gur, "'And I Remained Alone in a Vast Land' : Women in the Jewish Migration from Eastern Europe," Jewish Social Studies 12, no. 3 (2006): 39-72. Describes the role of Jewish women in emigration from Eastern Europe to the United States, Palestine, and elsewhere. Uses letters written to Zionist information bureaus to document the role of women in the decision to emigrate and where to go. Discusses the hardships for women left behind for months or years while their husbands emigrated first and established themselves. Most husbands eventually earned and sent enough money for steamship tickets and expenses, but some abandoned their families. The married women often were traveling with young children, which was decidedly more complicated than the voyage for the husband/father traveling alone; single women were at the mercy of white slave traders.
Antler, Joyce. "Justine Wise Polier and the Prophetic Tradition." In Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives. Edited by Pamela S. Nadell and Jonathan D. Sarna, 268-90. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, for Brandeis University Press, 2001.
Demonstrates how family court judge Polier grounded her thought in the prophetic heritage of "loving the neighbor and the stranger" (p.272) and "fearless opposition to wrongdoing" (p.273). The prophetic tradition gave Polier a basis for her uncompromising lifelong advocacy inside and outside her courtroom on behalf of women, children, and the disadvantaged. She urged her fellow Jews to draw on this tradition and fight social injustices.
. "Zion in Our Hearts: Henrietta Szold and the American Jewish Women's Movement." In Daughter of Zion: Henrietta Szold and American Jewish Womanhood. Edited by Barry Kessler. Baltimore: Jewish Historical Society of Maryland, 1995.
Reprinted in American Jewish Women's History: A Reader, edited by Pamela S. Nadell, 129-149. New York: New York University Press, 2003.
Discusses the ideals Szold embodied and forged for Hadassah, the American women's Zionist organization she founded. Her aspirations for the members were to contribute to the Jewish homeland in Palestine, particularly in areas of health and social service, and to find spiritual fulfillment by so doing. She succeeded in creating an American Jewish women's organization that drew in thousands of members inspired by her model of public service. Focuses also on the circle of female friends, including Szold, Alice Seligman and Jessie Sampter, who shared a common intellectual vision and sustained each other through hardships of living in the harsh conditions of pre-state Israel, indifference and antagonism of men in the Zionist movement, and loneliness. Antler calls their vision a "prophetic feminist Zionism," and quotes from a letter Szold sent Sampter in which she hoped that a Zionist state could revise Jewish law, whose development had stagnated in recent centuries.
Antler, Joyce, Nina Schwartz, and Claire Uziel, "How Did the First Jewish Women's Movement Draw On Progressive Women's Activism and Jewish Traditions, 1893-1936?" In Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000. Alexander Street Press, 2005.
This is a documentary project in a database available on some campuses. The first Jewish women's movement was made up of affluent and middle class German Jewish women who sought to improve the lives of the Central and Eastern European Jews who immigrated to the U.S. later than they did, and in large numbers. The women were Progressive reformers, but tied to Jewish tradition as well.
Ashton, Dianne. "Shifting Veils: Religion, Politics, and Womanhood in the Civil War Writings of American Jewish Women." In Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives. Edited by Pamela S. Nadell and Jonathan D. Sarna, 81-106. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, for Brandeis University Press, 2001.
During the Civil War, Jewish women strengthened communal and familial bonds by alternatively emphasizing or de-emphasizing religion or politics, as the situation demanded. Ashton likens this phenomenon to shifting veils being lifted and lowered. Southerners Emma Mordecai and Phoebe Yates Levy Pember emphasized politics. They displayed their Jewishness only when they could present it in a manner that supported their Southern sympathies. On the other hand, Rebecca Gratz of Philadelphia avoided expressing her Unionist views when corresponding with relatives in the South and modulated their expression when writing to her sister-in-law in border-state Kentucky. Instead, she stressed shared religious bonds.
Baader, Maria T. "From 'The Priestess of the Home' to 'The Rabbi's Brilliant Daughter': Concepts of Jewish Womanhood and Progressive Germanness in Die Deborah and The American Israelite, 1852-1900." Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook 43 (1998): 47-72.
Contends that Jewish immigrants from Germany and Central Europe defined "German" not as an ethnicity, but rather as related to culture, class, and the bourgeois respectability connoted in the German concept bildung. These values were emphasized in Die Deborah and The American Israelite, often with articles directed at women who were thought to hold more religious feeling, morality, and bildung. The publications also used this viewpoint to encourage women to support Reform Judaism and progressive society.
Batker, Carol J. "Literary Reformers: Crossing Class and Ethnic Boundaries in Jewish Women's Fiction of the 1920s." Melus 25, no. 1 (2000): 81-104.
Also published as "'Mingling With Her People in Their Ghetto': Immigrant Aid and the New Woman in Jewish Women's Fiction," chapter 6 (pp. 108-130) of her Reforming Fictions: Native, African, & Jewish American Women's Literature and Journalism in the Progressive Era (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000).
Argues that reading immigrant author Anzia Yezierska together with middle-class, acculturated, German Jewish writers Fannie Hurst and Edna Ferber, and in relation to the theme of immigrant aid, allows for a more complex understanding of the assimilation process.
. "'Why Should You Ask for Ease?' Jewish Women's Journalism in the English-Language Press." In Reforming Fictions: Native, African, & Jewish American Women's Literature and Journalism in the Progressive Era, 89-107. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.
Analyzes the views expressed by Jewish American reformers in the 1920s in The Immigrant and The Jewish Woman, two journals of the National Council of Jewish Women. Compares and contrasts the views with that of Native American and African American women journalists. The Jewish writers were acculturated Americans who favored integration of immigrants into American society and increased opportunities for Jews in the U.S. They saw themselves as representative of the "Modern" or "New Woman," who worked outside her home and followed current trends, such as bobbing her hair; at the same time, they tried to affirm Jewishness as compatible with Americanization.
Bauman, Mark. "Southern Jewish Women and Their Social Service Organizations." Journal of American Ethnic History 22, no. 3 (2003): 34-78.
Argues that for Jewish women’s causes and organizations in the 19th and 20th centuries, a broadly-defined “Jewishkeit” (“mixture of Jewish tradition, customs, values, and historic experience”) outweighed regional differences. Jewish women were not involved in women’s temperance or abolitionist (or, obviously, missionary) organizations because of their Christian overlay. There were some differences, however, between developments in large urban areas and small communities typical in the South. Southern Jewish women raised money for synagogues and other institutions, assisted new immigrants, and in general kept their Jewish communities and Judaism going while Jewish men focused on business and civic roles. Jewish women immigrants to the Southern U. S. from Eastern Europe followed a similar pattern in their organizational efforts to that of their Central European co-religionist sisters who had come before them. Bauman takes issue with those who suggest that Southern Jews refrained from controversial issues in order to be accepted, finding numerous instances where Jewish women in the South were active in women's suffrage, civil rights for Blacks, labor, and other issues.
Ben-Ur, Aviva. "The Exceptional and the Mundane: A Biographical Portrait of Rebecca Machado Phillips (1746-1831)." In Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives. Edited by Pamela S. Nadell and Jonathan D. Sarna, 46-80. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, for Brandeis University Press, 2001.
Reconstructs the public and private life of a colonial New York Jewish woman of Portuguese descent married to an Ashkenazi man. Her life included the mundane duties of wife and mother, but also the exceptional: she was a pioneering communal activist and philanthropist in the Jewish and non-Jewish world while bearing twenty-one children and raising two grandchildren.
Bender, Daniel E. "Inspecting Workers: Medical Examination, Labor Organizing, and the Evidence of Sexual Difference." Radical History Review 80 (2001): 51-75.
In 1914, doctors from the U.S. Public Health Service, assisted by the New York Joint Board of Sanitary Control and the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU), conducted a systematic health survey of 2,000 male and 1,000 female garment workers, of whom 90% were Jewish. What they observed, and what was perpetuated as a basis for health policies of the ILGWU and also the Socialist Jewish workers’ mutual aid organization Arbeiter Ring (Workmen’s Circle), was based on a gendered preconception of health needs of male and female workers. They found the biggest threat to male workers was tuberculosis, which could undermine their role as breadwinners, while the female ailments were gynecological, threatening their role outside the workplace as wives and mothers (mostly later, after their work careers ended when they got married). Union sick funds stressed ways to get ailing male workers back to work in the factories. When women controlled a union local (as in ILGWU Local #25), their leaders took an expansive view of health needs, including those of women no longer in the workplace. However, by focusing on curing women’s ills so they could function in their domestic roles, the female leaders also contributed to perpetuating the supposedly proven gendered differences in health.
———. "'Too Much of Distasteful Masculinity': Historicizing Sexual Harassment in the Garment Sweatshop and Factory." Journal of Women's History 15, no. 4 (2004): 91-116.
A thread of sexual harassment knits the history of garment sweatshops together, from the 1880s when it helped to maintain a division of labor between men's work and women's work, through the rise of garment unions, in which a sexual division of labor was also maintained and only the harassment by bosses was fought.
Blanton, Sherry. "Lives of Quiet Affirmation: The Jewish Women of Early Anniston, Alabama." Southern Jewish History 2 (1999): 25-53.
Describes the role of Henrietta Smith Sterne and other German Jewish women residents of Anniston, AL, in creating Jewish institutions in their tiny community. Like Jewish women elsewhere, they formed a Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society and raised all the funds for purchasing property for a synagogue, constructing the building, and supplying the furnishings. They deeded it to the congregation in 1907. They also provided assistance to the needy, both Jewish and non-Jewish.
