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.
The second of two “wise women” portrayed in 2 Samuel lived in a fortified city in northern Israel. More straightforwardly than the story of the wise woman of Tekoa (2 Samuel 14), this narrative depicts what must have been typical leadership activities of a woman in this accepted position against the larger political tensions of David’s reign.
The Rabbis praise the wisdom of the woman from Abel-Beth-Maacah, to whom they attribute rhetorical skill, persuasiveness and knowledge of the Torah and its laws. Their esteem is evident in the fact that the Rabbis expound almost every word that she uttered and ascribe significance to her statements far beyond what the Bible relates. The midrash applies to her the verse (Prov. 31:26): “Her mouth is full of wisdom,” since she saved the entire city with her wisdom (Midrash Eshet Hayil, Batei Midrashot, vol. 2).
Tekoa—a Judean hill country village ten miles south of Jerusalem—was home to one of two women designated as “wise,” both appearing in 2 Samuel.
Philanthropist and charity worker Louise Waterman Wise was likely the first American Jewish Woman to be awarded the Order of the British Empire, the equivalent of a knighthood. She was, without doubt, the first to decline the honor. How an ardent Zionist and outspoken critic of Britain’s “ruthless conduct” with respect to Jewish settlement in Palestine could, nevertheless, perform such outstanding service to the British people as to merit official praise, is just one aspect of the “legend of Louise.”
One of Canada’s most highly regarded writers of the second half of the twentieth century, Wiseman was born in Winnipeg to Pesach (1894–1978) and Chaika (née Rosenberg, 1896–1980) Waisman (later Wiseman).
A review of WIZO’s achievements and contribution to building Israeli society reveals the number of areas in which the organization has been involved throughout its existence, investing great effort in them according to society’s changing needs: the status of women; child care from infancy to adolescence; care of the elderly; community work and immigrant absorption. Overall, the organization’s major activity is directed toward improving the status of women in all areas—family, work, society, political life and legal matters. A survey of women’s advancement in the country reveals the enormous changes that occurred and, together with them, flexibility and change within the organization in order to advance women in a more clearly feminist manner.
All WIZO’s activities have one thing in common: aid to immigrant women. The special needs of each wave of immigration and the economic situation of each period dictated the respective nature of actual activity. WIZO was characterized by a pioneering spirit, aspiring to create a civil society (i.e. the transfer of responsibility for certain areas to government institutions) and effective organization. In all these, it has been extremely successful. WIZO’s standing as a worldwide organization, combined with the focus of individual communities on specific projects, provided financial resources for its programs.
Of the approximately eighty women who were instrumental in opening up the legal profession for women in the United States, Frances Wolf was the first Jewish woman in that very select group.
Sally Rivoli Wolf was a woman who took positive steps to advance her interests and talents. She joined the U.S. Navy during the World War I as soon as women were admitted, worked on newspapers when few women did, and spent many years as an active member and officer of three largely male veterans’ advocacy groups. She worked to promote veterans’ concerns, Jewish and American ideals, and women veterans’ place in history.
Martha Wolfenstein is today a forgotten figure in American Jewish literature, but critics of the late nineteenth century believed the young writer had great promise. Before her death at age thirty-six, she wrote with charm, learning and a distinctive woman's perspective.
The pioneering Jewish lesbian feminist Charlotte Wolff was a physician by training, but later became a chirologist, psychotherapist, and sexologist, well known in both England and Germany.
One of the best-known German Jewish women in post-war Germany, she was an activist in three fields: as a Social Democrat and labor unionist; as one committed to equal rights for women, and as a worker for the Jewish cause before and after World War II.
Marguerite Wolff was an exception among women scholars in Germany in the first three decades of the twentieth century. Although she neither studied formally at any university nor received other scientific training, she built a scientific institute, the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Foreign Public Law and International Law, in Berlin. She not only herself became an expert in law, but also engaged in research and translation.
Psychoanalytic pedagogue Nelly Wolffheim trained kindergarten teachers, utilizing her own teaching methodologies that reflected Freudian understanding of child development.
Theresa Wolfson, economist and educator, taught at Brooklyn College from 1929 until her retirement in 1967. A prolific writer, she published in the fields of labor economics and industrial relations. As early as 1916, Wolfson studied barriers to the advancement of women in the workplace and the unequal treatment of women within trade unions.
For nine years Rosi Wolfstein-Fröhlich and Rosa Luxemburg were collaborators in the battle for socialism, women’s rights, worker emancipation, anti-militarism and pacifism. Her life constituted a battle against war, racism and social injustice.
Responding to the public health crisis of the early twentieth century, Martha Wollstein herself had just begun an exemplary career path in pathology and the experimental study of childhood diseases.
Notable in Proverbs and the Wisdom of Solomon (and to a lesser degree in Job and Sirach) is the personification of the concept of wisdom as a woman (here referred to as Woman Wisdom to distinguish the personified figure from the more general use of the term).
The three women in Samson’s life were Gentiles. The first was the woman from Timnah whom he married, the second was the whore from Gaza, and the third was the only woman mentioned by name, Delilah, with whom Samson “fell in love.
While women’s experiences during the Holocaust were not entirely different from those of men, it would be false and misleading to assert that they were identical. There were many instances in which an individual’s ordeal was shaped by his or her gender and it is only by understanding what was unique to women—and what was unique to men—that we can provide a complete account of what occurred.
Some of the most important changes in the labor market in pre-state Israel occurred in the volume and structure of female work. Nevertheless, studies on women and employment during the pre-state era are few in number and rely little, if at all, on economic and quantitative sources. The findings imply that female employment in pre-statehood Israel replicated the general pattern established by developed countries, responding to higher levels of economic development with increased participation rates.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Encyclopedia." (Viewed on July 2, 2015) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/toc>.