This Week in History

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This Week in History: Events in May

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.

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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.

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May 3, 2000

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

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May 4, 1930

Birth of Metropolitan opera soprano Roberta Peters.

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May 5, 1900

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

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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.

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May 6, 1943

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

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May 7, 1973

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

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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.

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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.

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May 10, 1992

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

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May 11, 1884

Birth of operatic and popular singer Alma Gluck.

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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.

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May 13, 1953

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

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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.

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May 14, 1948

Rebecca Affachiner Unfurls the First Israeli Flag

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May 14, 2004

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

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May 15, 1902

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

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May 15, 1895
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May 16, 1999

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

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May 17, 1874

Birth of Yiddish theatre star Bertha Kalich.

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May 18, 1921

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

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May 18, 2008

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

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May 19, 1974

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

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May 20, 1989

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

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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.

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May 22, 1899

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

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May 23, 2004

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

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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.

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May 25, 1929

Birth of opera star and arts advocate Beverly Sills.

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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.

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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.

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May 28, 1858

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

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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.

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May 29, 1921

Birth of influential dancer and choreographer Pearl Lang.

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May 30, 1868

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

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May 31, 1926

War memorial by Bashka Paeff dedicated in Kittery, ME

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May 31, 1911

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

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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 May." (Viewed on April 18, 2014) <http://jwa.org/thisweek/may>.