Borish, Linda J. "'Athletic Activities of Various Kinds': Physical Health and Sports Programs for Jewish American Women." Journal of Sport History 26, no. 2 (1999): 240-270.
Discusses the role of Young Women's Hebrew Associations and other organizations in promoting sports for Jewish American women. Points out the limited access for women to gymnasiums and pools in YWHAs affiliated with YMHAs, and recounts the successful struggle for equal facilities for women and men in the Chicago Hebrew Institute. Describes the leadership of Olympic swimmer Charlotte Epstein in the Women's Swimming Association of New York City and as team manager of the Olympic women's swim teams in 1920, 1924, and 1932.
. "'The Cradle of American Champions, Women Champions ... Swim Champions': Charlotte Epstein, Gender and Jewish Identity, and the Physical Emancipation of Women in Aquatic Sports," International Journal of the History of Sport 21, no. 2 (2004): 197-235. Discusses Charlotte Epstein as a successful advocate for organized women's swimming and as someone open and assertive of her Jewish identity.
. "'An Interest in Physical Well-Being Among the Feminine Membership': Sporting Activities for Women at Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Associations." American Jewish History 87, no. 1 (1999): 61-83.
Discusses developments in physical culture and sport at Jewish settlement houses in the Progressive era and in YWHAs, YMHAs, and Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) in the 1920s and 1930s in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and smaller Jewish communities, from Elmira and Gloversville, NY, and Hartford, CT, to St. Louis and San Francisco.
. "Jewish American Women, Jewish Organizations, and Sports, 1880-1940." In Sports and the American Jew. Edited by Steven A. Riess, 105-31. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1998.
Explores the role of several institutions and individuals in shaping Jewish American women's sports. Discusses how upper- and middle-class German Jews promoted sports among European working class immigrant women in settlement houses and elsewhere as a means of Americanization and assimilation. Female social reformers also looked on sports as a way to inculcate middle-class values and to bolster women's health for the rigors of urban conditions. The article also discusses Jewish camping experiences.
Borish, Linda J. and Elizabeth A. Zanoni, "Detroit Jewish Women in Physical Sports During the Early Decades of the 20th Century," Michigan Jewish History 46 (2006): 28-40.
Girls and young Jewish women participated in several sports and exercise activities in various Detroit Jewish institutions.
Bower, Anne L. "Our Sisters' Recipes: Exploring 'Community' in a Community Cookbook." Journal of Popular Culture 31, no. 3 (1997): 137-51.
Scrutinizes a 1909 Jewish community cookbook, compiled and illustrated by the author's great-grandmother. From the recipes present and absent, she gleans that the contributors were middle class German Jewish Americans, who wanted to project an image of assimilated comfort. German recipes predominate, with a sampling of other cuisines and many non-kosher items. No East European Jewish dishes or any Jewish holiday fare are present.
Brumberg, Joan Jacobs. "The 'Me' of Me: Voices of Jewish Girls in Adolescent Diaries of the 1920s and 1950s." In Talking Back: Images of Jewish Women in American Popular Culture. Edited by Joyce Antler, 53-67, 258-61. Hanover, NH: Brandeis University Press, 1998.
Reprinted in American Jewish Women's History: A Reader, edited by Pamela S. Nadell, 223-226. New York: New York University Press, 2003
In the 1950s many Jewish girls kept diaries, which were similar to those of other middle class girls. Main concerns were appearance, popularity, and dating. Jewish references were few; mention of attending services, seders, etc. mainly served the purpose of providing settings. By contrast, the diary of Helen Landis (Labrovitz), the only one from a Jewish girl of the 1920s that Brumberg was able to find, reveals a pre-occupation with being Jewish and especially the pain she felt at being different from the Christians around her. When Landis and her generation became mothers, Brumberg speculates that they probably "aided and abetted their daughters' immersion in teenage culture because it seemed so 'normal' and they felt so fortunate" (p.67).
Christein, Heidi S. "A Year in the Life: The Home Relief Society in 1964." Michigan Jewish History 40 (2000): 48-53.
Reviews one year's activities of a Jewish women's organization that assisted needy Jews in Detroit.
Diner, Hasia R. "Jewish Women, Jewish Men, and the Creating of Gendered Space in America." Michael: On the History of the Jews in the Diaspora 15 (2000): 9-28.
Goes beyond recent historiographic interests in either Jewish women or Jewish men to explore how immigrant Jewish women and men engaged in much the same work, leisure, and educational endeavors. Contrasts with the Irish and Italians, whose activities were more sex-segregated.
Epstein, Lawrence Jeffrey. "Kosher at Last: Jewish Women Comedians." In Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, 253-69, 326. New York: Public Affairs, 2001.
Begins the chapter by discussing the self-deprecating humor of Totie Fields and Joan Rivers, but also how Rivers subverted the usual rules and showed that an assertive Jewish woman could succeed in comedy. Also discusses the social satire of Elayne Boosler; the sharp observations of Rita Rudner; Sandra Bernhard's transformation of the "Jewish American Princess" stereotype into a dangerous warrior; Gilda Radner's characters, including "Rhonda Weiss," a Jewish American Princess; and the working class personas of Roseanne and Fran Drescher. Concludes with a question as to whether American audiences can accept non-stereotypic Jewish women characters.
Erdman, Harley. "Taming the Exotic Jewess: The Rise and Fall of the 'Belle Juive'." In Staging the Jew: The Performance of an American Ethnicity, 1860-1920, 40-60. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1997.
Jewish women were often depicted on the nineteenth and early twentieth century stage. The "belle juive" was one recurring figure. This Jewess represented the exotic, passionate, untamable, and unattainable object of Gentile desire. The character that most exemplified the belle juive was the protagonist in Leah the Forsook (1863), by August Daly. It was often staged in Victorian America, starring well-known actresses of the day, including Sarah Bernhardt during an 1891-92 American tour. Biblical women became popular in turn-of-the-century plays, but absent specifically Jewish connections. By early twentieth century, the Jewess image was softened in the theater and in D.W. Griffith films into an attainable figure who could convert and marry her Gentile lover. The only other portrayal of Jewish women at that time was the polar opposite of the belle juive, namely the domineering, masculinized hag.
Ferris, Marcie Cohen. "'From the Recipe File of Luba Cohen': A Study of Southern Jewish Foodways and Cultural Identity." Southern Jewish History 2 (1999): 129-66.
Reprinted in American Jewish Women's History: A Reader, edited by Pamela S. Nadell, 256-280. New York: New York University Press, 2003.
Makes the case that cultural identity is shaped through food and that women's history survives through recipes and cookbooks. Uses several examples to explore Southern Jewish identity, acculturation, connections among small communities, and interaction with African Americans, from mid-19th through early 20th centuries. Notes the difficulty of keeping kosher in a region where pork predominates, but also the affinity between Jewish and Southern hospitality and common emphasis on big meals. Jewish delicatessens in larger communities were stopping off points on trips to the city and shipped food to Jewish families throughout the region. Jewish camps, summer resorts, and visits from Northern relatives were other sources of Jewish food. Southern Jewish women cooked separate Jewish and Southern dishes but also adapted recipes, blending the two sources. African American cooks were common in Southern Jewish homes, mutually influencing each other. A 1998 survey of Southern Jews (111 women and 6 men) confirmed that "preparing, eating and remembering traditional Jewish foods remains one of the most compelling ways that women create Jewish homes and maintain Jewish family identity within the American South" (p. 156).
Fishman, Sylvia Barack. "American Jewish Feminisms and Their Implications for Jewish Life." In Jews in America: A Contemporary Reader. Edited by Roberta Rosenberg Farber and Chaim I. Waxman, 163-90. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, for Brandeis University Press, 1999.
In keeping with the theme of the anthology, this article is chiefly contemporary, yet appropriate nonetheless for a bibliography on history because it presents an excellent overview of historical developments leading up to the current status of numerous women-related issues in Jewish life. Included are discussions of separateness and equality in public religious settings, bat mitzvah ceremonies, Jewish education for women, Jewish women's scholarship, birth and naming ceremonies for Jewish girls, new rituals associated with weddings, divorce/get/agunot activism, new and old uses for the mikveh (ritual bath), and Orthodox women saying the mourner's kaddish.
Foner, Nancy. "Immigrant Women and Work in New York City, Then and Now." Journal of American Ethnic History 18, no. 3 (1999): 95-113.
Contrasts the experiences of East European Jewish and Italian women immigrants who arrived between 1880 and 1920 with that of Asians, Caribbeans, and Latin Americans who have flocked to America since the 1960s. Jewish women mostly immigrated after their menfolk or came with their families. They had little control over their work life and had few opportunities for education. They were expected to work for wages outside their homes only until they got married; thereafter they might earn money only by taking in boarders or doing piecework at home, or "helping" their husbands in their store, often located below their dwelling. When old enough, their unmarried daughters worked in factories and became the main female breadwinners in the family. The pattern among recent immigrants is different. More women than men immigrate, and they often come on their own. They continue working outside their homes after marriage, sometimes in professional occupations, yet they shoulder most of the household and childrearing tasks (although receiving more help from men than is customary in their homelands). Foner concludes that improvement in the status of women and expansion of opportunities has not removed all the barriers and difficulties for current-day immigrant women.
Foster, Geraldine, and Eleanor Horvitz. "Jewish Teachers in Providence, 1898-1940, Part I." Rhode Island Jewish Historical Notes 13, no. 4 (2002): 532-47.
