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Social Work

Lillian D. Wald

Lillian Wald began her work in 1893, when she discovered the need for health care among New York’s largely Jewish immigrant population. Her solution to this problem, in the form of public health nursing—a term she coined—served only as the beginning of her life’s work, which was dedicated to providing health care, education and social services to the poor and immigrant members of her Henry Street Settlement, and beyond.

Union of Jewish Women

The Union of Jewish Women (UJW) was the first national umbrella organization for Jewish women’s social service groups.

Henrietta Szold

Henrietta Szold's prodigious capacity for work and unwavering sense of duty, her powerful intellect and ability to meet new challenges, the breadth of her activities, and her singular contributions to American Jewish culture, to Zionism, and to the Yishuv mark her as an extraordinary human being.

Frances Stern

Frances Stern’s experience as a second-generation American Jew dedicated to social reform, interested in education, and having the good fortune to come into contact with several prominent women engaged in various aspects of social work led her to a career in scientific nutrition, applied dietetics, and home economics.

Sports in the United States

The ways in which females participated in sporting life within both the immigrant and the wider culture reveal how women’s sports activities at times promoted assimilation yet also generated discord within the generational, gender, class and ethnic context of their lives in the United States.

Maida Herman Solomon

Professor of social economy at Simmons College School of Social Work, Maida Solomon was recognized as a pioneer in the field, along with a very small group of social work professionals who “invented” the field of psychiatric social work and oversaw its definition, its development of standards, and its integration with the other institutions of modern American medicine and education—in short, its professionalism.

Hannah Greenebaum Solomon

Hannah Greenebaum Solomon founded and served as the first president of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW). Solomon brought both leadership and ideological vision to the NCJW, helping it become the premier Jewish women’s organization of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Sociology in the United States

Sociological theory suggests that Jews are likely to be good sociologists, because people positioned on the margins of society (i.e., social outsiders) tend to be astute social observers (Park 1950). Since Jews historically have been the quintessential outsiders, many great sociologists have, in fact, been Jews—particularly Jewish men (e.g., Lewis Coser, Emile Durkheim, Erving Goffman, Irving Louis Horowitz, Herbert Marcuse, Karl Marx, Karl Mannheim, Robert K. Merton, and Georg Simmel), although some did not acknowledge their Jewishness.

Settlement Houses in the United States

Jewish women have played significant roles as benefactors, organizers, administrators, and participants in American settlement houses. Settlement houses, founded in the 1880s in impoverished urban neighborhoods, provided recreation, education, and medical and social service programs, primarily for immigrants.

Alice Lillie Seligsberg

Alice Lillie Seligsberg, an American Zionist, social worker, civic leader and Hadassah president, gave of herself to the orphaned and needy of her people, and influenced thousands of Jewish girls and women for more than a generation.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Social Work." (Viewed on November 27, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/social-work>.

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