JWA News Release: April 2, 2003
National Committee Formed To Plan For Celebration Of 350th Anniversary Of Jewish Women Building Communities In North America
Jewish Women's Archive to serve as coordinator and catalyst for activities
BROOKLINE, MA, April 2, 2003—Gail Reimer, Executive Director of the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA) announced today the formation of the Honorary Committee for the JWA's commemoration of the 350th anniversary of Jewish women building communities in America.
The Honorary Committee is still in formation but the founding group ranges from singer Barbra Streisand, Senator Dianne Feinstein, to Sandra Feldman, President of the American Federation of Teachers. A full list of Committee members is attached.
"We know that women have always played an integral role in American Jewish life, but too often their stories have remained unknown," commented Ann Lewis, former White House Communications Director and JWA Board member, who has agreed to chair the committee. "The 350th anniversary celebrations offer an unprecedented opportunity to incorporate the rich narrative of American Jewish women into American Jewish history," she continued.
In 1654 twenty-three people including women and children landed in New Amsterdam to form the first Jewish settlement in North America. Other Jews, all men, had lived and worked on this continent previously, but this date marked the first time that families made it possible to have a true community.
The Jewish Women's Archive will offer a range of programs to focus on the role of Jewish women in shaping their families, their communities and the world. In the planning stages now, the programs will include a speaker's bureau, curricular materials for teens, a research and fellowship program to delve into community histories, and film and book discussion guides. In addition, JWA's on-line presence at jwa.org will enable organizations throughout the country to communicate with one another and share their ideas for programming.
Founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1995, JWA is a national, nonprofit organization that employs a combination of approaches to its work, from online exhibits to community-based oral history projects to public programs and events. The Archive's activities are useful to popular as well as academic audiences, and rigorous academic standards are applied to all its work. Along with its online web site, jwa.org, JWA is most renowned for its Women of Valor posters and complementary materials that have been decimated to libraries, synagogues, and schools across the United States and Canada.
For more information, visit the JWA website is at jwa.org.
JWA Honorary Committee 2004:
Anne F. Lewis, MD, Committee Chair
Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, NV
Anne Bernays, MA, Author
Senator Barbara Boxer, CA
Shoshana Cardin, MD, Educator
Kim Chernin, CA, Author
Judy Chicago, NM, Artist
Congresswoman Susan Davis, CA
Anita Diamant, MA, Author
Senator Dianne Feinstein, CA
Sandra Feldman, DC, President of the American Federation of Teachers
Debbie Freidman, NY, Songwriter
Blu Greenberg, NY, Author
Congresswoman Jane Harman, CA
Rosabeth Moss Kanter, MA, Educator
The Honorable Madeleine Kunin, VT, Former Ambassador & Governor of Vermont
Gerda Lerner, WI, Educator
Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey, NY
Joan Nathan, DC, Author
Letty Cottin Pogrebin, NY, Journalist
Rabbi Sally Priesand, NJ
Adrienne Rich, CA, Poet
Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, IL
Judith Shapiro, NY, Educator
Barbra Streisand, CA, Singer/Actress
Margot Stern Strom, MA, Educator
Lillian Vernon, NY, President of The Lillian Vernon Corporation