Based on interviews with some of the small number of Jewish women of the time period who attended college and became teachers, defying conventions that ended the education of Jewish girls before that of their brothers. Common elements that emerge from the interviews: Most got their degrees locally at the Rhode Island College of Education. Most got their start in teaching by teaching elementary classes in evening school, where their charges were children who worked all day. Retirement was mandatory at marriage until past World War II, so many careers were short, but recalled fondly. A second part will look at the experiences of high school teachers.
Foulkes, Julia L. "Angels 'Rewolt!': Jewish Women in Modern Dance in the 1930s." American Jewish History 88, no. 2 (2000): 233-52. Reprinted in American Jewish Women's History: A Reader, edited by Pamela S. Nadell, 201-217. New York: New York University Press, 2003.
Asserts that Jewish women in the 1930s shaped the foundation of modern dance, though they were not its leaders. They were choreographers, critics, company members, students, teachers, and behind-the-scene organizers; they expressed ideals of social justice and fought Anti-Semitism in the dance movement. Foulkes also connects their participation to the ideas of Mordecai Kaplan, who viewed modern dance as one of the secular activities that could be imbued with a Jewish dimension.
Freedman, Samuel G. "Judaism and Gender: Revolution Toward Tradition." In Jew Vs. Jew: The Struggle for the Soul of American Jewry, 115-61. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000.
Freedman analyzes the effect of feminism, finding it unique among the controversies within American Judaism covered in his book because it demanded an opportunity for deeper religious observance rather than away from it. The case he chronicles in detail, "Los Angeles, California, 1987-1989," is a debate that ensues in the Westside Los Angeles Library Minyan in Congregation Beth Am, after Rachel Adler inserted the imahot (foremothers) when leading the Sabbath morning liturgy. While the Minyan resolved the debate in 1989 by allowing the imahot on a voluntary basis, Freedman concludes his chapter by returning to Adler in 1999, who sadly reported that two-thirds of the Minyan were choosing not to include the imahot. In Adler's words, that constitutes an erasure of women's names.
Freidenreich, Harriet Pass, "Joining the Faculty Club: Jewish Women Academics in the United States," Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues 13 (2007): 68-101. Prior to World War II, Jewish women academics were doubly discriminated against, both as Jews and as women; after the war, Anti-semitism was much less a factor, though sexism remained, and did not decline until the advent of the modern women's movement in the 1970s.
Friedman, Jean E. "The Politics of Pedagogy and Judaism in the Early Republican South: The Case of Rachel and Eliza Mordecai." In Women of the American South: A Multicultural Reader. Edited by Christie Anne Farnham, 56-73. New York: New York University Press, 1997.
Based on the diary of Rachel Mordecai Lazarus, an Orthodox German Jewish woman living in the nineteenth century South, the essay describes the pedagogical method Rachel used to teach her stepsister, Eliza. Rachel transformed the Enlightenment value "goodness" into "holiness," thereby employing a concept more compatible with Judaism.
Fritz, Angela. "Lizzie Black Kander and Culinary Reform in Milwaukee, 1880-1920." Wisconsin Magazine of History 87, no. 3 (2004): 36-49.
Kander is best known as the creative force behind The Settlement Cookbook, first issued in 1901. This article explores aspects of her biography and strongly held views that led her to become a reformer and mentions some of her other activities. Kander favored urban reform activity over campaigning for suffrage, which she thought distracted women from social change work. She was convinced that the Eastern European Jewish immigrants to Milwaukee needed to be brought into American mores, for their own good and so that they wouldn't be the cause of a drop in status for the already acculturated German Jews. She used cooking classes to achieve that goal, where she emphasized "scientific" cooking and the aesthetics of food presentation and downplayed the religious importance of dietary laws (though her classes were kosher). She initially raised money for the Settlement House from business friends of her husband's, but came up with the cookbook idea to sustain support. Kander's other projects included service on the Milwaukee School Board, where she successfully championed the establishment of a Girls' Trade School, and the Kitchen of Nations exhibit at the Milwaukee Food, Household, and Electrical Show in 1920.
Geffen, David. "Rosa Sonneschein, Publisher From St. Louis, Attended First Zionist Congress, in Basle, Switzerland." Western States Jewish History 30, no. 3 (1998): 248-53. Reprinted in Jewish Women of the American West: An Anthology of Articles Published by Western States Jewish History, edited by Gladys Sturman and David Epstein, 105-109. Los Angeles, Western States Jewish History Association, 2003.
Reprinted from the St. Louis Jewish Light, June 29, 1983.
Sonneschein covered the first World Zionist Congress held in 1897 at Basle and promoted Zionism to the readers of her monthly, The American Jewess. She pointed out that, to her regret, the gathering began by denying women delegates a vote.
Glickstein, Joanie, "A History of the National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Miami Section." In Jews of South Florida, Edited by Andrea Greenbaum, 198-209.Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, published by University Press of New England, 2005.
A past president of the Section describes the volunteer activities of the Section since its founding in 1918. Early on the Section assisted Russian and Polish refugees living in Cuba, organized English lessons for new immigrants to America, and formed study groups on legislative and consumer issues, followed by meetings with state and national legislators. After World War II, the Section sent toys, books, and educational materials to children in Palestine and war-torn Europe and helped hearing and sight-impaired local youth. In the 1970s and 1980s the Section funded child care centers in public housing, helped develop and fund religious school programs for physically and mentally challenged Jewish children, collaborated with the Dade Country Federation of Junior Women's Clubs and other to start a crisis nursery where parents who felt they were "on the verge of abusing their children" could leave them for a night; and along with the Junior League provided a volunteer staff for a guardian ad litem program. The Section also was instrumental in getting a long-term residential placement facility for girls up and running in Miami as well as assisting at-risk children in Israel. In the 1990s the Section continued work on child abuse and added domestic violence to the concerns addressed Glickstein also points to several South Florida NCJW leaders who went on to political careers. The Section continues to work on a range of projects and issues in order to attract new young (and mostly working) women who are "looking for opportunities to improve the lives of women, children, and families with a time commitment that fits into the rest of their lives."
Goldman, Karla. "Finding Women in the Story of American and Omaha Reform Judaism." In Studies in Jewish Civilization, Vol. 14: Women and Judaism. Edited by Leonard J. Greenspoon, Ronald A. Simkins, and Jean Axelrad Cahan, 295-302. Omaha, NE: Creighton University Press, 2003.
Claims that we can not understand the survival of Judaism in America without recognizing the central role of women in "preserving, transmitting, and redefining our ancient religion as we have moved through a new land" (p.297). Mentions changes in synagogue seating in Reform temples, the increase in women's attendance at services, the development of sisterhoods and other Jewish women's organizations, the opening of temple boards to women, and eventually, the rabbinate, bringing with it further changes in liturgy, notions about God, and more. Highlights Omaha examples of these changes.
———. "The Public Religious Lives of Cincinnati's Jewish Women." In Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives. Edited by Pamela S. Nadell and Jonathan D. Sarna, 107-27. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, for Brandeis University Press, 2001.
Synagogues were the setting for redefinition of American Jewish female identity in nineteenth century Cincinnati. By the second half of the century, women came to dominate attendance at traditional weekly services. Nevertheless, not until the 1890s did all adult women come to be counted as members of the congregations (widows did much earlier), and only were admitted to synagogue boards of trustees in the twentieth century. Aside from attendance at services, Jewish activities and observances declined among the women in the decades after Reform Judaism appeared on the scene. This changed when Eastern European Jews began arriving in huge numbers, providing the Reform Jewish women of Cincinnati and elsewhere with an opportunity for meaningful benevolent activities. From 1913 onward, sisterhoods provided another vehicle for communal involvement.
Goldstein, Eric L. "Between Race and Religion: Jewish Women and Self-Definition in Late-Nineteenth-Century America." In Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives. Edited by Pamela S. Nadell and Jonathan D. Sarna, 182-200. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, for Brandeis University Press, 2001.
In late nineteenth century America, Jews self-described themselves as a race, a term that to them meant shared ancestry and religious culture. However, this put a special burden on Jewish women, who were cast as "saviors" of the Jewish race through their attention to Jewish home -- in effect freeing men to assimilate as much as they wanted to. In Goldstein's words, "[b]y tying their racial definition of Jewishness to an essentialized, restrictive definition of Jewish womanhood, Jewish men tried to relieve their own anxiety about interaction with the non-Jewish world" (p.183). When Jewish women began having more contact with the larger society, they favored a religious self-definition, along the lines used by American society in general, though at the same time they did not entirely give up the racial definition, either.
Greenberg, Mark I. "Savannah's Jewish Women and the Shaping of Ethnic and Gender Identity, 1830-1900." Georgia Historical Quarterly 82, no. 4 (1998): 751-74.
Although the combined influences of Southern and Jewish culture restricted the range of activities available to nineteenth century Savannah Jewish women, they contributed to family income through taking in boarders, provided the leadership and teachers for local Jewish Sunday schools, and were the force behind retaining Jewish practices in their homes. In the closing decade of the century, they established a chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women. Eugenia Levy Phillips, Phoebe Yates Pember, and many other Savannah Jewish women were ardent supporters of the Confederacy, at times defying Southern custom and patriarchal views of women to do so.
Guberman, Jayne K. "Weaving Women's Words: Gendered Oral Histories for the Study of American Jewish Women." In Studies in Jewish Civilization, Vol. 14: Women and Judaism. Edited by Leonard J. Greenspoon, Ronald A. Simkins, and Jean Axelrad Cahan, 67-77. Omaha, NE: Creighton University Press, 2003.
