Browse this section for short profiles of some of the thousands of Jewish women found throughout jwa.org. We will be adding new profiles to this section regularly and welcome your suggestions for women to add.
Called “publishing’s grande dame of detective stories” by the LA Times in 1988, Joan Kahn had such a gift for choosing and editing bestselling mystery novels that her publisher put her name on their book covers to entice readers.
Through her celebrated satirical poetry, Mascha Kaléko voiced her experience of the growing threat of Nazism in Germany and the pain of being a refugee.
A distinguished performer, Bertha Kalich performed 125 roles in seven languages and became the first actress to make the transition from Yiddish theater to mainstream American drama in film, radio, and on stage.
With her typical ingenuity, Lizzie Black Kander turned the recipe book she made for a cooking class for new immigrants into a two-million-copy bestseller.
Told that women could only write movies about dating and relationships, Fay Kanin defied conventional wisdom to write award-winning dramas about subjects ranging from prostitution to deaths in Vietnam.
Anna Kaplan helped transform nursing in Israel by holding it to the best standards of medical care from around the world.
The founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, Mordecai Kaplan struck a fundamental blow for women’s participation in Jewish ritual with the bat mitzvah of his eldest daughter, Judith.
Despite her own failing health, Rose Kaplan insisted on nursing Jewish settlers in Palestine and refugees in Egypt and inspired others to follow her example.
As executive director of Hadassah, Aline Kaplan credited the organization’s success to the commitment of its volunteers, whose numbers grew to a staggering 370,000 during her tenure. Kaplan practiced estate law from 1946–1952 but left to become director of Junior Hadassah, feeling a need to participate more in the Jewish community. Beginning in 1956, she was a five-time delegate to the World Zionist Congress.
Regina “Kappy” Kaplan helped break down gender barriers in medicine by creating the first nursing school in the South that admitted male students.
Donna Karan brought a modern sensibility to women’s clothing by designing interchangeable pieces in simple black and bold colors that were meant for professional women, not just fashion runway models.
May Karff made her mark in the traditionally male bastion of professional chess as the first woman champion of the United States in 1938.
Ilona Karmel wrote two powerful novels based on her experiences in the Holocaust and its aftermath.
Fay Berger Karpf made major contributions to social science with her analysis of the history of social psychology and her discussions of Otto Rank’s theories of psychology.
Miriam Karpilove’s wildly popular Yiddish stories explored the tensions and frustrations Jewish women faced at the turn of the century—the desire for secular education, the hunger to participate in a wider culture, and the hardships of immigration.
Joyce Jacobson Kaufman’s groundbreaking work in chemistry and physics led to major advancements for the designs of compounds ranging from pharmacological drugs to rocket fuel.
Sue Kaufman’s 1967 breakout novel, Diary of a Mad Housewife, earned her a reputation for writing subtly brutal novels about the isolation and frustration of city life.
The daughter of the acclaimed writer Sholom Aleichem and the mother of celebrated novelist Bel Kaufman, Lyalya Kaufman was revered in her own right for her thousands of vignettes and short stories in Yiddish.
Bel Kaufman used her experiences as a public school teacher as fodder for her bestselling novel, Up the Down Staircase.
Rhoda Kaufman helped create social welfare organizations throughout Georgia and overcame prejudice against her religion and gender to become one of the most respected social reformers in the country.
A member of the famed Algonquin Round Table, Beatrice Kaufman made an impact on the American literary scene both for publishing important modernist writers and for writing her own subversively feminist stories and plays.
Shirley Kaufman used her Jewish heritage to create evocative poetry, exploring biblical matriarchs, her own mother’s immigrant past, and the tensions of daily life in modern Israel.
Lillian Kasondorf Kavey helped immigrants escape Eastern Europe by cutting the red tape that prevented their relatives from saving enough money to bring them to America.
As the first woman to serve as chief judge of the state of New York, Judith S. Kaye transformed the state’s entire court system to better handle its overwhelming caseload.
Both in her activism and in her writing, Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz offered Jews new ways to think about and fight racism.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "People." (Viewed on October 1, 2014) <http://jwa.org/people>.