Tweeting the Encyclopedia of Jewish Women
“Big Hats and bigger opinions, she knew ‘This woman’s place is in the House—the House of Representatives,’” Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder tweeted on May 2, the launch day for Jewish Women’s Archive’s “#jwapedia: Tweeting the Encyclopedia” project. By doing so, she sent a link to the article about Bella Abzug in the online “Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia” hurtling out into cyberspace to be clicked on, opened and read by her many Twitter followers.
The rabbi (and occasional Sisterhood contributor), together with 25 other prolific tweeters in the Jewish community, will be tweeting a significant portion of the encyclopedia’s 1,700 biographies, 300 thematic essays, and 1,400 photographs as an experiment throughout May in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month.
Although they were asked to commit to tweeting just one article a week, many of the partners have immediately embraced the project and have been tweeting multiple articles a day. Three days into the effort, 58 articles had already been tweeted — and retweeted many times over.
Abusch-Magder, who suggested the project idea to JWA, sees this as an experiment in harnessing the power of social media to let people transmit and translate historical information in their own way and to their own networks. “Scholars are not going to make history popular, but something like this will,” the rabbi said.
Renee Ghert-Zand is a frequent contributor to the Sisterhood, which cross-posts regularly with Jewesses with Attitude.