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Jewish Studies

Post-Biblical and Rabbinic Women

In post-biblical Jewish antiquity women were not viewed as equal to men or as full Jews. In this, Jews were no different from their various Greco-Roman, Semitic or Egyptian neighbors. The difference lies in the explanation Jews gave to their views.

Rivkah Perelis

As a historian, Perelis strove for moral principles, accuracy and the utmost openness, without sacrificing the personal emotional motivation behind her work. She struggled with the inevitable dilemma of every historian when dealing with the Holocaust—the dichotomy between the sense of personal-emotional commitment and the professional obligation to maximum objectivity—and learned to live within this contradictory space.

Dalia Ofer

A noted historian of contemporary Jewry, with a research specialization in Holocaust studies, Dalia Ofer was born in Jerusalem on January 8, 1939.

Deborah Dash Moore

Deborah Dash Moore has been a central voice in the emergence of the field of American Jewish history from the last quarter of the twentieth century. Not only has she shaped the field through her writings; she has also energetically sponsored conferences, tirelessly volunteered her time to advise graduate students and young scholars, and directed major programs and institutions that dealt with the experience of Jews in America.

Literature Scholars in the United States

At the start of the twenty-first century, women of all classes, races, and ethnicities are so fully integrated into American literary academia that it is astonishing that, as little as a century ago, the idea of a woman professor teaching, for example, the novels of George Eliot or Henry James to a roomful of young men and women was inconceivable. In all highly literate cultures, secular and religious knowledge used to be the domain of men, while women were in charge of the practical side of daily life and, in the upper classes, of certain social matters.

Deborah Lipstadt

“Unzere Devora,” our Deborah, “you do not know what you did for us,” murmured a Holocaust survivor before Yom ha-Sho’ah observances in the U.S. Capitol in April 2000. The comment stunned Deborah E. Lipstadt. An historian of American Jews, she had not sought the grueling libel trial that transformed her into a public personality. But she proved in a British court the historical truth of Hitler’s genocidal murder of six million European Jews during World War II to justify her characterization of David Irving as a Holocaust denier.

Nora Levin

In the introduction to her 1977 book While Messiah Tarried, a history of Jewish socialist movements, Nora Levin wrote that she hoped “young Jews groping for ways to reconcile their own social radicalism with Jewishness ... will be heartened in their quest by the knowledge that there have been several generations of other young Jews who have made a similar struggle.”

Anne Lapidus Lerner

When Anne Lapidus Lerner entered Radcliffe College in 1960, university-based Jewish Studies departments were virtually nonexistent. The few male professors of Jewish subjects in the United States were scattered among departments of history, philosophy, religion and Semitic languages in an equally scant number of institutions. But by the time Lerner earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature (French, modern Hebrew and American literatures) from Harvard in 1977, Jewish Studies programs were springing up in colleges and universities throughout North America. When she was appointed Vice Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1993, her fields, Hebrew literature and women’s studies, were full-fledged sub-disciplines of Jewish studies.

Nehama Leibowitz

Nehama Leibowitz was born in 1905 in Riga, Latvia, to Mordechai and Freyda Leibowitz. She grew up in a home filled with Jewish and general culture, competing in her father’s Bible quizzes against her brother, Yeshayahu, who later became a famous and controversial Israeli philosopher. In 1919 the family moved to Berlin, where Leibowitz taught, wrote articles and studied for her doctorate. She married her uncle, Lipman Leibowitz, who was many years her senior, and on the day she finished her doctorate they fulfilled their dream and moved to Israel (c. 1930).

Lazarus, Nahida Ruth

In 1891 Nahida Ruth Lazarus published The Jewish Woman, a product of her fundamental interest in both feminism and Judaism, which aroused enormous interest. It was and remains an important source book for women’s studies, used and cited by countless female and male authors.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Studies." (Viewed on October 1, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/jewish-studies>.

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