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History

How and Why We Remember

The people of a certain culture devote an entire week of each year to commemorating one of the worst parts of their history. They taste bitter things to appreciate the suffering of their ancestors. They consciously abstain from consuming bread to remind themselves what was eatenor rather, what was not eaten. They mourn the deaths of their ancient oppressors. They drink the metaphorical tears of their forefathers and foremothers. And year after year after year, they gather around tables to recount the suffering and the humiliation and the turmoil of their own people.

Propelled into the New Year

Early in the 20th century, Jewish New Year card manufacturers began embellishing their cards with airplanes. They did so for three interrelated reasons: to call attention to the thrilling, modern invention of the airplane, to draw an analogy between the New Year and this new means of travel, and to use the airplane to highlight the changing status of women. Airplane pictures mirrored the tremendous emigration from Eastern Europe to the West in the early part of the 20th century and were a symbol of progress and modernity.  

Elisabeth Bergner

Playfully titling her 1978 memoir Greatly Admired and Often Cursed, Elisabeth Bergner was famed both as the actress whom writers felt best captured their characters and as a former spy who helped other actors escape Nazi Germany.

Rahel Yanait Ben-Zvi

Long before she became First Lady of Israel, Rahel Yanait Ben-Zvi shaped the country by helping create many of its most important organizations.

Hemdah Ben-Yehuda

Hemdah Ben-Yehuda collaborated with her husband, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, to revive ancient Hebrew and make it a truly functional living language.

Netiva Ben Yehuda

Although she began her writing career very late in life, Netiva Ben Yehuda transformed the Israeli literary scene with her explosive Palmah trilogy.

Olga Belkind-Hankin

Although Olga Belkind-Hankin was a formidable pioneer and midwife in Palestine, her most visible legacy remains the land she helped her husband buy, which formed the basis of many of the first settlements.

Katja Behrens

Part of the first generation of postwar writers in Germany, Katja Behrens grapples with the often difficult relationship between German Jews and the majority.

Beate Sirota Gordon

Through diplomacy and ingenuity, twenty-two-year-old Beate Sirota Gordon wrote unprecedented rights for women into Japan’s post-war constitution.

Rachel Sassoon Beer

Rachel Sassoon Beer rose to fame as owner and editor of both The Observer and The Sunday Times, making her the first woman to edit a national newspaper.

Pages

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "History." (Viewed on April 19, 2015) <http://jwa.org/topics/history>.

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