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.
Naamah is one of only three females included in the genealogies of the early chapters of Genesis.
According to the Rabbis, Naamah was Noah’s wife; as her name indicates, her actions were pleasing (ne’imim—Gen. Rabbah 23:3). According to another view, however, she acted improperly, for she beat on a drum and drew people to engage in idolatry, and her musical activity increased corruption among people.
Jewish law presents this concept as the legal basis for granting women the option to perform commandments from which they are exempt, thereby bringing them spiritual satisfaction.
In 1891 Nahida Ruth Lazarus published The Jewish Woman, a product of her fundamental interest in both feminism and Judaism, which aroused enormous interest. It was and remains an important source book for women’s studies, used and cited by countless female and male authors.
One of Israel’s outstanding advocates and legislators in the field of social justice in general and women’s rights in particular, Ora Namir was the only child of pioneering agricultural laborers in the moshav of Hoglah in the central Sharon region of Israel (founded in 1933).
The Book of Ruth is one of two in the Hebrew Bible that bears a woman’s name (the other is Esther). Ruth depicts the struggles of Naomi and Ruth for survival in a patriarchal environment.
The midrash is generally quite positive in its appraisal of Naomi, who is called “a righteous woman” in various places, and is included among the upright women outstanding in their righteousness with whom Israel was blessed throughout the generations (Ozar ha-Midrashim [Eisenstein], p. 474).
Widely esteemed for her expertise in criminal law, Justice Miriam Naor was born in Jerusalem on October 26, 1947.
An accomplished English editor and Hebrew-English translator, Shulamith Nardi made a substantial contribution in all the many fields of her interest; her achievements were extensive and varied.
Doña Gracia Nasi (c. 1510–1569) was among the most formidable figures of the Sephardi world in the sixteenth century. Her dramatic (indeed melodramatic) life began in Portugal, where she was born into a Jewish family whose members had recently been forcibly baptized. It ended in Constantinople after a career that brought her renown as a shrewd and resourceful businesswoman, a leader of the Sephardi diaspora, and a generous benefactor of Jewish enterprises.
Lillian Nassau, the doyenne of New York City antiques dealers, was instrumental in the revival of international interest in the lamps and metalwork created by Louis Comfort Tiffany at the turn of the century.
As a young girl, Rachel Natelson corresponded with an uncle who had been studying with Henrietta Szold. From him, she learned about Palestine and the Zionist movement. These exchanges were to lay the foundation for her extraordinary life as a leader on behalf of the Zionist cause—including being one of the founding members of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America.
Adele Gutman Nathan, professionally active until the last two years of her life, transmitted American culture and her long-standing interest in technology, especially railroads, to a general public through theater, film, pageants, articles, and books.
Maud Nathan, social reformer and political activist, lived two distinct lives. She was born on October 20, 1862, into a distinguished old New York Sephardic family (she had relatives who fought in the American Revolution; one of her cousins was Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo; and another cousin was the poet emma lazarus) and had a privileged childhood.
Shuly Nathan’s clear and melodious voice represents some of the best qualities of true folk singing. Her varied repertoire consists not just of songs which happen to be fashionable at the moment but of carefully selected outstanding songs, both old and new.
When the National Council of Jewish Women was founded in 1893, it was the first national organization in history to unite Jewish women to promote the Jewish religion. That its commitment to preserve Jewish heritage in a quickly modernizing America would be fraught with contradictions was not readily apparent in the optimistic surroundings of the World Parliament of Religions, convened as part of the Chicago World Exposition.
In 1913, the women of Reform Judaism, who were organized in independent, local synagogue sisterhoods founded in the 1890s and 1900s, united to create a national organization of women dedicated to religion. Reform Jewish women joined the American women of the era who established a host of voluntary associations to further various social and communal agendas.
The Talmud describes women as a “nation unto themselves” (BT Shabbat 62a) and rabbinic literature is replete with implications concerning the differences in the respective natures of men and women. Often the portrayals are paradoxical, citing opinions which describe seemingly opposite traits.
Gertrud Amon Natzler’s collaboration with her husband, Otto Natzler, over almost four decades produced some of the twentieth century’s finest ceramics.
Elsie M.B. Naumburg successfully combined a career in science and active participation in philanthropies, gaining the respect and affection of her many friends and colleagues.
Margaret Naumburg founded the Walden School and authored many works on psychology and art therapy.
The Biblical narrative of the necromancer sheds light on Saul’s sorry state after the death of Samuel. This depiction of the king’s plight is amplified by the Rabbis, who determine that Saul’s consulting the necromancer was one of the reasons leading to his loss of the throne.
Dallas’s legendary Neiman Marcus specialty store owes its style, its personal brand of service, and its first cache of merchandise to Carrie Marcus Neiman, the fashion authority who helped launch a retailing concept.
The story of Irene Nemirovsky’s life is as complex, captivating and heartbreaking as any of her numerous novels, yet this story would have remained hidden from history if not for a controversial and unprecedented panel decision that rocked the French literary establishment in November 2004.
From 1969 until 1974, Shoshana Netanyahu served as a judge on the Magistrates Court in Haifa and from 1974 to 1981 as a District Court judge in the city. In 1981 she was promoted to the Supreme Court, from which she retired in 1993.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Encyclopedia." (Viewed on January 28, 2015) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/toc/N>.