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Politics and Government

Vera Dean

In the preface to her book Builders of Emerging Nations (1961), Vera Dean poses the question, “What makes a leader?” While the book goes on to discuss the important qualities necessary to be a leader in the political arena, the story of Vera Dean’s life is a testament to her own leadership abilities. She helped shape American foreign policy and opinion on international relations, as both an educator and a writer.

Rita Charmatz Davidson

Rita Charmatz Davidson led the vanguard for women in the state of Maryland, rising through the ranks of appointed local public service posts to the governor’s cabinet and seats on both of Maryland’s appellate courts.

Devorah Dayan

“All the links in the chain of Devorah’s life cast a light of great activity and influence on her surroundings, both near and far. Love of her motherland was the main force behind all her writings (and actions) and intermingled with everything: home, village, motherhood, the farm, teaching new immigrants and their children, the fate of her sons in battle and her bereavement.” Thus Rahel Katznelson-Shazar eulogized the new Hebrew woman as exemplified by Devorah Dayan.

Edis De Philippe

Currently one of the country’s flourishing arts, opera in Israel owes its creation primarily to singer, director, producer and impresario Edis De Philippe, who founded the Israel National Opera Company in 1947 and ran it with an iron hand until her death on July 5, 1979, following brain surgery.

Annette Daum

“Feminists can and should have a significant role in promoting understanding and respect between Christians and Jews.” These words of Annette Daum highlight her devotion to two causes: interfaith dialogue and feminism.

Carrie Dreyfuss Davidson

Founder and longtime editor in chief of Outlook magazine, Carrie Dreyfuss Davidson, born in Brooklyn, New York, on February 12, 1879, exemplified the often competing paradigms of Jewish homemaker and accomplished writer and community leader. Introduced to many in American Jewish society as the wife of renowned professor Israel Davidson of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, this gifted woman eventually founded and fostered an array of significant organizations and publications.

Dance Performance in the United States

Dance has always had a special place in the Jewish community because of its capacity to heighten communal and individual joy at weddings as prescribed in the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:416]Talmud[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], at bar and [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:301]bat mitzvah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] celebrations, and on other happy occasions. The Bible contains many mentions of dance in celebration of important holidays and Israelite victories. Jews have always danced with the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:424]Torah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] scrolls in processionals on the holiday of [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:407]Simhat Torah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary], and there are movement processionals on other holidays, as well as during the weekly Sabbath services. A very simple form of dance is even part of Jewish prayer, as the rhythmic rocking movement of davening (praying) literally embodies the notion of total devotion to God.

Rose Laub Coser

In a life devoted to studying how social structure affects individuals, sociologist Rose Laub Coser made contributions to medical sociology, refined major concepts of role theory, and analyzed contemporary gender issues in the family and in the occupational world.


The history of Jewish women in Colonial Cuba is still wrapped in mystery. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia (1903): “Jewish women, forcibly baptized, and sent to the West Indies by the Spanish authorities, seem to have been among the early settlers [of Cuba].” The term “Jewish women” in this context needs explanation: In 1492, King Ferdinand (1452–1516) and Queen Isabella (1451–1504) of Spain signed the infamous edict that ordered the expulsion of all professed Jews from their kingdoms.

Ray Karchmer Daily

Ray Karchmer Daily was a leader in Texas in the struggle for equal opportunities for women. She was born in Vilna, Lithuania, on March 16, 1891, to Kalman and Anna (Levison) Karchmer. The youngest of five children (Jack, Alex, Sidney, Nathan, and Ray), she immigrated to the United States with her parents when she was age fourteen. The family settled in Denison, Texas, where her father operated a business. In 1913, she became the first Jewish woman to graduate from a Texas medical school. After much difficulty, she found an internship at Women’s Hospital in Philadelphia, the only hospital/medical school with a dormitory for women. Throughout her career she crusaded for adequate housing for female medical students. Her chosen specialty was ophthalmology, but there were no residence positions available in the United States for women. She finished her training in Vienna, Austria.


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Politics and Government." (Viewed on October 13, 2015) <>.


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