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.
Told first by her parents that dancing was immodest and then by Israeli settlers that dancing was bourgeois, Mia Arbatova defied her critics and became a pioneer of ballet in Israel.
Raised as a kibbutznik and taught that music was frivolous, Chaya Arbel only began pursuing a musical career in her forties, but went on to become one of Israel’s great modern composers.
Wildly controversial in her lifetime, Diane Arbus was only fully recognized for her contributions to the art of photography after her death.
As a Sephardic Jew from Argentina, Rita Arditti’s experience as “a minority within a minority” drove her to document another invisible group: the grandmothers of the disappeared children.
Hannah Arendt grappled with the Holocaust throughout her lifetime, creating the concept of “the banality of evil” to understand the widespread complicity in the mass killings.
The first American woman accepted into the groundbreaking cooperative Magnum Photos, Eve Arnold was hailed for both her photojournalism and her more artistic work.
Immunologist Ruth Arnon and her long-time collaborator Michael Sela made unprecedented breakthroughs when they developed the first synthetic antigen and the first drug approved for treating multiple sclerosis, Copaxone.
Margaret Gene Arnstein’s belief that nurses should be involved in health policy and research helped transform her profession.
Franziska “Fanny” von Arnstein, who rose to the rank of baroness, navigated the artistic and political upheaval of the Napoleonic Era as a hostess of salons which welcomed celebrities ranging from Horatio Nelson to Schopenhauer.
Jeannette Arons served in a variety of roles with the National Council of Jewish Women, from helping juvenile offenders rebuild their lives to helping Jewish immigrants become citizens.
Adrien Arpel started her own business two days out of high school, becoming a leader in the field of cosmetics for her innovations in department store makeovers and her belief that women needed knowledgeable advice tailored to their needs.
Patricia Arquette has navigated a career path from Hollywood to television and back again, culminating in a landslide of awards for her supporting role in 2014’s Boyhood.
Bea Arthur made a career of playing formidable, opinionated women in movies and on television.
Dora Askowith tried to galvanize Jewish students into social activism and leadership by teaching them the history of their faith.
Ellen Auerbach was remarkable both for her avant-garde photography and for her innovative and successful ringl+pit studio where she and fellow artist Grete Stern signed all their work collaboratively.
Beatrice Fox Auerbach ran her family’s department store, G. Fox and Company, for thirty years, introducing innovations to customer service and helping women and minorities climb the corporate ladder.
Rokhl Auerbakh’s determination to record everything she witnessed in the Holocaust led to her creating the questionnaires to capture other survivors’ stories for war crime trials and Holocaust memorials.
Confined to her bed and unable to write for a decade, the gifted poet Rose Ausländer dictated many of her works.
Sophie Cahn Axman became known as “the angel of the Tombs” for her work as a probation officer helping troubled children.
Through her art, Helène Aylon explored the intersectionality among her feminism, the Orthodox Judaism of her upbringing, and her place in a war-torn world.
The first woman proposed for membership in the Royal Society, Hertha Ayrton created inventions from tools architects used for enlarging and reducing drawings to fans that could clear poison gas from mine shafts.
In hopes of creating a place where neither her religion nor her gender would make her a second-class citizen, Sara Azaryahu dedicated herself to founding a Jewish state, but was disappointed by the sexism that remained in her society.
Spirited and determined, Babatha repeatedly fought for her rights in court, showing the differences between the ideal world of the Mishnah and the real lives of second century Jews.
Lauren Bacall smoldered on screen with what became known as her signature “look,” glancing up with a downturned chin, shining in her roles both alone and opposite her husband, Humphrey Bogart.
Bertha Badt-Strauss used her writing to create a broader range of possible identities for women in the cultural Zionist movement called the Jewish Renaissance.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "People." (Viewed on March 29, 2015) <http://jwa.org/people>.