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This Week in History: Events in May

Hillman, Bessie 2 - still image [media]

Labor leaders announce their engagement at May Day Parade

May 1, 1916

Labor leaders Bessie Abramowitz and Sidney Hillman announced their engagement while leading the clothing workers' contingent in the Chicago May Day Parade.

Publication of Gladys Rosen's Jewish bicentennial guidebook

May 2, 1975

The American Jewish Committee announced publication of a guidebook by Gladys Rosen suggesting ways to recognize Jewish contributions to the United States during the Bicentennial celebrations.

Lillie Steinhorn

Longest-serving federal employee Lillie Steinhorn retires

May 3, 2000

Lillie Steinhorn retired from the Social Security Administration as the longest-serving federal employee on record.

Roberta Peters album

Birth of opera singer Roberta Peters

May 4, 1930

Birth of Metropolitan opera soprano Roberta Peters.

Birth of Nacha Rivkin, founder of the first U.S. girls' yeshiva

May 5, 1900

Birth of Nacha Rivkin, the founder of the first girls' yeshiva in the U.S.

Barbara Dobkin HUC

Barbara Dobkin receives Honorary Degree

May 5, 2011

Barbara Dobkin, the Founding Chair of the Jewish Women's Archive, receives an honorary degree from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

The Fountainhead

Publication of Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead"

May 6, 1943

Publication of "The Fountainhead," the most famous novel by Ayn Rand, the controversial founder of Objectivism.

Kumin, Maxine - still image [media]

Poet Maxine Kumin wins Pulitzer Prize

May 7, 1973

Writer Maxine Kumin won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for her collection "Up Country: Poems of New England."

Muriel Rukeyser - Book Cover

Poet Muriel Rukeyser receives $1000 literary award

May 8, 1942

Poet Muriel Rukeyser received a $1000 award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

National Council of Jewish Women's Original Badge

Esther Ruskay speaks at founding of NY section of National Council of Jewish Women

May 9, 1894

Traditionalist Esther Ruskay spoke on "The Revival of Judaism" at the founding meeting of the New York section of the National Council of Jewish Women.

Sylvia Blagman Syms

Singer Sylvia Blagman Syms dies during standing ovation

May 10, 1992

Jazz singer Sylvia Blagman Syms died of a heart attack at age 74 while receiving a standing ovation after a performance.

Gluck, Alma -- American soprano

Birth of singer Alma Gluck

May 11, 1884

Birth of operatic and popular singer Alma Gluck.

Eilberg, Amy - still image [media]

Amy Eilberg ordained as first female Conservative rabbi

May 12, 1985

Amy Eilberg became the first woman ordained as a Conservative Rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary's commencement exercises in New York City.

World Tennis Magazine cover

Gladys Heldman launches "World Tennis Magazine"

May 13, 1953

Tennis player, promoter, and women's advocate Gladys Heldman released the first issue of "World Tennis Magazine."

Jennifer Gorovitz

Jennifer Gorovitz became first female CEO of a major Jewish federation

May 14, 2010

Jennifer Gorovitz became CEO of the San Francisco-based Jewish Community Federation, making her the first female CEO of a major Jewish federation.

Rebecca Affachiner unfurls the first Israeli flag

May 14, 1948

Rebecca Affachiner Unfurls the First Israeli Flag

Mayyim Hayyim, a progressive community mikveh, opens

May 14, 2004

Mayyim Hayyim, a progressive community mikveh and education center in Newton, Massachusetts, opened its doors.

"Women Resume Riots Against Meat Shops" New York Times

Jewish women protested kosher meat prices on Lower East Side

May 15, 1902

In 1902, Jewish women on the Lower East Side organized a massive boycott of the kosher beef industry, demanding lower prices.

Birth of Fanny Goldstein, librarian and founder of Jewish Book Week

May 15, 1895

Fanny Goldstein was the first female Judaica librarian and the first woman to direct a branch library in Massachusetts.

