This Week in History

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This Week in History: Events in December

December 1, 1988

A group of Israeli and American Jewish women conducted public worship including a Torah service at the Western Wall of the ancient temple in Jerusalem.

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December 2, 1763

The new synagogue dedicated in Newport, Rhode Island introduced a design that reflected women's changing status in "new world" Judaism.

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December 3, 1922

The film "Hungry Hearts," based on a book of short stories by author Anzia Yezierska, opened in Los Angeles.

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December 4, 1938

Tehilla Lichtenstein first took the pulpit as the spiritual leader of the Society of Jewish Science, becoming the first woman to lead an American Jewish congregation.

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December 4, 2011

Stanford soccer star Camille Levin set up the winning goal in NCAA College Cup championship game.

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December 5, 1979

Sonia Delaunay (who died on this date in 1979) was in on the birth of several art movements—Dadaism, Surrealism, Cubism, Fauvism, Futurism.

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December 6, 1855

Birth of Nina Morais Cohen, who published many articles on the rights of Jewish women and became an active suffragist and Jewish communal leader in Minneapolis.

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December 7, 1942

Founder and first president of the National Council of Jewish Women in 1893, Hannah Greenebaum Solomon (who died on this date in 1942) represented a generation of middle-class Jewish women who paved the road for women’s voice in the public affairs of the Jewish community.

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December 8, 1912

Mary Antin writes, “I was born, I have lived, and I have been made over. Is it not time to write my life’s story?”

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December 8, 2003

The Empire State Building marked the 110th Anniversary of the founding of The National Council of Jewish Women, on December 8 and 9, 2003 with NCJW-inspired illumination.

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December 8, 1977

Dr. Rosalyn S. Yalow accepted the Nobel Prize in medicine. At the Nobel banquet, she delivered a speech condemning continued discrimination against women working in traditionally male fields.

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December 9, 1972

Helen Reddy’s "I Am Woman" tops the charts

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December 10, 1947

Dr. Gerty Theresa Radnitz Cori became the first American woman to receive a Nobel Prize in science.

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December 11, 1922

Grace Paley, author, feminist and "somewhat combative pacifist and cooperative anarchist," was born in the Bronx.

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December 12, 1950

Paula Ackerman became the interim "spiritual leader" of Temple Beth Israel in Meridian, Mississippi, demonstrating that a woman could serve in a rabbinical role.

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December 12, 1928

“The only rule is that there are no rules. Anything is possible." - Artist Helen Frankenthaler

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December 13, 1910

Birth of “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” author Lillian Roth

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December 14, 1935

Boston's Mayor Frederick Mansfield banned production of Lillian Hellman's play "The Children's Hour."

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December 14, 1952

The first radio dramatization of Anne Frank's diary was broadcast.

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December 15, 1997

Janet Jagan was elected as president of Guyana, becoming the first American-born woman to be elected leader of any country.

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December 15, 1913

Birth of poet and activist Muriel Rukeyser.

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December 16, 1989

Lesléa Newman’s Heather Has Two Mommies, a groundbreaking and still controversial children’s book about a little girl who grows up with lesbian moms, was published.

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December 17, 1993

Judith Rodin elected first permanent female president of an Ivy League institution

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December 18, 1979

Amy Beth Sheridan graduates from flight school, becoming the first Jewish woman pilot in the U.S. Army.

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December 19, 1919

Birth of Sally Lilienthal, Founder of Ploughshares Fund

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December 19, 1944

Death of Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp, who is buried next to her husband Wyatt Earp, renowned "gun slinger" and lawman.

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December 20, 2003

"Holy Ground: The Jewish Songs of Woody Guthrie," a Klezmatics performance at the 92nd Street Y, featured songs inspired or written by Guthrie's mother-in-law, Aliza Greenblatt.

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December 20, 1911

Birth of Hortense Calisher, author of memoirs, short stories, and more than ten novels including "False Entry" (1961) and "Sunday Jews" (2002).

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December 21, 1935

Hundreds of events around the world marked the 75th birthday of Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America.

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December 21, 1919

Emma Goldman, along with 248 other radical "aliens," was deported to the Soviet Union under the provisions of the 1918 Alien Act.

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December 22, 1952

"Ding Dong School," an early and influential television program for preschoolers, debuted nationally.

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December 23, 1947

Death of Frances Stern, founder of the world's first "food clinic," which served as a model for many nutrition clinics in the U.S. and abroad.

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December 24, 1957

Regina Margareten, the "matriarch of the Kosher food industry," was profiled in the "New York Times" the day before her 95th birthday.

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December 25, 1935

Birth of Anne Roiphe, feminist author of Up the Sandbox!

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December 25, 1921

Union organizer Rose Finkelstein Norwood said, "When I saw a detective coming, I’d hide in the coats."

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December 26, 1907

16-year-old Pauline Newman kicks off start of the largest rent strike New York City had ever seen; the strike helped lead to the eventual establishment of rent control in New York.

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December 27, 1927

"Show Boat", based on Edna Ferber's book of the same name, premiered on Broadway. It is considered the first modern American musical.

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December 28, 1944

Opening of the Broadway musical "On the Town," featuring the writing of librettist and lyricist Betty Comden.

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December 29, 2007

Geraldine Brooks’ novel “People of the Book” reviewed in the Chicago Tribune

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December 30, 2007

The New York Times remembers Madeleine Stern, “Faithful Friend”

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December 31, 1942

Ayn Rand, celebrated novelist and creator of Objectivism, delivered the completed manuscript of her novel "The Fountainhead" to her publisher.

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December 31, 2002

Maxine Frank Singer, a leading biochemistry researcher and advocate of science education, stepped down after fifteen years as the president of the Carnegie Institution, a major national scientific research center.

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December 31, 2009

Amanda Simpson, appointed by President Obama to the Department of Commerce, is believed to be the first transgender presidential appointee.

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See events for a specific date

This Week in History offers a unique calendar of American Jewish experience—connecting specific dates throughout the year to an array of compelling historic events related to American Jewish women.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "This Week in History: Events in December." (Viewed on April 24, 2014) <http://jwa.org/thisweek/dec>.