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JWA News Release: October 25, 2004

Jewish Women's Archive Creates History at Library of Congress

Jewish Women's Archive Hosts Nearly 1,400 Women at Exhibit:
From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America

Brookline, MA, October 25, 2004—The board, staff, and friends of the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA) brought the message home to nearly 1,400 Jewish women at the United Jewish Communities' (UJC) 2004 International Lion of Judah Conference in Washington, DC, that American Jewish women have been responsible for change and activism in their communities for the 350 years of Jewish settlement in America.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and 18 other trailblazing Jewish women were honored on the evening of October 18th for their extraordinary contributions to the cultural and political life of America and American Jewry. The evening concluded with a visit to the Library of Congress arranged by JWA for the nearly 1,400 conference participants to view the exhibit From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America. This was the largest group to visit the exhibit.

From start to finish the evening, which JWA produced in partnership with National Women's Philanthropy of the UJC, was infused with the echo of words, images, sounds and struggles from Jewish women's history in America. "JWA has taken an active role in all the planning for this year's 350th celebration. We have tried very hard to ensure that women's stories are told and we are succeeding," said Gail Twersky Reimer, executive director of JWA. "We are very appreciative to the UJC's Lions of Judah for giving us the opportunity of working with them to reinforce the message of the importance of women, and especially Jewish women, in our nation's history."

In her keynote address, Justice Ginsburg reflected on the generations of Jewish women who prepared the ground for the achievements of Jews in America. "Of course there could be no communal life without women to do the work that enables families and communities first, to survive, and in time, to thrive." Justice Ginsburg invoked Emma Lazarus and Henrietta Szold as two "sterling examples" of "the many women raised in the U.S.A. whose humanity and bravery sustain me when my spirits need lifting."

After the keynote, panels of the honorees spoke of their work and the Jewish women who inspired them during sessions focused on politics, the arts and writing. Later, attendees visited the Library of Congress for the special viewing of From Haven to Home arranged and led by the Jewish Women's Archive. The Lions of Judah are women involved in the highest echelons of leadership and philanthropy in Jewish communities across North America, Israel and the globe.

The Jewish Women's Archive (JWA) is a national, nonprofit organization with a mission to uncover, chronicle and transmit the rich legacy of Jewish women and their contributions to our families and our communities, to our people and our world. Founded in Boston in 1995, JWA continues to innovate in its use of the virtual world for academic, cultural, archival and educational purposes. JWA is serving as a coordinator and catalyst for 350th programs focused on women and their contributions. For more information, visit jwa.org.

The women honored along with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the event were:

  • Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, Democrat from Nevada, serves on the International Relations Committee & its Middle-East Subcommittee, and the Subcommittee on International Terrorism.
  • Shoshana Cardin, the first woman leader of several major Jewish organizations, including the Council of Jewish Federations and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
  • Judy Chicago, artist, author, feminist, and creator of The Dinner Party, a symbolic history of women in Western civilization.
  • Tovah Feldshuh: award-winning actress currently starring on Broadway in Golda's Balcony. On October 3rd, Golda's Balcony became the longest running one woman show in Broadway history.
  • Amy Friedkin, a longtime activist in grassroots Jewish organizations, made history when she became the first woman president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
  • Debbie Friedman, an internationally-acclaimed singer and songwriter who has pioneered the distinctive development of contemporary American Jewish music.
  • Blu Greenberg, outstanding activist for Jewish women and founder of JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance.
  • Ruth Gruber, renowned author, photojournalist and humanitarian whose extraordinary rescue work has led her to be dubbed "a twentieth century Moses."
  • Gerda Klein, a survivor of the Holocaust who has dedicated her life to teaching tolerance and fighting the problem of hunger.
  • Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, known throughout the world for her courageous legal battle against Holocaust denier David Irving. The Daily Telegraph believed the trial did "for the new century what the Nuremberg. or Eichmann trial did for earlier generations."
  • Joan Nathan, author of many award-winning cookbooks and the host of the acclaimed PBS series Jewish Cooking in America with Joan Nathan.
  • Letty Cottin Pogrebin, co-founder of Ms. magazine and the National Women's Political Caucus, and tireless advocate for Middle East peace.
  • Rabbi Sally Priesand, the first woman in America to be ordained as a rabbi.
  • Lynn Schusterman, one of the most visible women funders of our era whose philanthropy is changing the shape of Jewish communal life.
  • Judith Shapiro, President of Barnard College.
  • Linda Rae Sher, tireless philanthropist and political activist, the founder of the Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs (JACPAC).
  • Carole Solomon, currently chair of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel. She served as the first female chair of the UJA's national campaign.
  • Elizabeth Swados, whose stirring music, passionate writing and acute sense of social justice has changed the American musical theater.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA News Release: October 25, 2004." (Viewed on April 18, 2014) <http://jwa.org/news/2004/041025-lion>.