An Orthodox Jewish woman from Suwalki, Poland, Miriam (Mary) Rachofsky (Kobey) was an unlikely pioneer on the western frontier. Her passion for helping others led to a successful career as a midwife in Denver at a time when very few women ran their own businesses.
Adapted from The Journey Home: How Jewish Women Shaped Modern America, by Joyce Antler (Schocken Books, 1997).
Bel Kaufman, the daughter of East European immigrants and granddaughter of Yiddish novelist Sholom Aleichem, emigrated from Odessa with her family in 1923 when she was twelve, quickly learned English, and used the public libraries voraciously.
At first glance Diane Arbus might seem like an odd role model. To many she is simply a photographer of freaks. Her name is usually associated with the marginal and with what some call the “deviant.” Author Norman Mailer once said “giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child.” She struggled with depression for most her life and committed suicide in 1971 at the age of 48. She might not be the best example of a nice Jewish girl, but she is my choice for Women’s History Month.
Sometimes at JWA a story insists on coming to life.
The article on Sophie Rabinoff in our online Encyclopedia was a good scholarly representation of the pioneering physician's life and work. But no photos accompanied it; nothing helped lift it off the page. A few weeks ago, her great niece Jennifer Arnold contacted us to say that she had some photos of her aunt and wondered if we could add them to the article. I told her that we would be happy to, and she kindly scanned and sent them to me.
You might expect a writer, at age 80-plus, to retire from the public eye. Not Faye S. Moskowitz. As chair of the English Department at The George Washington University, the acclaimed short story author still shapes the dialogue about Jewish American fiction and where it’s headed. She continues to give book talks and forge conversations between accomplished writers and aspirants. Her own work has sometimes been compared to that of famed Jewish American short story writer Tillie Olsen.