Describes the process, themes, and interpretations of Weaving Women's Words, the first stage of an oral history project undertaken by the Jewish Women's Archive aimed at chronicling the experience of American Jewish women born in the first quarter of the twentieth century. The focus of the interviews was on the actual lives, experiences, and reflections of women, instead of on their involvements or the activities of their spouses, characteristic of many prior oral histories. The project also sought to capture the lives of "everyday" women, rather than concentrating on leaders. Three interrelated themes were explored by the project: the impact of gender on personal choices and outcomes, the experience of being Jewish, and the importance of place and region in shaping identity and experience. Guberman discusses the problems of interpreting oral histories; in particular, what's left unsaid.
"A Half Century: National Council of Jewish Women, Los Angeles 'Section', 1909-1959," Western States Jewish History 37, no. 2 (2005): 149-160.
Originally published in 1959. Surveys the history of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women.
Herman, Felicia. "From Priestess to Hostess: Sisterhoods of Personal Service in New York City, 1887-1936." In Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives. Edited by Pamela S. Nadell and Jonathan D. Sarna, 148-81. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, for Brandeis University Press, 2001.
Uses the history of Sisterhoods of Personal Service as a case study of American Jewish adaptation to American culture. At first, inspired by Protestant trends in social welfare and view of women as the more religious of the sexes, these Sisterhoods were seen as ways for women to express their religiosity through communal charity work. The Sisterhoods followed the principles of "scientific charity:" large centralized organizations were preferred over smaller independent agencies and efforts went into prevention rather than the reactive side of social welfare. But in the 1920s, the Sisterhoods of Personal Service model declined in favor of organizations (also called sisterhoods) that tended synagogues but no longer addressed social ills. Herman attributes the shift in purpose to five factors: a negation of the Victorian view of women as more religious and charitable, the end of mass Jewish immigration, heightened awareness of a need to combat total assimilation, the growth of paid, professional, social workers employed by Jewish federations, and a reassertion of masculine force within American Judaism.
Hyman, Paula E. "The Jewish Body Politic: Gendered Politics in the Early Twentieth Century." Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies and Gender Issues , no. 2 (1999): 37-51.
Describes two types of political activity in which Jewish women engaged early in the twentieth century that, though based on an assumption of female difference, led women to assert their legitimacy as political actors. The two activities were 1) the international fight against so-called white slavery and 2) activism around food and housing issues. The former was waged by middle class Jewish women in the United States and Western and Central Europe, the latter by urban East European immigrant women in the United States.
Igra, Anna R., "Marriage as Welfare," Women's History Review 15, no. 4 (2006): 601-610.
Describes the role of Jewish agencies in linking marriage and desertion to welfare reform. For a more detailed exposition, see her book Wives Without Husbands: Marriage, Desertion & Welfare in New York, 1900-1933 (University of North Carolina Press, 2007).
Jick, Leon. "The Americanization of the Synagogue: a Reexamination." American Jewish History 90, no. 1 (2002): 63-68.
The entire issue of the journal was devoted to a reexamination by a new generation of scholars of Jick's classic 1976 book The Americanization of the Synagogue, 1820-1870. In his response, Jick admits that he devoted too little attention to the role of women but is heartened that subsequent scholars have "searched more diligently for the contributions of women ..." (p. 64). Essays in the issue that mention the role of women are "The Americanization of the Synagogue, 1820-1870: An Historiographical Appreciation," by Pamela S. Nadell, introducing the thematic issue; and "From the Ladder to the Umbrella: The Metaphors of American Religious Life," by Shuly Rubin Schwartz, who calls attention in particular to the role of rebbetzins (rabbis' wives).
Johnson, Val Marie, "Protection, Virtue, and the 'Power to Detain': The Moral Citizenship of Jewish Women in New York City, 1890-1920," Journal of Urban History 31, no. 5 (2005): 655-684. "Examines why and how anxiety about Jewish migration and urban settlement in New York City came to be expressed through exotic stories of gendered and sexualized danger" (p.656) and how those stories were used by privileged (Jewish and non-Jewish) women reformers to construct and elevate their own female citizenship. At times the Reformers used racialized language to refer to the Eastern European immigrants. Makes use of the scholarship on whiteness.
Joselit, Jenna Weissman. "The Jewish Priestess and Ritual: The Sacred Life of American Orthodox Women." In New York's Jewish Jews: the Orthodox Community in the Interwar Years, 97-122, 171-77. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990.
Reprinted in American Jewish Women's History: A Reader, edited by Pamela S. Nadell, 153-174. New York: New York University Press, 2003
In the years between World War I and World War II, the Orthodox community followed suit after the Reform and Conservative branches of American Judaism in strengthening the relationship of Orthodox women to the synagogue, attending to their spiritual needs, and advancing their Jewish knowledge and practices. In the process the Orthodox synagogue changed. Remote women's galleries were replaced by large sections on the main floor, divided from the men's section by a mechitzah (divider), but giving women full view of the pulpit. The service itself became more participatory and decorous. The synagogue became a center of community life, further increasing the comfort level of women congregants. Sisterhoods were established in individual synagogues, and in 1923 the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America founded a Women's Branch, which provided chapters with study and administrative materials. The Jewish education of women had been minimal, and Women's Branch was especially concerned with creating "learned women" through sending girls to day schools, encouraging them to become Hebrew teachers and providing the training, and offering adult education to the older generation. Women's Branch also promoted kashrut (observance of Jewish dietary laws) by focusing less on legalistic arguments than on aesthetics and the compatibility of kashrut with modern American life. Women's Branch members vigorously sought a wider selection of kosher packaged products by visiting producers, paying for laboratory analyses, and promoting the value of obtaining the ritual supervision that would yield the OU seal on goods. Orthodox women were also involved in religious Zionism through the Mizrachi Women's Organization, taking a particular interest in the education of girls in Palestine in the domestic sphere.
Karsh, Audrey R. "San Diego Pioneering Ladies and Their Contributions to the Community, 1881-1905." Western States Jewish History 31, no. 1 (1998): 21-32.
Describes the organizations of Jewish women in San Diego in the late nineteenth century.
Katzburg-Yungman, Mira. "The Impact of Gender on the Leading American Zionist Organizations." In Gender, Place and Memory in the Modern Jewish Experience: Re-Placing Ourselves. Edited by Judith Tydor Baumel and Tova Cohen, 165-86. Portland, OR: Vallentine Mitchell, 2003.
After the state of Israel came into being in 1948, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) declined in membership and influence, while Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, flourished and grew. Uses the concept of gender to explain the differences. Pre-statehood, the ZOA and its members, who were mostly active businessmen, had concentrated on political/diplomatic efforts and fundraising, as their time permitted; but after statehood, the Israeli government took over the former, and various other organizations got involved in fundraising for absorption of immigrants, which was a major need in the new state. By contrast, Hadassah members were primarily non-employed women who had the time to devote to Hadassah activities. From its founding, Hadassah had developed in line with women's traditional concerns and method -- a practical approach to health, welfare, and education -- all of which tied Hadassah to the day-to-day life of Israel. These needs swelled in the new country, which maintained a strong purpose for Hadassah and its members during the early years of statehood. Also makes the point that Hadassah accepted the view of gender differences inherent in American society at the time.
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara, "The Moral Sublime: Jewish Women and Philanthropy in Nineteenth-Century America." In Writing a Modern Jewish History: Essays in Honor of Salo W. Baron: 36-54. Edited by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett. New York: The Jewish Museum, and Yale University Press, 2006.
Fairs were a major fund-raising vehicle in nineteenth century America, and were largely organized by women. Jewish women participated in sanitary fairs in support of establishing a U.S. Sanitary Commission to supply medical and other supplies for Civil War soldiers and help for their families. In the second half of the 19th century, they applied what they learned from the sanitary fairs to conducting mammoth charity fairs in the Jewish community. Besides raising considerable amounts of money, the fairs were major social events, providing women a place to appear in public. The 1885 Fair in Aid of the Educational Alliance and Hebrew Technical Institute marked a transition from outright charity to philanthropy (preventing the need for charity), by raising funds for these two institutions that provided vocational and technical training for new Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Unlike previous Jewish fairs, men (especially department store magnates) were in charge of this one, though women managed individual booths and attractions, and they ran it more like a department store than a fair (no buttonholing selling raffle tickets, etc.) By the end of the century the huge fairs declined. The women volunteers who would have organized and staffed them began to turn to social work and other careers in the helping professions. Includes illustrations from the Souvenir Book of the 1885 Fair in Aid.
Klapper, Melissa. "Jewish Women and Vocational Education in New York City, 1885-1925." American Jewish Archives Journal 53, no. 1-2 (2001): 113-46.
The Hebrew Technical School for Girls (founded 1885) and the Clara de Hirsch Home (founded 1897) were the two most prominent privately funded vocational schools for Jewish women in New York. The article points out the tension between the older, middle class Jewish community and working class new immigrants. The schools were started by philanthropists in the established Jewish community intent on Americanizing and inculcating middle class values into working class immigrant girls. The schools reconciled the middle class ideology of female domesticity and the necessity for poor immigrant women to enter the labor force by preparing their students for domestic work. The schools taught sewing, millinery, dressmaking, needlework, and cooking. Later the Hebrew Technical School, although not the Clara de Hirsch Home, offered a commercial track and some academic courses, which the students preferred (to the consternation of community members who thought that domestic skills were the most important). The boards of the schools also considered paid labor to be temporary, between the end of formal education and marriage, a situation that was unrealistic for the working class student body. The schools declined as the concept of acceptable work for women expanded beyond the domestic and as public schools began offering vocational courses.
