You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Women of Valor

Women of Valor: an Evolving Role Model

JWA has an enlightening poster series dedicated to 16 women tagged as Women of Valor. The exhibit introduces itself explaining, “Women of Valor recognizes and highlights the lives and accomplishments of sixteen trailblazing Jewish women, each of whom had the courage and conviction to overcome the social, cultural, and religious barriers she faced in creating a more just and equitable world.”

The exhibit has me thinking—about the concept of valor, about the traditional hymn, and about whom we might tag as contemporary Women of Valor.

The word itself, valor, can be defined as personal bravery—when I think of valor I think of someone who not only speaks, but also acts with a just intent, who is able to keep the needs of others in perspective to her own needs, and is dedicated to improving the world in both small and large ways. But, valor hasn’t always held this connotation in traditional Jewish Biblical literature. To understand how we define women of valor we must first take a look back at where the phrase originated.

Gertrude Elion inducted into the Jewish-American Hall of Fame

JWA Woman of Valor Gertrude Elion has been chosen as the 2011 honoree to be inducted into the Jewish-American Hall of Fame. Dr. Gertrude Elion joins nine women previously inducted into the Jewish-American Hall of Fame: Henrietta Szold (1976), Golda Meir (1978), Rebecca Gratz (1981), Emma Lazarus (1983), Ernestine Rose (1984), Barbra Streisand (1997), Ida Straus (1998), Bess Myerson (2001), and Lillian Wald (2007). Biographies of all the honorees can be found here.

And the winner is... Women of Valor!

Leah Wolff-Pellingra is the winner of our contest to rename the History Makers series with her suggestion, "Women of Valor." As it happens, the series was originally titled Women of Valor when it was first introduced in 1997. JWA changed the name to "History Makers" in an effort to improve transparency and better characterize the women in the series in 2008. Inspired by Leah's suggestion, the Jewish Women’s Archive is returning the series to its roots and restoring the project’s original title.

Posters in the classroom: Outdated or just underused?

Earlier this week in The Sisterhood, Renee Ghert-Zand discussed Keshet’s new poster series recognizing “Jewish LGBT Change Makers,” asking if posters were an outdated educational tool. Renee drew comparisons to JWA’s own Women of Valor poster series, and expressed concern that Keshet’s posters would face the same challenges that she saw with ours. She wrote:

“Only in America” – vote now!

Our friends at the National Museum of American Jewish History have recently announced a new project for which they are seeking public input. Their new museum, scheduled to open in November 2010, will include a gallery called "Only in America," that will -- in their words -- "examine the choices, challenges, and opportunities faced by a remarkable group of a token 18 American Jews on their paths to accomplishment."

Jewish Women's Archive

Founded in 1995 on the premise that the history of Jewish women—celebrated and unheralded alike—must be considered systematically and creatively in order to produce a balanced and complete historical record, the Jewish Women's Archive took as its mission “to uncover, chronicle and transmit the rich legacy of Jewish women and their contributions to our families and communities, to our people and our world.”

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor." (Viewed on September 18, 2014) <http://jwa.org/tags/women-of-valor>.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Sign Up for JWA eNews

 

Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs