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.
Whether in her family, the kibbutz training program or the movement, what set Plotniczki apart was her ability to combine penetrating, uncompromising analysis with a loving heart and maternal compassion.
When she was fourteen, her brother Eliyahu brought her into the Freiheit movement on the eve of his immigration to Palestine in 1932. Although Plotniczki was well-versed in Polish literature and culture and spoke only a broken Yiddish peppered with Polish phrases, she nonetheless found a way to connect with the members and integrate into the movement.
The contributions of Jewish women poets to American literary history and political activism, as well as to the enrichment of Jewish culture and practice, are astounding.
Letty Cottin Pogrebin is a liberal Jew and an outspoken advocate for women, families and intergroup harmony.
When journalists interviewed her in 1926, Anna Polak said that her private life was not relevant, and that she would rather speak about the National Bureau for Women’s Labor. The reply characterizes Polak, who completely devoted herself to her task as director of the National Bureau.
With the gender role definition for Jewish women in Poland being subtly and haltingly stretched and broadened as this period progressed, it does seem appropriate to call it the early modern period.
Like every other historical analysis of interwar Polish Jewry, the story of Jewish women is a story interrupted tragically by the destruction of Polish Jewry in the Holocaust. Many of the trends discussed above had just begun to make their mark on the nature of that three million strong community. Nevertheless, they are still deserving of scholarly attention. Unless and until the missing fifty-two percent of Polish Jews are factored into the historical narrative, that story will remain incomplete.
The presence of so many young women in the Jewish Underground leadership and their unique role within this leadership are unusual phenomena, not only against the background of a pre-feminist era, but even in comparison with social and political organizations today.
Justine Wise Polier espoused an activist concept of the law and a rehabilitative rather than a punitive model of judicial process, she pioneered the establishment of mental health, educational, and other rehabilitative services for troubled children. She also took a leading role in opposing racial and religious discrimination in public and private facilities.
Women’s parties have played a major, though so far unacknowledged, role in the social and political history of Israel: they had a significant impact on women’s participation in power centers, political and others; they played a major part in the struggle for women’s right to vote and to be elected; they brought into focus the economic discrimination against women, who constitute half of the population in the labor market; they made feminist discourse about gender equality widely known and discussed.
Women’s status in Israeli political arena has been shaped by two major contradictory forces that operate simultaneously. On the one hand, women are defined as part of the collective and are recognized, treated, and organized as a social category, mainly on the basis of traditional roles as wives and mothers. On the other hand, the politics of identity has been restricted by marginalizing and denouncing social identity as a basis for political action, and thus excludes women.
During World War II, sculptor Virginia Morris Pollak discovered that her training in casting methods and her family’s tradition of community service dovetailed perfectly. Working with plastic surgeons at Halloran Hospital on Staten Island, Pollak not only developed a superior modeling material for reconstructive surgery but also modeled plates for skull replacements from the notoriously difficult metal tantalum.
Anita Pollitzer devoted her public life to feminist politics and artistic patronage.
“Does she ... or doesn’t she?” asked advertising copywriter Shirley Polykoff in 1955, in the first advertising campaign ever to try to sell hair dye to a mass audience.
Josephine Wertheim Pomerance was a leading advocate of nuclear arms control and the United Nations.
Judith Graham Pool was a physiologist whose scientific discoveries revolutionized the treatment of hemophilia.
Tamar de Sola Pool dreamt of a socially and economically just world where people consistently acted toward one another with good will, fairness, and faith.
Though Porat creates an impression of a tough, unyielding woman, she is easy to work with, neither recalcitrant nor stubborn, never offended and heeding the comments of others. While she is a versatile actor, she mostly performs women of strong, obstinate, determined and tough character.
Lucie Porges continued to design, while also imparting her immense knowledge in the Fashion Department of the New School for Social Research.
With the exception of Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Deborah T. Poritz is the most visible woman in New Jersey politics. She was the first woman to serve as the state’s attorney general, and on July 10, 1996, she was sworn in as the first woman chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. She was nominated by Governor Whitman on June 13, 1996, and is the first Republican chief justice to serve in twenty-five years.
As the first woman on the financial desk of a big-city newspaper and the first woman to break into the world of writing about finance, Sylvia Field Porter, economist, columnist, and best-selling author, was a pioneer for over half a century in educating the American consumer about money matters.
Sofia (Zosha) Posnanska, one of the unsung Jewish heroes of World War II, lived only thirty-six years, three of them during the war in Europe.
In post-biblical Jewish antiquity women were not viewed as equal to men or as full Jews. In this, Jews were no different from their various Greco-Roman, Semitic or Egyptian neighbors. The difference lies in the explanation Jews gave to their views.
Crowned “the Poetess of Jerusalem” by Sholem Asch (1880–1957), Rikudah Potash wrote in Yiddish about the landscape of her beloved city and its diverse ethnic communities.
For lack of sources, it is normally almost impossible to say anything about women and poverty, especially as regards the Middle Ages. However, due to the fortunate preservation of the letters and other documents from everyday life discovered in the Cairo Genizah we are able to sketch a fairly detailed case-study of Jewish women and poverty in medieval Egypt, particularly in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Encyclopedia." (Viewed on March 1, 2015) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/toc/P>.