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Plays

Bertha Pappenheim

Bertha Pappenheim founded the Jewish feminist movement in 1904 and led it for twenty years, remaining on its board of directors until her death in 1936. She introduced German-Jewish women to beliefs and issues raised by feminism. She spoke openly of Jewish unwed mothers, illegitimate children and prostitutes, and she encouraged Jewish women to demand political, economic and social rights as well as commensurate responsibilities.

Cynthia Ozick

There is simultaneously something very young and something decidedly hoary about the persona of writer Cynthia Ozick. She herself recognizes this duality.

Annie Nathan Meyer

Annie Nathan Meyer promoted women’s higher education; chronicled women’s work; dramatized women’s status in plays, novels, and short stories; raised funds for Jewish and black students; wrote hundreds of letters to the editor; published art, drama, and music criticism; and championed physical activity and the outdoors.

Lillian Hellman

Lillian Hellman was born on June 20, 1905, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her parents, Max and Julia (Newhouse) Hellman, were both German-American Jews. Her mother’s family was wealthy and later became the models (though stripped of Jewish identity) for Hellman’s most famous creations, the Hubbards, in her two plays The Little Foxes and Another Part of the Forest. Max Hellman’s sisters Hannah and Jenny were similarly the basis for the central characters in one of Hellman’s last plays, Toys in the Attic.

Miriam Shomer Zunser

Miriam Shomer Zunser, journalist, playwright, and artist, was an important promoter of Jewish culture in America during the period before World War II.

Shelley Winters

Shelley Winters’s acting career ranged from a fairy in a local pageant at age four to the eccentric Grandma Harris on television’s Roseanne. She performed in over one hundred movies, fifty stage plays and countless television programs, and won two Academy Awards and an Emmy.

Bertha Wiernik

Writer and translator Bertha Wiernik was born to Hirsch Wolf and Sarah Rachel (Milchiger) Wiernik in Vilna, Lithuania, on March 21, 1884.

Wendy Wasserstein

In 1989, with her play The Heidi Chronicles, she won a Pulitzer Prize and became the first woman to receive the Tony Award for Best Play.

Muriel Spark

While many of her critics marginalize Spark as a “Catholic writer,” it is clear that the wit, intelligence and subversiveness of her fiction are driven not by an unchanging morality but by a radical singularity.

Esther Shumiatcher-Hirschbein

In December 1918, while he was on a speaking tour which brought him to Calgary, Esther Shumiatcher met and married Peretz Hirschbein (1880–1948), a leading playwright in New York’s Yiddish theater. Encouraged by her husband, Shumiatcher, who had previously written but apparently not published poetry in English, now turned to Yiddish.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Plays." (Viewed on November 23, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/plays>.

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