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Organizations and Institutions

Elsie Frank, 1912 - 2005

My mother Elsie Frank was 70 when she began her career as an advocate. She continued for the next 23 years, going on to become a leader and then President of the Massachusetts Association for Older Americans, and a familiar figure in progressive coalitions. I have her picture above my desk at home, standing before a crowd, mike in one hand, the other holding the hand of Ed Cooper, President of the National Caucus of Black Aged.

Judith Krug, 1940 - 2009

Judith Krug believed that no one has the right to tell other people what they can or cannot read. When asked where libraries should draw the line when it comes to stocking controversial material, she always had one answer: "The law." She understood that we are a nation living under the rule of law, and that creating, enforcing, or overturning the laws of the land is the single most important way to safeguard the freedom to read for all Americans.

Donna E. Arzt, 1954 - 2008

Recalling her undergraduate career at Barnard College, where she studied anthropology with the great anti-racist scholar Franz Boas, Margaret Mead remembered vigorous arguments over "whether or not Jews had a 'chromosome' for social justice." Mead never met Donna Arzt. But in her a genetic disposition to the appeal of tikkun olam was evident, in the course of a life devoted to deploying the law in behalf of progressive causes of special concern to the Jewish people.

Isabelle Charlotte Weinstein Goldenson, 1921 - 2005

I am profoundly grateful to the Israel Cancer Research Fund for honoring my mother, Isabelle Charlotte Weinstein Goldenson, as a Woman of Action. She would have been beyond grateful because, quite frankly, she never received credit during her lifetime for all that she accomplished. She was constantly eclipsed by my father's visibility (although he never sought recognition himself). Theirs was a partnership of sixty years. He was a business visionary; she was an eleemosynary visionary. He convinced the motion picture industry to produce television.

Nell Ziff Pekarsky, 1910 - 1998

On January 14, 1998, I received a letter from my great-aunt in Chicago – Nell Ziff Pekarsky. It was dated January 8. "Dear, dear Janie," she began in customary fashion. Her letters have always been precious to me. I imagine Nell sitting on the edge of her chair, pounding energetically at her circa 1950s manual typewriter, each stroke a definitive act of love. The hand-corrected typos, the words capitalized for emphasis, the exclamation points, the sing-song cadence seemed of another era. Nell's correspondence found a special place in my filing cabinet.

Lenore Pancoe Meyerhoff, 1927 - 1988

"What a rare find is a capable wife! Her worth is far beyond that of rubies." In traditional Jewish homes, the husband often sings "The Woman of Valor," Eyshet Hayil, twenty-two verses from Proverbs 31:10-31, to his wife just before Shabbat Kiddush. Frequently the text of choice for women's eulogies and unveiling ceremonies, it is often scorned by feminists. As a paean to the virtues of wife as tireless, devoted servant, it may ring a bit hollow to our 21st-century ears. Yet, perhaps there's good reason to revisit the text.

Pamela Waechter, 1947 - 2006

Pam Waechter, of blessed memory, Director of Annual Giving at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, died in the line of service. Tragically she was gunned down in her office by a madman who spewed anti-Israeli sentiments. She leaves behind two beloved children, a devoted group of loving friends, and a heartbroken community.

Pam was raised a Lutheran in Minneapolis. She became a Jew by choice when she married her husband, Bill Waechter. The couple moved to Seattle and later divorced.

Patricia A. Barr, 1950 - 2003

My friend Pat Barr died this summer at the age of 52. I am writing about her a mere nine weeks after our last conversation. Her death is too recent—her absence too stark—for me to write about her as if she were a character from history, or someone whose telephone number I don't know by heart. Nor can I write easily, cheerfully, as if she were alive.

Sara Blum, 1910 - 1986

Few females get misty-eyed over a locomotive. But the hundreds of Jewish women who went to Camp Navarac for Girls in the Adirondacks during the '50s and '60s well up over the story "The Little Engine That Could," which formed the basis of owner Sara Blum's sermon at the last Saturday morning service of every summer.

Polly Spiegel Cowan, 1913 - 1976

When my mother died, my eldest brother Paul said that she was the only woman he'd ever known who had an equal passion for social justice and fashion. It was true: Pauline Spiegel Cowan profoundly cared about making the world a better place, and she adored fine clothes and beautiful furniture. Although the fire in which she and my father perished destroyed their apartment and her material possessions, her legacy of political activism remains relevant and important more than a quarter century later.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Organizations and Institutions." (Viewed on May 4, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/organizations-and-institutions>.

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