Blanche Goldman Etra
An Orthodox Jew whose family protested her attending college, Blanche Goldman Etra opened doors to independence and education for other Jewish women by founding women’s divisions of medical schools and women’s seminars on financial planning.In 1938 Etra was one of six women in her graduating class of 300 students at Columbia Law School. She briefly worked for a law firm but resigned in 1941 out of frustration with sexism, serving part time in her husband’s firm instead and focusing her efforts on women’s issues in the larger community. In 1950 she founded the Women’s Division of the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York. She worked with Rose Kennedy and Eleanor Roosevelt to raise millions of dollars to create chapters of the Women’s Division around the country. She also created estate-planning seminars for United Jewish Appeal and the Jewish Federation, collaborating with surrogate judges, journalists, and lawyers to create tools for women to better understand and control their finances. In 1977, after the death of her husband, she became full partner in their firm. In 1988 she became the second woman to receive an honorary doctorate from Yeshiva University. The graduates of Stern College gave her a standing ovation.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Blanche Goldman Etra ." (Viewed on September 20, 2014) <http://jwa.org/people/etra-blanche>.