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Social Work

Marcia Cohn Spiegel

Marcia Cohn Spiegel was born in Chicago on October 16, 1927, and earned a B.A. in psychology from Rockford College in 1949. She was an active volunteer in her suburban community and synagogue until two simultaneous awakenings changed the course of her life: she discovered how few women were included in Jewish texts and anthologies, and at the same time she was forced to acknowledge that her husband was an alcoholic.

Margaret Fleet, 1919 - 2013

When Margaret Fishler Fleet graduated from St. Joseph’s Academy of Music in Fernandina Beach, FL many years ago, her beloved piano teacher, Sister Nola, gave Margaret the nun’s only worldly possession, a lace handkerchief as a present. So profound was Margaret’s love of music that she made sure each of her four daughters and her granddaughters carried the handkerchief during their own weddings. A week before she died, she mustered the energy to perform a final piano recital for her family.

Benevolent Societies and Tzedakah

How do you give tzedakah (charity)? Although Jewish women’s and men’s religious roles have differed for much of history, Jewish laws and teachings regarding a person’s responsibility to help those in need have always applied to both sexes. This Go & Learn guide explores different ways that American Jewish women historically—and we today—fulfill the obligation of tzedakah and gemilut chesed (acts of loving kindness).

Death of Hannah Greenebaum Solomon, First President of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)

December 7, 1942

Founder and first president of the National Council of Jewish Women in 1893, Hannah Greenebaum Solomon (who died on this date in 1942) represented a generation of middle-class Jewish women who paved the road for women’s voice in the public affairs of the Jewish community.

Isabel Hyams begins "Penny Lunch" program

January 1, 1910

Isabel Hyams begins "Penny Lunch" program in Winthrop elementary school.

Phyllis Greenberger

Phyllis Greenberger is President and CEO of the Society for Women’s Health Research, a national non-profit organization founded in 1990 to improve the health of women through research, education, and advocacy. Twenty years ago, most medical research focused on young, healthy, white men; the conventional thinking was that women were just “little men.” Today, thanks to the efforts of Phyllis and her organization, scientists recognize that women are different from men in many ways, and that research into drugs, diagnostic tools, and treatment must be tailored to their needs.

Annette Baran, 1927 - 2010

It is of course impossible to say a few words about Annette and it is impossible to separate her work from herself.

I met Annette in 1978.  

She had written Adoption Triangle, and I was finishing a Master’s Degree, and as an adopted person, my aim was to get people/professionals to understand us a little better.  

Annette did!!   

I called her…

Laura Margolis: The Heroine of Shanghai

At JWA, we love to see other organizations (and not just women’s organizations) sharing and celebrating the stories of unheralded Jewish women.

The Lives They Lived: Jewish women to remember in 2011

“[Debbie Friedman] emphasized the value of every voice and the power of song to help us express ourselves and become our best selves. As she wrote for JWA's online exhibit Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution: 'The more our voices are heard in song, the more we become our lyrics, our prayers, and our convictions.' The woman who wrote the song that asks God to 'help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing' herself modeled for us what that looks like.”—Judith Rosenbaum.
Learn more >>

Edna Barrabee Grace, 1914 - 2010

Prominent Boston-area therapist Edna Barrabee Grace enjoyed a long and successful career counseling couples. She helped many save their marriages by teaching them simply to be nice to each other. Edna shared her positive message in newspaper and magazine stories; as a guest on television and radio programs; and by hosting a TV segment, Ask Edna.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Social Work." (Viewed on December 21, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/social-work>.

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