Angela Warnick Buchdahl invested as first Asian-American cantor

May 16, 1999

Angela Warnick Buchdahl was invested as the first Asian American cantor. Two years later, she became the first Asian American rabbi.

Kalich, Bertha - still image [media]

Yiddish theatre star Bertha Kalich born

May 17, 1874

Birth of Yiddish theatre star Bertha Kalich.

Lily Winner publishes a defense of open immigration in The Nation

May 18, 1921

Lily Winner published an essay titled "American Emigrés" arguing for open immigration to the United States in "The Nation."

Jane Eisner appointed first female editor of The Forward

May 18, 2008

Veteran journalist Jane Eisner was appointed to be the first female editor of the "Forward."

Sandy Sasso ordained as first female Reconstructionist rabbi

May 19, 1974

Sandy Sasso became ordained as the first female Reconstructionist rabbi by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia.


Death of comedian Gilda Radner at 42

May 20, 1989

Comedian Gilda Radner died of ovarian cancer at the age of 42.

Atlantic City hotel apologizes to Bertha Rayner Frank for anti-Jewish discrimination

May 21, 1907

The proprietors of the Marlborough-Blenheim Hotel in Atlantic City apologized to Bertha Rayner Frank for her experience with anti-Jewish discrimination at their hotel.

Clara-de-Hirsch - still image [media]

Clara de Hirsch Home for Working Girls opens

May 22, 1899

The Clara de Hirsch Home for Working Girls, a residence and vocational training center for young women, opened its doors.

Sontag, Susan - still image [media]

Susan Sontag publishes last essay

May 23, 2004

Susan Sontag's last essay, "Regarding the Torture of Others," was published in the "New York Times Magazine."

Gilligan, Carol - still image [media]

Carol Gilligan publishes "In a Different Voice"

May 24, 1982

Psychologist Carol Gilligan published "In a Different Voice," the first book to argue that women's psychological development could not be understood by studying men.

Beverly Sills

Birth of opera star Beverly Sills

May 25, 1929

Birth of opera star and arts advocate Beverly Sills.

Moskowitz, Belle - still image [media]

Political trailblazer Belle Moskowitz wins passage of bill regulating NY dance halls

May 26, 1910

Belle Moskowitz, who became the most important female political activist of her day, passed a bill through the New York State Assembly requiring major NY dance halls to obtain a license.

Clara Lemlich in a shirtwaist

Activist Clara Shavelson leads butcher shop boycott

May 27, 1935

New York City women, led by activist Clara Shavelson, picketed Manhattan butcher shops to demand a reduction in the price of meat.

The Settlement Cookbook

Birth of "Settlement Cookbook" author Lizzie Black Kander

May 28, 1858

Birth of Lizzie Black Kander, a leading Jewish social reformer in Milwaukee and author of the still-in print "Settlement Cookbook."

Gertrude Elion

Virginia Holocaust Museum unveils plaque honoring Dr. Gertrude Elion

May 28, 2012

The Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond celebrated Jewish American Heritage Month by unveiling the Jewish-American Hall of Fame plaque honoring Nobel Prize Winner in Medicine Dr. Gertrude Elion.

Pearl Lang photo - image [media]

Birth of choreographer Pearl Lang

May 29, 1921

Birth of influential dancer and choreographer Pearl Lang.

Menken, Adah - still image [media]

Racy actress Adah Isaacs Menken appears in her last performance

May 30, 1868

Adah Isaacs Menken, a racy actress whose cult of personality brought her stardom, gave her last performance.

Bashka Paeff at work

War memorial by Bashka Paeff dedicated in Kittery, Maine

May 31, 1926

"We should set up memorials that would make us loathe war instead of admire it.”

Birth of multi-talented Ruth Hagy Brod

May 31, 1911

Birth in New York City of Ruth Hagy Brod, who would have a varied career in journalism, publishing, and public service.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "This Week in History: Events in May." (Viewed on April 24, 2015) <>.


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