JWA News Release: June 28, 2004
Jewish Women's Archive Announces "Jewish Women Building Community" Research Fellowships
Brookline, MA, June 28, 2004—Gail Reimer, Executive Director of the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA) announced today three winners of the JWA fellowship program for 2004, "Jewish Women Making Community," for the study of the role Jewish women have played in building communities in America. This program is one of JWA's initiatives to celebrate the 350th anniversary of Jewish settlement in North America.
"The research projects will shed important light on the ways in which local women have made their communities into vital and meaningful homes for both Jews and non-Jews," said Reimer. "The scholars who have just been chosen will complement the studies of the JWA fellows already at work, and will further the Jewish Women's Archive's work of enriching our understanding of the American Jewish past," she continued.
Six fellows chosen in 2003 have completed studies of Jewish women's contributions to communities in six regions across North America, including Vancouver, Fort Worth, Chicago, Denver, Nassau County NY, and San Francisco. The papers of all of the fellows will be published as an edited volume focused upon Jewish women's work in building community across North America. JWA will convene a conference where the fellows, along with contemporary Jewish women activists, will look at the American Jewish past and present in light of the long tradition of American Jewish women's activism.
The grant recipients for this year and their fields of research are:
- Vicki Gabriner, Ph.D. student, Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, OH, "Peak Time": Jewish Mothers, the McCarthy Era, and Creating Community Through a Parent Teacher Association, Brooklyn, New York, 1946–1956
- Dr. Chana R. Kotzin, instructor, Jewish Community Center, Allentown, PA, "A Committee of Welcome": Jewish Women in Baltimore and Refugee Activism as a Form of Community Building, 1933–1942
- Rachel Kranson, Ph.D. student, New York University, Staging the Ideal Jewish Community: Women Hotel Owners in the Catskills, 1950–1970
About the 350th anniversary
In September 1654 twenty-three people, including women, men and children, landed in New Amsterdam to form the first Jewish settlement in North America. Individual Jews, all men, had lived and worked on this continent previously, but 1654 marked the first time that the presence of women and children made it possible to begin a community that could have both a rich present and a future. The official commemoration for the event will begin in September 2004 and run through June of 2005. JWA is serving as a coordinator and catalyst for programs focused on women and their contributions. An honorary committee still in formation includes Jewish women in Congress, authors and artists.
Along with the research and fellowship program to delve into community histories, the Jewish Women's Archive is offering several special programs. They include a speaker's bureau, curricular materials for teens, film and book discussion guides and a technical assistance manual for conducting oral histories. In addition, JWA's online presence at jwa.org/discover/350years/ will enable organizations throughout the country to communicate with one another and share their ideas for 350th anniversary programming.
The Jewish Women's Archive (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. Founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1995, JWA was one of the first organizations in the Jewish community to stake a claim in the new frontier of the web, and continues to innovate in its use of the virtual world for academic, cultural, archival and educational purposes. JWA's award-winning website, jwa.org, has the most extensive collection of material on American Jewish women on the web. JWA has become a leading advocate for and center of education in Jewish women's history, ensuring that we remember the women who came before us, honor the women among us, and inspire those who will follow us.