This Week in History

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Celebrating 350 years of Jewish women in America

October 18, 2004

The Jewish Women's Archive joined with National Women's Philanthropy of the United Jewish Communities for an historic celebration of 350 years of American Jewish community on October 18, 2004. The evening showcased Jewish women, of the past and the present, whose boldness, vision, and hard work have shaped America and American Jewish life. Part of the International Lion of Judah conference in Washington, D.C., the event was attended by nearly 1,400 women from across the United States.

An extraordinary group of contemporary women of achievement were brought together for this evening to reflect upon their own work and careers within the historical context of 350 years of Jewish women creating community in North America.

Honorees included Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Representative Shelley Berkley; communal leaders Shoshana Cardin, Amy Friedkin, Carole Solomon, and Linda Rae Sher; artist Judy Chicago; actress Tovah Feldshuh; composers Debbie Friedman and Elizabeth Swados; cookbook author Joan Nathan; authors and activists Blu Greenberg, Ruth Gruber, and Letty Cottin Pogrebin; Rabbi Sally J. Priesand; and Barnard College President Judith Shapiro.

Keynote speaker Justice Ginsburg drew the audience's attention to the inspiring “humanity and bravery” of “New Colossus” poet Emma Lazarus and Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold. Ginsburg also referred to the experience of her own mother as she posed a question that illuminates the promise that American experience has offered to many of its immigrants and citizens: “What is the difference between a New York City garment district bookkepper and a Supreme Court Justice?” Her answer: “One generation.”

See also: JWA Press Release October 25, 2004; Discover 350 Years.

Source: jwa.org/press/2004/20041025-lion.html.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "This Week in History - Celebrating 350 years of Jewish women in America." (Viewed on April 23, 2014) <http://jwa.org/thisweek/oct/18/2004/jewish-women-in-america>.