———. "'A Long and Broad Education': Jewish Girls and the Problem of Education in America, 1860-1920." Journal of American Ethnic History 22, no. 1 (2002): 3-31.
Asserts that because high schools are basically conservative institutions, they posed no threat to Jewish families and communities during the time period discussed, and therefore Jewish parents were often willing to allow their daughters to attend. Colleges, on the other hand, were more problematic. Even attendance at high school was not assured in families that needed the income from girls -- or chose to use it for the education of their brothers, which was considered a much higher priority.
Larson, Kate Clifford. "The Saturday Evening Girls: A Progressive Era Library Club and the Intellectual Life of Working Class and Immigrant Girls in Turn-Of-The-Century Boston." Library Quarterly 71, no. 2 (2001): 195-230.
In addition to a general description of the club established in 1899 to stimulate the minds of immigrant Jewish and Italian girls in Boston's North End, the article quotes from and discusses charter club member Fanny Goldstein in particular. Goldstein edited the club's newsletter from 1912 to 1917 and went on to have a career as a librarian in the West End branch of the Boston Public Library. She founded Jewish Book Week (later Month) and curated the Judaica collection of the Library.
Lavitt, Pamela Brown. "First of the Red Hot Mamas: 'Coon Shouting' and the Jewish Ziegfeld Girl." American Jewish History 87, no. 4 (1999): 253-90.
Explains the role of turn-of-the-century Jewish women performers as "coon shouters," singing songs also known then as Negro dialect songs, often performed in black face, but incorporating Jewish physical cues. Fanny Brice and Sophie Tucker were the last and achieved the most fame. Lavitt fills in the period preceding them by reviewing the careers of their Jewish vaudeville foremothers, Ziegfeld girls Anna Held and Nora Bayes. According to Lavitt, they performed "doubly coded racial masquerades" (p.262), where outward signs of Jewishness and blackness were absent but understood by audiences nonetheless.
Leonoff, Cyril E., "The Hebrew Ladies of Victoria, Vancouver Island, 1958-2003," Western States Jewish History 37, no. 3/4 (2005): 17-111.
Describes the efforts of women in Congregation Emanu-El to create a benevolent organization and take part as equals of men in synagogue activities.
Levin, Marj Jackson, "Jewish Women for Social Justice," Michigan Jewish History 45 (2005): 32-36.
The co-founder of the Detroit chapter of the National Organization for Women discusses the leadership role of Jewish women in activities of the chapter. Joan Israel, Harriet Alpern, Jacqui Steingold, Allyn Ravitz, and Marcia Federbush reminisce about what drew them to NOW. Two mention a Jewish connection: Alpern, who participated in successful media actions, recalls that Judaism was the main factor in her involvement; Federbush felt that Jewish families placed girls in an inferior position -- she fought for equal opportunities for girls in local schools.
Lipstadt, Deborah E. "Feminism and American Judaism: Looking Back at the Turn of the Century." In Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives. Edited by Pamela S. Nadell and Jonathan D. Sarna, 291-308. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, for Brandeis University Press, 2001.
Reviews the dramatic changes in American Jewish life wrought by feminism, singling out the ordination of women rabbis in the Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative Movements, and Orthodox women's prayer groups and Talmud study. Mentions countertrends as well, such as the small percentage of female Federation presidents or senior women rabbis of large congregations and, among the Orthodox, the revival of abandoned customs that separate out women.
Malone, Bobbie. "Ruth and Rosalie: Two Tales of Jewish New Orleans." Southern Jewish History Journal 1 (1998): 121-33.
On two native New Orleans women from different Jewish backgrounds (Ruth Dreyfous, Reform, and Rosalie Cohen, Orthodox) who lived full, public-oriented lives that spanned most of the 20th century.
Mayer, Susan. "Amelia Greenwald and Regina Kaplan: Jewish Nursing Pioneers." Southern Jewish History Journal 1 (1998): 83-108.
On two American leaders in nursing active during the first half of the 20th century. Both graduated from nursing programs in 1908. In addition to holding several positions in the U.S., Greenwald founded and ran a training school for Jewish nurses in Warsaw in the 1920s and directed the nurses' training school at Hadassah Hospital in Palestine in the early 1930s. Kaplan was nursing superintendent and an administrator at the Leo N. Levi Hospital in Hot Springs, AR, for 35 years, where she also was involved in nurse training.
McAllen, Ronda, "Jewish Baltimore Album Quilts," Uncoverings 27 (2006): 187-217.
A study of 12 quilts from mid-19th century Baltimore, many of which were owned by German Jewish families and probably made by women of the families. The quilts feature motifs reminiscent of German folk art of the time and animals depicted are used in other Jewish decorative media. The author speculates that practicing the art of album quiltmaking "might have given the Jewish women of Baltimore an acceptable way to participate in American public life and might suggest their increasing assimilation into American society" (p.193).
McCune, Mary. "Creating a Place for Women in a Socialist Brotherhood: Class and Gender Politics in the Workmen's Circle, 1892-1930." Feminist Studies 28, no. 3 (2002): 585-610.
The Workmen’s Circle (Arbeiter Ring) is a Socialist mutual aid organization founded in 1892. While in theory committed to equality, few women attended meetings or achieved leadership positions within the organization in the time period studied, due to a series of factors. Males were ambivalent about the participation of women, domestic chores made demands on women’s time and energies, and the lower dues structure instituted for women took away voting privileges, increasing female estrangement from the organization. However, women formed their own affiliates, where they concentrated on education and social welfare concerns, which, over time, influenced the overall agenda of the organization, transforming it into one with wider social and cultural purposes. From 1915 the Circle’s paper, Der Fraynd (The Friend) had a column “Iber der froyen velt” (About the Women’s World), written by Adele Kean Zametkin, who urged women to participate in the paid labor force and promoted suffrage, though not at the expense of class consciousness. In the 1920s Rose Asch-Simpson successfully spearheaded the formation a Social Service Department, which rendered critical assistance to members during the Great Depression. McCune makes useful comparisons of the experience of women in the Workmen’s Circle to that of women in other Socialist organizations. See McCune's forthcoming book "The Whole Wide World, Without Limits: International Relief, Gender Politics, and American Jewish Women, 1893-1930"(Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2005).
. "Social Workers in the Muskeljudentum: 'Hadassah Ladies,' 'Manly Men,' and the Significance of Gender in the American Zionist Movement, 1912-1928." American Jewish History 86, no. 2 (1998): 135-65.
Hadassah leaders had a gendered conception of the work of their organization, seeing it as a nurturing, practical Zionism. Louis Lipsky and other male Zionist leaders agreed that the women's contribution was different, but considered it merely charity work, or at best fundraising, but not Zionist. To them, Zionism meant building a nation, in the course of which the effete, diasporic, Jewish male would be rejuvenated into the new Jewish man, a concept known as muskeljudentum (muscular Jewry). Though undervalued by the male Zionist leadership, Hadassah's goals of fostering better relations between Arab and Jewish residents of Palestine, championing equal rights for Jewish women there, and educating American Jewish women to Zionism, were important contributions to the development of Palestine and the American Zionist movement.
McGinity, Keren R. "Immigrant Jewish Women Who Married Out." In Studies in Jewish Civilization, Vol. 14: Women and Judaism. Edited by Leonard J. Greenspoon, Ronald A. Simkins, and Jean Axelrad Cahan, 263-94. Omaha, NE: Creighton University Press, 2003.
Uses the experiences of European-born American writer-activists Mary Antin Grabau, Rose Pastor Stokes, and Anna Strunsky Walling as examples of women for whom intermarriage was a means of joining the dominant culture. All three marriages failed, but McGinity does not attribute any of the failures to intermarriage, but rather to political differences and financial disagreements. Even after their marriages to non-Jews, the three continued to exemplify a Jewish commitment to social justice.
Miller, Jessica Davidson. "The History of the Agunah in America: A Clash of Religious Law and Social Progress." Women's Rights Law Reporter 19, no. 1 (1997): 1-15.
Surveys secular-legal, religious, and organizational attempts to solve the problem of the agunah, a woman who wants to be divorced, but whose husband refuses to transmit a letter of divorce (get), leaving her unable to remarry according to Jewish law. Shows how the situation actually worsened for observant women after the Reform Movement accepted civil divorce and did away with the get in 1869. Their former husbands could now be remarried by Reform rabbis (as could the women, if they chose to abandon tradition). Women who wanted to remain traditional had lost one of the communal sticks that had helped compel men to sign a get. Also describes the "Lieberman clause" added to Conservative ketubot (marriage contracts) in 1954, the 1969 decision of the Conservative Movement's Rabbinical Assembly to nullify any marriage when a husband does not provide a get within six months of a civil divorce, New York State court cases and "get laws" enacted in 1983 and 1992, and reasons why there are still agunot among Orthodox women today.
Moore, Deborah Dash. "Jewish Women On My Mind." Culturefront (1997): 160-163.
Recounts how Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, co-edited by Moore and Paula E. Hyman (Routledge, 1997) began, and how they chose "who was in and who was out" as well as the topical entries.
Muir, Lisa. "Rose Cohen and Bella Spewack: The Ethnic Child Speaks to You Who Never Were There." College English 29, no. 1 (2002): 123-42.
Analyzes the autobiographies of two immigrant Jewish women. Both maintained their ethnic ties.
Nadell, Pamela S., "Americas Jewish Women." In From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America: 146-161. Edited by Michael W. Grunberger. New York: George Braziller in association with the Library of Congress, 2004.
