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Bernice Mossafer Rind

A child virtuoso on harp and long-standing champion of the Seattle Symphony, Bernice Rind’s musical career began at age seven. At age 11 she debuted professionally and retired from touring at age 23 when her mother grew ill and Bernice longed for a more "normal" life. A Seattle native whose parents emigrated from the Isle of Rhodes, she attended both Ezra Bessaroth Congregation (Sephardic) cofounded by her father, and the Ashkenazic Reform synagogue, Temple de Hirsch Sinai, (co-founded by the Rind family).

Arva Gray

A Mormon convert to Judaism, Arva Davis Gray was a leader in the Seattle Jewish community and a self-described “kitchen Jew” who served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, as a member of the Boards of many local and national Jewish organizations, and was a founder of Bellevue’s Temple B‘Nai Torah. Trained as a nurse, she married Dr. Bernard Gray, with whom she raised two children from his previous marriage and two of their own. Arva spiced her life with Sephardic and Askenazic cooking learned from friends and neighbors, and with wisdom grounded in Judaism and a broad, humane outlook. Arva also devoted her energies to her four children and to her grandchildren. Arva Gray died on June 14, 2010.

Esther Eggleston

Widowed at age 36, Esther Eggleston managed single motherhood and work as the first female executive administrator of Temple de Hirsch Sinai, serving three rabbis and a growing membership of almost 1,000 families during her 23 years of service. Born in St. Louis in 1905, Esther’s family moved to Seattle in 1912. In her working life she felt useful and accomplished, underappreciated and unacknowledged-the tangle of rewards and disappointments experienced by working women in mid-century. Devoted to her daughter and her volunteer causes, Esther received the first Esther Eggleston Outstanding Service Award from Women’s American ORT in 1993, now awarded annually in her honor.

Ruth Nussbaum preserves a Torah on Kristallnacht

November 10, 1938

Ruth Nussbaum preserves a Torah on Kristallnacht.

“I struggle.”

Growing up, my discomfort derived from the separate-but-equal mentality I found inherent within a mechitza service. Sometimes, the mechitza is a balcony (women in the back, men in the front). Sometimes, the Torah and the service-leader are only on the men’s side. Even in the more forward-thinking mechitza services that I’ve attended, there are still areas in which women may not lead. As an outspoken queer feminist, mechitzas make me uncomfortable... to say the least.

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.

Jewish Identity: A Round-Trip Journey

A life-long discomfort with institutionalized Judaism is hard to shed once you reach the mid-life years. Sure, it’s great to keep an open mind, but there’s also the sense of not wanting to waste time on pursuits unlikely to enrich one’s life. Some of us narrow our options as we get older in a bargain to reduce the odds of having regrets.

Sharing stories, inspiring change

Last week, Rabbi Scott Perlo wrote a provocative article in the Washington Post in which he addressed the continuing discomfort that many Jews—even liberal, gender-equity-supporting ones—feel about female rabbis. He suggests that this puzzling phenomenon may be due to the central place nostalgia holds in many people’s feelings about Judaism. It comes as no surprise that this nostalgic vision does not include female rabbis.

Beatrice L. Garber, 1912 - 1999

Beatrice Lillian Schwalb was born on March 10, 1912, the daughter of European immigrants, Eli and Celia, in Union, South Carolina. At the age of two, Bea contracted polio. To get better medical care, when Bea was three her parents moved back to Massachusetts. They settled in Lynn and Bea fully recovered.


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Synagogues/Temples." (Viewed on October 27, 2016) <>.


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