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.
Hortense Powdermaker explored the balance of involvement and detachment necessary for participant-observer fieldwork in cultural anthropology, stressing the ability to “step in and out of society.” Her secular Jewish identity was apparently a factor in learning this skill, exemplified in an academic career that included thirty years of college teaching and the writing of five major books based on widely diverse fieldwork studies.
One of California’s first Jewish educators, Mary Goldsmith Prag came to San Francisco as a young child during the Gold Rush. She became a religious and secular teacher, an administrator, a fighter for equal rights for women, and the mother of the first Jewish congresswoman, Florence Prag Kahn.
Although Olga Benário Prestes is famous in Brazil and was considered a great heroine in the German Democratic Republic, her name is not well known in the United States.
In 1988 Preston became the President of the National Council of Women and in 1991 she was elected Vice-President of the Board of Deputies. Her broad interests are reflected in her other voluntary sector involvements, including her position since 2000 as co-chair of the Inter Faith Network UK, an organization set up in 1987 to enable all major faith communities to come together to discuss issues of common concern, and her position since 1999 as Chair of Nightingale House, a residential care home for elderly Jewish men and women.
On June 3, 1972, Sally Jane Priesand became the first female ordained rabbi in America.
Jane Prince dedicated her life to furthering the economic, social, and educational opportunities of young people in Palestine and Israel through her involvement in the Women’s League for Palestine and its successor, the Women’s League for Israel, and with the American Friends of Hebrew University.
Until the nineteenth century, printing was a cottage industry; adjoining living and printing areas enabled the entire family to join in helping with the multiple tasks involved. Among both Jewish and non-Jewish women it was mainly after the husband died that his widow took over the printing press. Since some of the widows married soon after, their new husbands, often also printers, took over the business. Many widows, however, chose to continue operating the business themselves in order to support their family and sometimes to pass it on to their children.
From 1983 to 1984, Ayala Procaccia was the legal adviser to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Israel and in 1987 was appointed to the judiciary. After serving as a judge in the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court until 1993 and in the Jerusalem District Court from 1993 to 2001, she was elected to the Supreme Court.
Project Kesher is a feminist Jewish organization empowering women in the Independent States of the former Soviet Union (FSU) to build a society in which inclusive Jewish life can flourish, and where women are the instruments of peaceful change.
An examination of the historiographies of Hebrew literature during the pre-State (Yishuv) period in Palestine (1882–1948) yields little discussion, mapping or classification of the gamut of women writers who authored works of prose during this period.
At the age of sixty-five, Erna Proskauer took over her former husband’s general law office after his death in 1968. In this office she once again went into joint practice, working until the age of eighty-four.
Jewish women in psychology have made their most important contributions in two areas—clinical psychology and the social psychology of intergroup relationships, especially as it involves groups marginalized in our society.
The first chapter of Exodus relates that, as the Israelites in Egypt begin to proliferate following the death of Joseph, the Egyptian king seeks to curb the Israelite population lest its numbers threaten the security of Egypt in time of war. When enslavement of the Israelites fails to achieve Pharaoh’s goal, he commands the Hebrew midwives, of whom only two are known by name—Shiphrah and Puah—to kill at birth all the male Hebrews, but to permit the females to live. Since, however, the midwives stand in awe of God, they violate Pharaoh’s command and permit the boys to live.
Puah was one of the two Hebrew midwives (Shiphrah and Puah) who delivered the children of the Israelites during the Egyptian servitude. The Torah chronicles (Ex. 1:15–21) that they disobeyed Pharaoh’s command and did not kill the Israelite male newborn. Apart from this brave act, the midwives are not mentioned elsewhere in the Exodus narratives, nor in the entire Bible. The Rabbis identify the midwives with various Biblical heroines, thereby transforming them from secondary characters to central, fully developed figures whose annals spread over additional chapters of the Torah.
Nehamah Pukhachewsky's protofeminist Hebrew writing provide a rationale for her lifelong activism on behalf of Jewish women.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Encyclopedia." (Viewed on April 27, 2015) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/toc/P>.