This essay is part of a volume accompanying a Library of Congress exhibition commemorating the anniversary of the arrival of Jews to New Amsterdam in 1654. The exhibition drew on the collections of the Library of Congress, the American Jewish Historical Society, and elsewhere, and the book is richly illustrated. Nadell summarizes the various strands of American Jewish womens history, including their home lives, childrearing, involvement with family businesses and other economic activities, participation in religious life through teaching Sunday school, pressing for family seating over gender-segregated areas of prayer spaces, and more; and their commitments to social justice, womens rights, and Zionism. Other essays in the book, most notably Deborah Dash Moores The Crucial Decades (94-111) draw on womens memoirs.
———, "Divided Lives: A Generation of Baltimore Jewish Women Tell Their Tales," Generations: the Magazine of the Jewish Museum of Maryland (2005-2006): 96-109.
Nadell discusses the Baltimore women interviewed for the "Weaving Women's Lives" project of the Jewish Women's Archive. Their lives bridged the "divide" between more limited possibilities for women before the 1970s and afterwards, due to the opening up of educational opportunities through title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and other changes wrought by the women's movement. However, the life stories of these women demonstrate that "when women speak for themselves...the lives they lived never fully complied with the restricting gender roles which the wider culture prescribed for them." They were very much a part of the workforce, as owners, managers or workers in numerous businesses; as teachers, doctors, lawyers, social workers, and other professionals; and in the arts and politics. Nadell also discusses their family and social life, community activism, relationship to Judaism and Jewish practices, and offers some caveats about doing oral history.
———, "Engendering Dissent: Women and American Judaism." In The Religious History of American Women. Edited by Catherine A. Brekus, 279-293. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.
Advocates reconceptualizing the history of American Judaism to put gender in the forefront and women as actors rather than passive bystanders in the debates about mixed gender seating in the synagogue, the institutionalization of the Bat Mitsvah, and the ordination of women as rabbis.
———, "On Their Own Terms: America's Jewish Women, 1954-2004," American Jewish History 91, no. 3-4 (2003): 389-404.
Though the "diversity of American Jewish women makes it difficult to construct a single over-arching narrative," Nadell finds four themes running through the "gendered realities of Jewish women's lives" (p. 390) and the historical scholarship in the half century since the tercentenary celebration of Jewish settlement in America: domesticity, work, politics, and feminism, each of which she explores in turn. Bess Myerson's life, achievements, and career(s) exemplified changes in the first three domains. Betty Friedan, Bella Abzug, and others were founders and leaders of the modern feminist movement, paving the way for other women to successfully seek changes specifically in Jewish life. Nadell ends by calling for attention to gender to better understand how both men and women experienced recent history.
———, "'Opening the Blue of Heaven to Us': Reading Anew the Pioneers of Women's Ordination," Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues 9 (2005): 88-100.
As part of a thematic issue of Nashim on Jewish Womens Spirituality, Nadell re-examines three women she studied and wrote about in her Women Who Would Be Rabbis (1998), this time looking for spiritual yearnings. She finds a significant spiritual dimension to each of them. Ray Franks preaching in the 1890s included concerns about how to pray and how to reach and know God. In the 1920s Martha Neumark wrote of her reverence for worship, stirred by her confirmation, and of womens spiritual neEdited by Irma Levy Lindheim was also inspired by her confirmation to dedicate herself to the Jewish people, finding fulfillment in Zionism and settling in Palestine in the 1930s. All three pioneers were sensitive to what is now called gender and all three interpreted their attachments in mystical terms.
———, "Women on the Margins of Jewish Historiography." In The Margins of Jewish History. edited by Marc Lee Raphael, 102-12. Williamsburg, VA: Department of Religion, College of William and Mary, 2000.
Seeks to rectify the notion that the historiography of Jewish women did not begin until the 1970s. Discusses the work of three female independent scholars who lived in the United States earlier in the twentieth century and published on Jewish women's history: Dora Askowith, Trude Weiss-Rosmarin, and Anita Libman Lebeson. All had PhDs, but only Askowith had a career teaching at an academic institution (lecturer level at Hunter College). Weiss-Rosmarin is best known of the three, since she founded and edited The Jewish Spectator for over half a century. Lebeson lectured and published books and articles. All wrote "compensatory" history, retrieving women worthies from oblivion, considered the first stage of writing women's history. Nadell says it's now time to restore them and their work to the historiographic record.
Nelson, Anna Kasten. "Anna M. Rosenberg, an 'Honorary Man'." Journal of Military History 68, no. 1 (2004): 133-61.
Covers of the career of an immigrant Jewish woman who rose to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower in the Defense Department, appointed in 1950 to the post by Defense Secretary George C. Marshall.
Paton-Walsh, Margaret. "Women's Organizations, U.S. Foreign Policy, and the Far Eastern Crisis, 1937-1941." Pacific Historical Review 70, no. 4 (2001): 601-26.
The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) was one of six national women's organizations that advocated a change in U.S. mandatory neutrality legislation prohibiting any response to aggressor nations. The organizations understood that boycotts and embargoes would be more likely to lead to war than to keep the peace in the short-run, but their hope was for a lasting peace through collective security. The positions of the various organizations varied somewhat. The NCJW, for example, was more concerned than were the others about refugees created by wars. Paton-Walsh's contends that historians should reevaluate their questions about women, war, and peace; in particular, the notion that women are upholders of morality with a special relationship and greater commitment to peace.
Pearlstein, Peggy K. "Creating a U.S. Women's History Guide for the Collections at the Library of Congress: the Jewish Angle." In Proceedings of the 34th Annual Convention of the Association of Jewish Libraries, Washington, DC, 1999. Edited by Laura S. Wolfson and Barbara Y. Leff, 231-8. New York: Association of Jewish Libraries, 2000.
Discusses the project of creating the Guide and highlights some of the Library of Congress holdings that have bearing on American Jewish women's history. For further information, see the entry elsewhere in this bibliography for Pearlstein, Peggy K. and Barbara A. Tenenbaum, "Area Studies Collections: American Jewish Women." In American Women: A Library of Congress Guide for the Study of Women's History and Culture in the United States, edited by Sheridan Harvey, 346-356. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2001.
Pearlstein, Peggy K. and Barbara A. Tenenbaum. "Area Studies Collections: American Jewish Women." In American Women: A Library of Congress Guide for the Study of Women's History and Culture in the United States. Edited by Sheridan Harvey, 346-56. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2001. Also available at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/awhhtml/awas12/jewish.html.
Begins by outlining the history of Jewish women in America, then offers search strategies for finding relevant material within the holdings of the Library of Congress using reference works and the Library's catalog. Reviews groups of selected sources, including newspapers and periodicals, community publications, and cookbooks in Hebrew, Yiddish, English, and several other languages. Describes in more detail the Yiddish American play manuscripts, films, and sheet music that entered the Library of Congress through the depository function of the Copyright Office, mentioning prominent women playwrights, film stars, and lyricists; and the collections of sound recordings. The article is richly illustrated with color reproductions from the genres surveyed. For a discussion of the process of creating the Guide, see Pearlstein, Peggy K. "Creating a U.S. Women's History Guide for the Collections at the Library of Congress: the Jewish Angle." In Proceedings of the 34th Annual Convention of the Association of Jewish Libraries, Washington, DC, 1999, edited by Laurel S. Wolfson and Barbara Y. Leff, 231-238. New York: Association of Jewish Libraries, 2000.
Reimer, Gail Twersky. "Women on the Wall." In Studies in Jewish Civilization, Vol. 14: Women and Judaism. Edited by Leonard J. Greenspoon, Ronald A. Simkins, and Jean Axelrad Cahan, 203-21. Omaha, NE: Creighton University Press, 2003.
Contrasts the 9 posters of Jewish women issued by the American Jewish Archives beginning in 1974 under the aegis of Jacob Rader Marcus with the 18 in the Women of Valor series produced by the Jewish Women's Archive since the late 1990s in conjunction with Ma'yan: the Jewish Women's Project of the Jewish Community Center of the Upper West Side, New York City. The earlier set favored early Americans and liberal, social activists and subscribed to the "less is more" credo, mostly containing the woman's visage and a paragraph about her written by Marcus. Influenced by a generation of feminist scholarship in women's history, the later set features radicals and women in the arts and other fields in addition to politics and social action, includes quotations from the women themselves, and offers a rich collage of information that in Reimer's view invites the observer to delve into the woman's history. Includes 9 illustrations.
Rochlin, Harriet, "Lalapaloozas: Nine Extraordinary Western Jewish Women," Gilcrease Journal 12, no. 2 (2004): 4-17.
The nine are Ray Frank Litman, Emma Wolf, Josephine Earp, Harriet Lane Levy, Sarah Samuels Stein, Alice. B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein, Annette Rosenshine, and Frieda Fligelman.
Rojanski, Rachel. "At the Center or on the Fringes of the Public Arena: Esther Mintz-Aberson and the Status of Women in American Poalei Zion (1905-1935)." Journal of Israeli History 21, no. 1 (2002): 27-53.
Uses the personal experience of Esther Mintz-Aberson, the only woman in a leadership position in Poalei Zion up to the 1930s, to show that the members of the Socialist Zionist organization, which was officially supportive of equality between the genders, had a far more complex attitude. Discusses the formation and development of two affiliated women's organizations, Farband Women and Pioneer Women. Argues that "... paradoxically, while women's awareness of their status in society led them to shun the center of public life, it was precisely their organizing on the fringes that paved the way for their eventual integration into the main, male-dominated sphere of public life" (p.29). Contrasts the experience of Mintz-Aberson, who tried to be active in the male-dominated organization but was only able to achieve important positions when Poalei Zion was at a low ebb or when she moved to Chicago, away from the national organization in New York, with two leaders of Pioneer Women, Sophie Udin and Sarah Rivka Feder Kheifetz. Udin and Feder Kheifetz were more attuned to the pattern in America of women organizing and achieving within separate channels.
