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Organizations and Institutions

Ethiopian Jewish Women

The Ethiopian Jews, men and women alike, were known as Falashas in Ethiopia, although in the last decade they have eschewed this appellation with its stigmatic connotation of “stranger”, implying low, outsider status. In Israel, they tend to be called Ethiopian Jews, whilst in Ethiopia they often referred to themselves—and are referred to in the academic literature—as Beta Israel (Weil, 1997a). The Beta Israel hail from villages in Gondar province, Woggera, the Simien mountains, Walkait and the Shire region of Tigray. They are divided into two distinct linguistic entities speaking Amharic and Tigrinya respectively.

Blanche Goldman Etra

Born on March 8, 1915, in Brooklyn, New York, Blanche Goldman Etra was the daughter of Anna (Simon) and Jacob Goldman. Her father was a textile and women’s wear executive. The second of three children, she had an older sister, Helen, and a younger brother, Morton.

Sara N. Evans

Sara Nachamson Evans, the wife of Mayor Emanuel J. Evans, served as the “first lady” of Durham, North Carolina, from 1951 to 1963. Known affectionately as “Miz Evans” by her friends and family, she was, in her own right, a prominent local, regional, and national leader of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization with a national membership of 300,000 Jewish women.

Tamar Eshel

Descended on her mother’s side from a family of Bilu settlers who had come to Palestine in 1882, Tamar Eshel was born in London on July 24, 1920. Her lawyer father, Ze’ev Shoham (b. 1886 in Kurosvany, Russia–d. 1971), had studied at the university in St. Petersburg, where he first met his future wife, Zilla Feinberg (b. 1894 in Jaffa Palestine, d. 1988), before World War I. After the issuing of the Balfour Declaration in 1917 Ze’ev Shoham went via Sweden to London, where he was a member of the World Zionist Executive. Zilla joined him there on completing her studies in agriculture at the University of Berlin and the couple married in 1919, returning to Palestine in 1921. Zilla became a citrus grower in her father’s groves, eventually serving as a leading member of the Association of Citrus Growers in Palestine. A son, David, who was born in 1923, died in 2005. Although Tamar was born in the United Kingdom, Israel’s Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett later had her registered as a native of Israel, since her parents had been abroad as emissaries of the “state-in-the-making.”

Sara Riwka B’raz Erlich

If a Jewish author could be selected as representative of the process of amalgamation of cultures in the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:308]Diaspora[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], Sara Riwka Erlich would be the appropriate Brazilian-Jewish woman writer. Born in Brazil of European parents who immigrated to that country, Erlich grew up in the city of Recife, immersed in a combination of Jewish heritage and some areas of non-Jewish life.

Judith G. Epstein

Deeply committed to the establishment and development of the State of Israel, Judith G. Epstein dedicated her career as a social and political activist to Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. She served Hadassah in many leadership roles, including two terms as president. She also attended several meetings of the Zionist World Congress as a delegate, served as a representative to the United Nations, and was largely responsible for funding the Rothschild–Hadassah–University Hospital in Jerusalem.

Shulamith Reich Elster

In the 1980s, when she served as headmaster of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in suburban Washington, D.C., Shulamith Elster was often referred to as the dean of Jewish education.

Emma Lazarus Federation of Jewish Women's Clubs

The Emma Lazarus Federation of Jewish Women’s Clubs (ELF), a progressive women’s group, grew out of the Emma Lazarus Division, founded in 1944 by the Women’s Division of the Jewish People’s Fraternal Order of the International Workers Order (IWO). Formed to provide relief to wartime victims, but especially to combat antisemitism and racism and to nurture positive Jewish identification through a broad program of Jewish education and women’s rights, the Emma Lazarus Division attracted a membership of leftist, largely Yiddish-speaking women, many of the immigrant generation. Among its founders was Clara Lemlich Shavelson, the young woman who had called for the general strike of garment workers that sparked the 1909 Uprising Of The 20,000. Shavelson and other organizers believed that, because of the Holocaust, thousands of women had become “newly aware of themselves as Jewish women,” but they urgently needed “history, self-knowledge as Jews, and cultural products” that could sustain the fight against fascism. In its early years, the division offered fellowships for fiction and history on Jewish themes. It also supported a home for French war orphans and a day nursery in Israel, and championed a broad range of women’s issues.

Emunah

Emunah was founded in 1935 as the Women’s Branch of Ha-Po’el ha-Mizrachi, under the leadership of Tova Sanhedrai-Goldreich, who served the public throughout her life, first as a young woman in Poland, later in Israel, and as the leader of Emunah for more than fifty years. In addition, she served as a member of [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:345]Knesset[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] on behalf of the National Religious Party, as well as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, from 1961 to 1974 (the fifth, sixth and seventh Knessets). During the 1960s, the Women’s Branch merged with the Mizrachi Women’s Organization to form the National Religious Women’s Organization, which later assumed the name Emunah.

Katharine Engel

When Katharine Engel’s alma mater, Smith College, conferred upon her its first honorary degree for Jewish achievement in 1950, the citation praised Engel’s “sensitive understanding of the many complex problems which confront the immigrant to this country.” A renowned emigré expert and Jewish communal leader who devoted much of her career to resettling displaced European Jewry, Engel was also an outspoken critic of McCarthyism and a tireless advocate of immigration reform.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Organizations and Institutions." (Viewed on December 28, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/organizations-and-institutions>.

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