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Memoirs

Joan Rivers, 1933 - 2014

“I am not the ideal Jewish woman,” Joan Rivers admits in a comedy act filmed in the Jewish Women’s Archive film, Making Trouble. “I love to take [my audience] to the edge,” she says. “I love to get them upset . . . And ruin their value system.” Known for her aggressiveness and her “unkosher” bawdy style, in critic Sarah Cohen’s words, Rivers (nee Joan Molinsky), Phi Beta Kappa Barnard graduate and daughter of a Brooklyn Jewish doctor, performed for over forty years.

Vladka Meed

Freedom fighter Vladka Meed smuggled dynamite into the Warsaw Ghetto to aid the Jewish uprising and helped children escape by hiding them in Christian homes.

Alice Babette Toklas moves in permanently with Gertrude Stein.

September 9, 1910
Alice Babette Toklas heard distinct chiming when she met Gertrude Stein.

Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin made history in 1986 as both the youngest actress to win an Academy Award for Best Leading Actress and the first deaf person to win the award.

Long-lost poem by war heroine Hannah Szenes is found.

September 2, 2012

A poem by WWII hero Hannah Szenes was discovered 68 years after her death.

Theresa Serber Malkiel

Theresa Serber Malkiel fought for workers’ rights, becoming the first female factory worker to rise to leadership in the Socialist Party.

Malka Lee

Malka Lee’s lyrical Yiddish poems won over both critics and general American Jewish audiences, but it was her work dedicated to the family she lost in the Holocaust that had the most lasting impact.

Writer-Directors

Putting Women Onscreen and in the Director's Chair

Actress-Scientists

Stars of STEM and Screen

Helena Rubinstein

Selling face cream to Depression–era housewives and teaching makeup tricks to film vamp Theda Bara, Helena Rubinstein built a global beauty empire. Rubinstein worked as her father’s bookkeeper and studied medicine before immigrating to Australia in 1902.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Memoirs." (Viewed on December 21, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/memoirs>.

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