Rosen, Robert N. "Two Jewish Confederate Sisters." In The Jewish Confederates, 280-303, 434-37. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2000.
On Eugenia Levy Phillips and Phoebe Levy Pember, two sisters born in Charleston, South Carolina, who were prominent in support of the Confederacy. Phillips was arrested as a spy in Washington, DC, and later again in New Orleans for mocking Union soldiers. Pember was matron of a division of Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond, VA, at a time when it was quite unusual for a woman to be involved in hospital management. Information on Pember comes from her memoir, A Southern Woman's Story: Life in Confederate Richmond, edited by by Bell Irvin Wiley (Jackson, TN: McCowat-Mercer Press, 1959, and reprinted Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot, 1991).
Rotter, Arlene G. "Climbing the Crystal Stair: Annie T. Wise's Success As an Immigrant in Atlanta's Public School System (1872-1925)." Southern Jewish History 4 (2001): 45-70.
Assesses the 40-year career of Hungarian-born Annie Teitlebaum Wise in the Atlanta Public Schools, including her stint as principal of English Commercial High School from the standpoint of what was possible for a Jewish immigrant woman to achieve.
Sassler, Sharon. "Learning to Be an 'American Lady'? Ethnic Variation in Daughters' Pursuits in the Early 1900s." Gender and Society 14, no. 1 (2000): 184-209.
Uses data from the 1910 Census Public Use Sample in order to test general assimilation theory, which assumes a similar experience for men and women, by probing information on the pursuits of daughters in families of different ethnicities. Concludes that a single model, whether applied to both women and men, or applied uniformly to all ethnic groups, does not reflect the actual data. Compares "Yankee," Irish, German, Italian, Jewish, and Black experiences. Among the findings concerning Jews: immigrant Jewish girls were significantly less likely than first-generation Italian girls to give up attending school in order to perform domestic chores at home, regardless of family size or household composition. Furthermore, "[t]rade-offs between siblings that negatively affect school enrollment is apparently less based on gender and age in Jewish families than in Irish and Black families" (p.199).
Schultz, Debra L. "Our Unsung Civil Rights Movement Heroines." Lilith 24, no. 3 (1999): 10-16.
Based on Schultz' book-in-progress, later published as Going South: Jewish Women in the Civil Rights Movement (2001). Includes her statement "Why I Tracked Them Down."
Schwartz, Shuly R. "Ambassadors Without Portfolio? The Religious Leadership of Rebbetzins in Late-Twentieth-Century American Jewish Life." In Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives. Edited by Pamela S. Nadell and Jonathan D. Sarna, 235-67. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, for Brandeis University Press, 2001.
Studies the careers of three unconventional rabbis' wives: Ruth Waxman, Esther Jungreis, and Blu Greenberg. Schwartz' contention is that all three seemingly adhered to the traditional rebbetzin role, yet each pushed the boundaries of that role in different ways that helped open up Jewish religious leadership to women. Waxman was managing editor of Judaism, Jungreis is the charismatic founder of Hineni International, and Greenberg personifies feminism within Orthodoxy. Their status as rebbetzin allowed them, sometimes as substitutes for their husbands, to teach, speak, write, and grow into prominence in their own right.
———, "Serving the Jewish People: The Rebbetzin as Religious Leader." In Jewish Religious Leadership: Image and Reality: Edited by Jack Wertheimer, 633-657 (volume 2). New York: The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 2004.
Before women could be ordained as rabbis themselves (in non-Orthodox denominations), the closest they could get was to marry a rabbi. Schwartz calls the role of rebbetzin (wife of rabbi) the most prestigious one available to a woman in the Jewish community in that era. She casts light on the crucial part many rebbetzins played in the interwar years as the synagogue was evolving from strictly a place of worship into a communal center for education, socializing, and cultural and religious programming. Many had strong Jewish backgrounds themselves and actively sought out rabbis as husbands so that they could pursue this career. Some of the rebbetzins she discusses include Lilly Soloway Routtenberg, Esther Bengis, Reva Chashesman Epstein, Tamar de Sola Pool, Rose Berman Goldstein, Claire Woloch Rosenblatt, Althea Osber Silverman, Sadie Rose Weilerstein, Charlotte Ulmer Schwartz, Gertrude Rothschild Mayerberg, and Avis Clamitz Shulman.
Shargel, Baila Round. "American Jewish Women in Palestine: Bessie Gotsfeld, Henrietta Szold, and the Zionist Enterprise." American Jewish History 90, no. 2 (2002): 141-60.
Restores Bessie Goldstein Gotsfeld to her rightful place in history alongside Szold as an American woman who was vital to the establishment of institutions in Jewish Palestine. Gotsfeld worked through the Mizrachi Women's Organization, now known as Amit Women, whereas Szold founded Hadassah. The two women shared many similarities of temperament, talents, and commitments. Both were sensitive to beauty, oldest child in a large family, childless, brilliant, multilingual, and efficient and excellent organizers. Both exhibited highest dedication to Zionism including moving to Palestine and were devoted to elevating the Jewish knowledge of members of their organizations in America, confident in the ability of women's organizations to conduct activities, raise funds, and decide on disbursements independent of men. There were single-mindedly loyal to their organization and were both religious. They also diverged significantly. Gotsfeld was married, Szold was not. Szold was more literary and scholarly. While both were religious, Gotsfeld was Orthodox and considered the establishment of the Chief Rabbinate an absolute necessity. By contrast, Szold had studied and worked at the Conservative Movement's Jewish Theological Seminary of America and was a firm supporter of the separation of church and state in America and what she hoped would be a similar pattern in Israel, where she also hoped Jewish law itself would grow and change. Shargel refers to them as partly partner and partly nemesis of each other.
Sheramy, Rona. "'There Are Times When Silence Is a Sin': The Women's Division of the American Jewish Congress and the Anti-Nazi Boycott Movement." American Jewish History 89, no. 1 (2001): 105-21.
Describes the pivotal role of the Women's Division of the American Jewish Congress in day-to-day local operation of the 1934-1941 Anti-Nazi Boycott. The Women's Division's Vigilance Committee monitored local consumer and business boycott observance, and other members worked on disseminating information about the boycott. When the AJC strategy turned to picketing, Women's Division founder, Louise Waterman Wise, and other leaders attracted middle-class Jewish women to the picket lines by appealing to them as Americans, as Jews, and as women. They made connections between the traditional nurturing and protective role of Jewish women and the responsibility to fight Nazism, and they stressed Fascism's special threat to women. Although the boycott itself failed, examining the role of the Women's Division in the effort is important to a fuller understanding of the mobilization of the American Jewish community during the period.
Smith, Barbara. "Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Relationships Between Black and Jewish Women." In The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom, 130-153. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2000.
First published in Yours in Struggle : Three Feminist Perspectives on Anti-Semitism and Racism, edited by by Elly Bulkin, Minnie Bruce Pratt, and Barbara Smith (New York : Long Haul Press, 1984).
Seminal article on the complex relationship between Black and Jewish women. According to Smith, as women they share an awareness of oppression, but both have absorbed the prejudices of the other part of their identities -- Jews as white, and Blacks as Christian. In part, this essay is a response to statements in Letty Cottin Pogrebin's "Anti-Semitism in the Women's Movement" (Ms, June 1982: 46).
Snyder, Holly. "Queens of the Household: The Jewish Women of British America, 1700-1800." In Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives. Edited by Pamela S. Nadell and Jonathan D. Sarna, 15-45. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, for Brandeis University Press, 2001.
Uses the scant extant source material on Jewish women in colonial America creatively to describe their experiences and activities. Argues that gender relations among Jews exhibited a pattern distinct from that of Gentiles, with Jewish households being more complementary and interdependent.
Sochen, June. "Both the Dove and the Serpent: Hadassah's Work in 1920s Palestine." Judaism 52, no. 1-2 (2003): 71-83.
In the 1920s Hadassah set up what is still today a major part of the medical infrastructure of Israel. Founder Henrietta Szold looked to American pragmatism and social work practices for inspiration, avoiding personal and philosophical squabbles with individuals and other organizations in Jewish Palestine, and serving the needs of all groups, whether Arabs or Jews from the Middle East, North Africa, or European countries. Even after Arab riots, massacre of Jewish students, and burning of the Hadassah Hospital in Hebron in 1929, Szold remained committed to Hadassah treating everyone, and in speeches at conventions in America urged a closer bond between Arabs and Jews. Hadassah's pragmatic style allowed it to accomplish a great deal.
———. "From Sophie Tucker to Barbra Streisand: Jewish Women Entertainers As Reformers." In Talking Back: Images of Jewish Women in American Popular Culture. Edited by Joyce Antler, 68-84, 261-62. Hanover, NH: Brandeis University Press, 1998.
A study of 3 generations of Jewish women entertainers of the 20th century who Sochen says "operated as shrewd and funny observers of the battle between the sexes, the double standard, and sexuality" (p.69), publicly confronting topics previously available only to men and offering new roles for women. As such they altered perceptions and interpretations of Jewish women. Discussed are Sophie Tucker and Fannie Brice of the first generation, Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler of the third, and Joan Rivers in the middle.
Soyer, Daniel. "The Voices of Jewish Immigrant Mothers in the YIVO American Jewish Autobiography Collection." Journal of American Ethnic History 17, no. 4 (1998): 87-94.
