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Jewish Studies

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.

Bronia Klibanski

Bronia (Bronka) Klibanski is well known as one of the heroic Kashariyot (couriers) of the Jewish resistance during the Holocaust. She worked with Mordechai Tenenbaum, the leader of the Jewish resistance in the Bialystok ghetto, becoming the primary kasharit for the Dror Zionist group in 1943. She obtained critical weapons for the ghetto revolt, gathered intelligence, rescued other Jews and saved the secret archive of the Bialystok ghetto.

Chaile Raphael Kaulla

“Here rests a woman who was outstanding among her people and in her fatherland” is written on the gravestone of “Madame Kaulla” in the Hechingen Jewish cemetery. This refers to her charity as a wealthy and pious Jewish woman and to her significant achievements in serving the Grand Duke (later King) of Wuerttemberg and the imperial army (Reichsarmee). Chaile Raphael Kaulla was the most influential Jewish woman entrepreneur and one of the last Court Jews in eighteenth-century Germany.

JWRC: Eleanor Leff Jewish Women's Resource Center

The Eleanor Leff Jewish Women’s Resource Center (JWRC) of the National Council of Jewish Women, New York Section, maintains an extensive collection of materials by and about Jewish women and creates Jewish programming with a feminist focus. The JWRC was founded in 1976 to document and advance the modern Jewish women’s movement.

Judaic Studies in the United States

When the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) was established in 1969 as the professional organization of scholars in the interdisciplinary field of Judaic studies, there were no women among its founders. In 2005–06 women comprised 41% of the AJS membership. Within the past generation a field that was traditionally dominated by men has gradually witnessed the emergence of a significant number of women scholars.

Norma Baumel Joseph

Canada’s outstanding Orthodox feminist, Norma Joseph, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the second daughter of Moishe (Murray) Baumel (b. Austrian Poland, 1912, d. New York, 2002), a salesman who came to the United States as a child, and Madeline (Kohn, b. Hungary, 1917), a typist-secretary who came to the United States as an infant. Many members of Joseph’s family have engaged in religious occupations.

Anna Maria Jokl

“Man vergisst nichts, nichts” (One forgets nothing, nothing, Essenzen, 106), says Anna Maria Jokl in her book Essenzen (1993), when, in her seventies, she looks back at her life—a life that struggles against forgetting, a life shaped by persecution, exile and repeated new beginnings in different places.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Studies." (Viewed on March 6, 2015) <http://jwa.org/topics/jewish-studies>.

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