The Encyclopedia features over 1,700 biographies, 300 thematic essays, and 1,400 photographs and illustrations on a wide range of Jewish women through the centuries -- from Gertrude Berg to Gertrude Stein; Hannah Greenebaum Solomon to Hannah Arendt; the Biblical Ruth to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
A distinguished foreign service officer, Magdalen Flexner succeeded in crossing gender barriers to assume professional positions traditionally reserved for men. Living in a time of social restriction and limited opportunity for women, she defined herself as an independent woman, unfazed by the mold society dictated. Her ambition refused to deny her intelligence its full potential.
Eugénie Foa was born Rebecca Eugénie Rodrigues Henriquès in Bordeaux, France on June 12, 1796 and died in Paris in 1852. Foa was the first professional Jewish woman author, supporting herself entirely from her writings. She wrote children’s books, novels and short stories in the Romantic genre of her day, some of which treated Jewish subjects.
“The law of boredom is merciless,” wrote Dvoyre Fogel, a Yiddish writer of poetry, prose and literary and art criticism, in the manifesto that opens her first book of poetry. Fogel’s remarkable experimental poetry, all written in the 1930s, was, in the spirit of early twentieth-century art, radically avant-garde and attuned to all the modernist minimalisms.
For the halutzim (pioneers), Israeli folk dances were originally an expression of ideology and values in the guise of pleasurable and liberating leisure activity. As a result, it is possible to identify a veritable “movement” of Israeli dance, in which women played a primary role, although Barukh Aggadati (1895–1976), a unique pioneer on the pre-state artistic scene, created and performed the first Israeli folk dance in Tel Aviv in 1924.
Vera Fonaroff began her career in the early 1900s as a solo violinist and recitalist, and later was a member of the critically acclaimed Olive Mead String Quartet. She taught the violin for many years and was esteemed as a violin pedagogue. A dedicated musician and teacher, she believed in the power of music for social good.
Sarah Feiga Meinkin Foner wrote about the issues that concerned her most in the language she loved most, Hebrew.
No matter who is looking for it, whether on an individual, familial or commercial level, American Jewish women of the twenty-first century have an important role to play in providing the food for, and of, American Jews.
When Helen Forrest joined the Harry James band in 1941, she broke new ground for American vocalists. She asked that specific arrangements be written just for her and that the band accompany her lead vocal. Harry James agreed, and Forrest went on to record five gold records: “But Not for Me,” “I Don’t Want to Walk Without You,” “I Cried For You,” “I’ve Heard That Song Before,” and “I Had the Craziest Dream.”
Selma Fraiberg was a psychoanalyst, author, and pioneer in the field of infant psychiatry.
Until the Revolution and their acceptance as citizens, most Jews lived in officially recognized autonomous communities in southwestern and northeastern France. Within these communities, they established charitable institutions, elected a governing body, defined the curriculum of their schools, registered their births, marriages and deaths and adjudicated cases in their own courts.
The career open to talent became a reality for many Jewish men in nineteenth-century France, but Jewish women began to play a public role in French life only with the opening up of opportunities for women at the turn of the twentieth century. Their being women determined their fate, more than their Jewishness, except for the Holocaust years.
Anne Frank’s diary, particularly these sentences, became one of the central symbols of the Holocaust and of humanity faced with suffering: the strength of spirit that led a young girl to write such words after two years of imprisonment hidden in a small, crowded attic, decreed on her by senseless evil; and the opening which her words offer for a new era of hope and reconciliation after a world war that claimed tens of millions of victims. These words aroused great admiration for her diary and for the girl herself. Translated into more than fifty languages, the diary sold more than thirty million copies all over the world.
Community leader, artist, newspaper drama critic, and host of a popular radio program in Philadelphia, Lee Weiss Frank was born in Newton Falls, Ohio, on May 16, 1899, the elder of two daughters born to Adolph and Eugenia (Guttman) Weiss.
At a time when figurative work has not been an artistic imperative, Frank imparts a sense of the timeless and elemental to her work, placing her among the foremost figurative artists of our time.
While her career was short-lived, Ray Frank remains significant as the first Jewish woman to preach from a pulpit in the United States, and the first to be seen as a Jewish religious leader.
The first woman CEO of a major Jewish publishing house, Ellen Frankel is a pioneering feminist leader in business and the literary arts, a soaring spirit, a cultivator of women’s imaginative thinking, and an engaged and engaging teacher.
Rose Dorothy Lewin Franken was a celebrated Broadway playwright and director, a Hollywood screenwriter and a popular novelist whose fiction touched a sympathetic chord in American women.
With these words, Käte Frankenthal, physician and former Berlin Social Democratic municipal councillor, began her prize-winning memoir, written in New York in 1940.
Helen Frankenthaler's constant high achievement ranks her as one of the most important contributors to the history of postwar American painting.
A leading advocate for advanced education for women, she supported the rise of women in professional life, even employing an Anglo-Jewish woman surgeon. Furious at the educational, civic and political limitations imposed upon women, Henrietta Franklin became active in the British suffrage movement. She and her sister Lily Montagu also joined the extended Franklin family and friends in helping to create and lead the Jewish League for Woman Suffrage (founded November 3, 1912), an organization dedicated to attaining suffrage in Britain and equal religious and communal rights for women in the Anglo-Jewish community.
Although best known for being the British physical chemist whose crucial experimental data enabled James Watson and Frances Crick to solve the structure of DNA as early as 1953, she received no gracious mention from either of them during their Nobel Prize speeches.
Jeanne Franko, the distinguished violinist, pianist, and music teacher, was born in New Orleans, the second oldest of at least eight children of Hamman and Helene (Bergman) Franko, German Jews who had immigrated there before their marriage.
No colonial American woman left a more engaging portrait of contemporary family, political, and social life than Bilah “Abigail” Franks.
This admired, beautiful, vivacious, intelligent member of the affluent and influential Franks family is a noted figure in Jewish colonial history.
Cynthia Freeman is remembered as a best-selling author of popular romances during the 1970s and 1980s. A central theme running through most of Freeman’s novels is the struggle of Jewish immigrants to assimilate to American life while at the same time maintaining Jewish traditions. Freeman’s work was influenced by her family’s closeness and by her concern for the continuation of Jewish life and culture.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Encyclopedia." (Viewed on March 29, 2015) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/toc/F>.