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Irene Lewisohn

Settlement Houses in the United States

Jewish women have played significant roles as benefactors, organizers, administrators, and participants in American settlement houses. Settlement houses, founded in the 1880s in impoverished urban neighborhoods, provided recreation, education, and medical and social service programs, primarily for immigrants.

Irene Lewisohn

Irene Lewisohn was a German Jewish philanthropist whose devotion to the arts led to the formation of two important New York City cultural institutions, the Neighborhood Playhouse and the Museum of Costume Art (now part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art). Her involvement in these and other social and philanthropic activities make her an important figure in New York’s cultural history.

Dance Performance in the United States

Dance has always had a special place in the Jewish community because of its capacity to heighten communal and individual joy at weddings as prescribed in the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:416]Talmud[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], at bar and [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:301]bat mitzvah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] celebrations, and on other happy occasions. The Bible contains many mentions of dance in celebration of important holidays and Israelite victories. Jews have always danced with the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:424]Torah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] scrolls in processionals on the holiday of [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:407]Simhat Torah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], and there are movement processionals on other holidays, as well as during the weekly Sabbath services. A very simple form of dance is even part of Jewish prayer, as the rhythmic rocking movement of davening (praying) literally embodies the notion of total devotion to God.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Irene Lewisohn." (Viewed on September 20, 2014) <http://jwa.org/taxonomy/term/11310>.

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