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Rebekah Bettelheim Kohut

Rebekah Bettelheim Kohut spent her life caring for others, from managing domestic responsibilities for her sick husband and eight stepchildren to great causes like rebuilding Jewish communities after World War I. After her husband’s death in 1894, Kohut went to work to support the family, offering lectures on English literature and opening the Kohut College Preparatory School for Girls, which she ran for six years before selling her share of the school to devote more time to her family. During World War I, she worked for various Jewish and secular groups to secure jobs for women in the wartime economy. After the war, she proposed to the National Council of Jewish Women that young women travel to rebuild Jewish communities devastated by the war in Europe, surveying the communities herself before the NCJW sent social workers to rebuild and to teach job skills. In 1923, she was elected president of the World Congress of Jewish Women. In 1932, New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her the sole female member of the Joint Legislative Committee on Unemployment, where she called for the immediate establishment of state unemployment insurance.

Kohut, Rebecca - still image [media]
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The daughter and wife of rabbis, Rebecca Kohut forged her own path in the Jewish world, making her mark in education, social welfare and women's activism within the Jewish community.

Institution: The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, OH, and Bachrach Bros. Baltimore, MD.

Date of Birth
September 9, 1864
Place of Birth
Date of Death
August 11, 1951

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rebekah Bettelheim Kohut." (Viewed on August 30, 2014) <>.


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