In 1942, the Yiddish Scientific Institute-YIVO sponsored a contest on "Why I Left Europe and What I Have Accomplished in America," which received 223 responses, mostly in Yiddish, of which forty-seven were from women. This article looks at sixteen of the autobiographical pieces, by women who arrived in America age twenty-five or over, examining how the women evaluated their reasons for emigration and their subsequent lives. On the whole, the women were enthusiastic about living in a land of peace and security, where they and in particular their children flourished.
Stein, Regina. "The Road to Bat Mitzvah in America." In Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives. Edited by Pamela S. Nadell and Jonathan D. Sarna, 223-34. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, for Brandeis University Press, 2001.
Surveys the steps on the road to acceptance of the Bat Mitzvah in Reform and Conservative synagogues such that by 1960 the ceremony was held in almost all congregations. However, in neither movement did women participate in the debate over instituting the Bat Mitzvah. Furthermore, ironically, in Conservative synagogues the event symbolized the one and only day the young woman would read from the Torah, whereas for boys the Bar Mitzvah marked the beginning of participation in the service. Eventually that discrepancy could not be justified.
Stern, Norton B. "Six Pioneer Women of San Francisco." Western States Jewish History 30, no. 2 (1998): 159-68. Reprinted minus the section on Anna Marks as "Susan Levy, Corrine S. Koshland, Mary Goldsmith Prag, Amerila Dannenberg & Carolyn Anspacher: Five Pioneer Jewish Women of San Francisco" in Jewish Women of the American West: An Anthology of Articles Published by Western States Jewish History, edited by Gladys Sturman and David Epstein, 28-36. Los Angeles, Western States Jewish History Association, 2003.
Brief sketches of six nineteenth and early twentieth century women connected to San Francisco: feisty real estate tycoon Anna Marks, family matriarch Susan Levy, educator Mary Goldsmith Prag, clothing entrepreneur Amelia Dannenberg, journalist Carolyn Anspacher, and Corrine S. Koshland, who took fifty-eight relatives and friends into her mansion after the 1906 earthquake.
Stollman, Jennifer A., "The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword: Southern Jewish Women Writers, Antisemitism, and the Promotion of Domestic Judaism." In Jewish Roots In Southern Soil: A New History. Edited by Marcie Cohen Ferris and Mark L. Greenberg, 72-85. Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, published by University Press of New England, 2006.
Provides examples of how 19th century Southern Jewish women writers combated anti-Semitism and misinformation about Jews and Judaism through use of a questioner style of writing directed at a general audience and how they employed domestic-focused writing to strengthen Jewish life. Writers discussed who fought anti-Semitism include, Rachel Mordecai and Phoebe Yates Pember, while Miriam Gratz Moses and Grace Seixas Nathan promoted Judaism; Penina Moise and Octavia Harby Moses did both.
Toll, William. "From Domestic Judaism to Public Ritual: Women and Religious Identity in the American West." In Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives. Edited by Pamela S. Nadell and Jonathan D. Sarna, 128-47. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, for Brandeis University Press, 2001.
In the American West of the second half of the nineteenth century, immigrant Jewish women expressed their Jewishness publicly through female benevolent societies and informal education of children, rather than through synagogue participation or household rituals. Their daughters, born in the West, "modernized their identity" by participating with Protestant women in club and settlement work and by founding Sunday schools where holiday pageantry underscored an American Judaism.
Weinberg, Sydney Stahl. "The World of Our Fathers and the World of Our Mothers." American Jewish History 88, no. 4 (2000): 547-56.
Reveals what led up to her writing The World of Our Mothers (1988), a corrective to Irving Howe's The World of Our Fathers, which, as its name suggests, is primarily a history of what Jewish men were doing, and reviews more recent developments in the historiography of American Jewish women.
Weiner, Deborah. "Jewish Women in the Central Appalachian Coal Fields, 1890-1960: From Breadwinners to Community Builders." American Jewish Archives Journal 52, no. 1/2 (2000): 10-33.
Jewish women played essential roles in coalfield towns of central Appalachia in sustaining their families and Jewish communities during the period studied. Women of the immigrant generation "helped out" in family businesses or were the actual owners of confectionaries, clothing, and dry goods stores. Thereafter, Jewish women's activities turned to creating communal institutions, including religious schools, aid societies, synagogues, and sisterhoods. Their role in establishing synagogues was often hidden behind men who officially incorporated the institutions and were the board members. The women's organizations paralleled those of their middle-class Christian neighbors, but provided members with settings where they could socialize with other Jewish women.
Wenger, Beth S. "Mitzvah and Medicine: Gender, Assimilation, and The Scientific Defense of 'Family Purity'." Jewish Social Studies 5, no. 1/2 (1999): 177-202.
Also in Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives, edited by by Pamela S. Nadell and Jonathan D. Sarna, 201-222.
Between 1920 and 1940, Jewish religious commentators viewed women's observance of family purity laws as central to the preservation of the Jewish people from assimilation. They were buttressed in their argument by the medical/scientific community of the day, which attributed the lower rate of cervical cancer among Jewish women to abstinence from intercourse during menstruation and immersion in the mikveh (ritual bath). This argument declined following World War II.
. "The Politics of Women's Ordination: Jewish Law, Institutional Power, and the Debate Over Women in the Rabbinate." In Tradition Renewed: A History of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Edited by Jack Wertheimer, 485-523. Vol. II. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1997.
Delves into social, psychological, and political factors associated with the debate over women's ordination within the Conservative Movement in the 1970s and early 1980s, including internal dissension that it brought to light between the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTA) and the Rabbinical Assembly (RA), the association of rabbis belonging to the Movement. Describes the workings of the Commission for the Study of the Ordination of Women As Rabbis, mandated in 1977 by resolution of the RA and chaired by JTS Chancellor Gerson Cohen. In 1979, the Commission found in favor of women's ordination, but the JTS faculty tabled a vote until 1983, when the decision was made to admit women to rabbinical school. Describes events between the 1979 and 1983 votes and the beginnings of feminist reconceptualization of Conservative Judaism signaled by the momentous decision.
Wilhelm, Cornelia. "The Independent Order of True Sisters: Friendship, Fraternity, and a Model of Modernity for Nineteenth-Century American Jewish Womanhood." American Jewish Archives Journal 54, no. 1 (2002): 37-63.
Discusses the Unabhängiger Orden Treuer Schwestern (UOTS), a fraternal lodge founded in 1846 by women of Temple Emanu-El, New York City as a women's organization paralleling the B'nai Brith. The UOTS was the only exclusively female, independent, fraternal organization in America at that time, placing Jewish women ahead of Protestant women in establishing this type of organization. Wilhelm sees the underlying purpose of the organization as raising the self-awareness of the members and promoting their personal growth in knowledge and morality in order to prepare them for civic participation. The UOTS also had benevolent functions but was unlike female benevolent societies where membership was automatic upon payment of dues. UTOS applicants had to prove their moral worth and social status to be accepted. To achieve full membership, women had to pass through four degrees, named for Biblical exemplars of the desired qualities: Love of others (Miriam), friendship (Ruth), fidelity (Esther), and piety (Hannah). German remained the language spoken in most of the UOTS lodges through World War I, limiting the number of potential members. After 1896 Jewish women had the option of joining the new National Council of Jewish Women, which was based more on social welfare. In Wilhelm's view, future research on the organizational behavior of American Jewish women should not neglect Jewish fraternal associations as a training ground for such organizations.
Jewish Women in American Sport: Settlement Houses to the Olympics, Linda J. Borish, Executive Producer and Historian et al., 1 videodisc (27 min.), Chicago, 2006.
A history of Jewish women connected to American sports -- athletes, coaches, promoters, and others.
Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women, Jackie Hoffman, et al., 1 videocassette (90 min.), Brookline, MA, 2006.
Judy Gold, Cory Kahaney, Jackie Hoffman and Jessica Kirson discuss the challenges of being comediennes and pay homage to their predecessors. With photographs, film footage, and interviews of Molly Picon, Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker, Gilda Radner, Wendy Wasserstein, and Joan Rivers.
Jewish Virtual Library: Biographies of Jewish Women. Web page, [accessed 7 June 2004]. Available at http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/biography/biowomen.html.
Biographical sketches of numerous Jewish women from the United States and Israel, compiled from a variety of sources by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise.
Jewish Women in Southern Arizona. Web page, 1999 [accessed 7 June 2004]. Available at http://www.u.arizona.edu/ic/mcbride/ws200/jewc.htm
Site created by students in the women's studies course "Women and Western Culture," taught by Kari McBride, University of Arizona, Spring, 1999.
Jewish Women's Archive. [accessed 7 June 2004]. Available at http://www.jwa.org.
Contains the Virtual Archive database consists of 500 archival images and the records of over 200 women, whose collections are held in repositories in the United States and Canada; exhibits on historical individuals designated "Women of Valor" and on "Women Who Dared," which celebrates Jewish women activists who are "ordinary women who have done extraordinary things;" information about the Jewish Women's Archive, and other resources.
Passages: An Immigrant's Story. [accessed 31 March 2008.] Available at http://www.nmajh.org/exhibitions/passages/index.htm
Exhibit by artist Beth Grossman consisting of a series of antique doors illustrating her great-grandmother's journey from Russia to America. Mounted by the National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia, PA.
Unpacking on the Prairie: Jewish Women in the Upper Midwest. [accessed 7 June, 2004]. Was on http://www.jewishwomenexhibit.com/. No longer online [31 March 2008.]
Based on a physical exhibit that was assembled by the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest and the Minnesota Historical Society.