Weaving Women's Words: Washington D.C. Stories
Inspired by the urgent need to collect the stories of women whose lives spanned the 20th century, the Jewish Women’s Archive began sponsoring community-based oral history projects soon after its founding in 1995.
By documenting the lives of American Jewish women in Boston, Baltimore, Seattle, New Orleans, and now Washington, D.C, we are not only highlighting experiences often excluded from mainstream histories but also providing role models for women (and men) who are trying to balance family and career, and a pluralistic American identity with a Jewish one.
In 2005, JWA published In Her Own Voice: A Guide to Conducting Life History Interviews with American Jewish Women, which encouraged grassroots oral history efforts by expanding on 20 Questions to Ask Important Women in Your Life and other “starter question sets.”
When Deborah Ross looked around the room at the White House reception celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) in 2009, she thought first of using oral history to explore the lives of American Jewish women in Washington, D.C. She then asked JWA, a JAHM co-sponsor, to preserve her interviews and make them accessible on the Web. We agreed to do so and to preserve her video recordings and transcripts.
You can read more about Deborah>s inspiration for this project in her own words, as well as her introductions of each of the women, on the About this project page.
We also want to acknowledge Jocelyn Scheirer, who did much of the work getting this project online.
This section of our website represents an experiment. We welcome your comments about how well we have succeeded in giving you meaningful access to the Washington, D.C. interviews or where we could improve our efforts. Perhaps Deborah Ross’s efforts will inspire you to document the lives of American Jewish women in your community.
Preserving and making these stories accessible is not possible without your support. Please consider donating online.