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Synagogues/Temples

Jewish Feminism in the United States

Challenging all varieties of American Judaism, feminism has been a powerful force for popular Jewish religious revival. Of America’s four Jewish denominations, all but the Orthodox have accepted women as rabbis and cantors.

Jewish Feminism in Post-Holocaust Germany

Jewish feminism in Germany today is an expression of a wide-reaching renewal of Judaism that has been going on in many European countries since the early 1990s. That women have their own movement within this development became evident at the first conference of Bet Debora in Berlin.

Janie Jacobson

Combining her Jewish background with her skill and penchant for writing, Janie Jacobson succeeded as a biblical playwright. The children’s plays she authored were performed nationally.

Italy, Early Modern

Jews have lived on the Italian peninsula uninterruptedly since antiquity. During the middle ages, the center of the Jewish population of Italy shifted from the south to the north. There, during the early-modern period, having been granted charters, local Jews, joined by refugees from Europe, including waves from French, German, and Iberian lands, provided valuable services as moneylenders and merchants. Although this period saw anti-Jewish agitation by churchmen and the establishment of ghettos, new governmental bodies to supervise the Jews, and local inquisitions, the fact that Italy was not unified provided the Jews with opportunities to leave one city-state to bring their services to another that offered greater promise for more tranquility, an incentive for their hosts to ensure their continued presence.

Leah Horowitz

Sarah Rebecca Rachel Leah Horowitz, author of Tkhinne imohes (Supplication of the Matriarchs), was the daughter of Jacob Yokl ben Meir Ha-Levi Horowitz (1680–1755) and Reyzel bat Heshl. Her father was a member of the famed kloyz of Brody. Leah Horowitz (as she was known) was one of some seven children. Three of her brothers were rabbis, of whom the most eminent was Isaac (known as “Itsikl Hamburger,” 1715–1767), rabbi of Hamburg, Altona and Wandsbeck. There was also a sister, named Pessil. There is some doubt about the identity of another brother and sister. As the sister of eminent brothers, Leah disproves the old canard that the only educated women in her time were the daughters of learned rabbis who had no sons.

Gertrude Hirschler

Not prepared to compromise her ideals by accepting work that did not meet her ideological approval, Gertrude Hirschler rejected the offer of a well-recognized publisher, who submitted a book by an Israeli leftist writer to her for translation. True to her principles, she removed her name from The Hirsch Siddur that she had translated, due to changes to the finished product that did not meet her standards. A brilliant perfectionist, Hirschler’s literary contributions as a translator, editor, and writer are highly regarded in the areas of Jewish history, accounts of the Holocaust, religious literature, and Zionism.

Hattie Leah Henenberg

Born on a farm in Ennis, Texas, on February 16, 1893, Hattie Henenberg was the second child of Hungarian-born Rosa (Trebitsch) and Samuel Henenberg, parents of four daughters and two sons. The family moved to nearby Dallas in 1904 to help her ailing paternal grandfather, Lazar, owner of Dallas’s oldest pawn and jewelry shop. Henenberg took night classes from 1913 to 1916 at Dallas Law School, part of Southern Methodist University. She was assistant Texas attorney general from 1929 to 1930; special assistant U.S. attorney general in Washington in 1934, and an assistant district attorney in Dallas from 1941 to 1947. In addition, Henenberg was a delegate to the 1932 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, a member of the Order of Eastern Star, Business and Professional Women’s Club, Temple Emanu-El, and Dallas president of Zonta International. The ideals of social justice that permeated her quest for legal aid to the poor reflected the principles of Judaism. Judaism also manifested itself through her decision not to marry a non-Jew and through religious observances such as not eating pork.

Adele Bluthenthal Heiman

Adele (Bluthenthal) Heiman was born on August 22, 1900, the eldest child of Adolph and Rachel (Rae Solmson) Bluthenthal. Her siblings were Henriette, Madeline, and David. Adolph Bluthenthal, born in 1865 in Germany, had come to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, as a teenager. Family members had settled there before the Civil War. Adolph established a leading men’s clothing store and was active in civic and religious life. In December 1895, he married Rae Solmson, daughter of prominent Pine Bluff settler Solomon Solmson. Rae’s mother was German-born Henrietta Berlin, whose family settled in Baltimore, Maryland, when she was fourteen.

Haskalah Attitudes Toward Women

For the men of intellect who burst upon Ashkenazic Jewish society in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, starting a cultural revolution of [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:325]Haskalah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] (enlightenment), the question of women’s status was the touchstone for the validity and consolidation of their innovative worldview. One of the outstanding proponents of the Haskalah was Judah Leib Gordon (1831–1892), who expressed the ambiguity of [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:352]maskilim[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] toward the “woman question.” Beginning in the 1870s, women Hebrew readers in the Jewish Pale of Settlement in Russia and women students in various cities in Europe considered him one of the few people who showed special sensitivity and empathy with regard to the difficult lives of Jewish women.

Reina Hartmann

Reina Kate Goldstein, the daughter of Simon and Kate (Mayer) Goldstein, was born in Chicago on February 2, 1880, and lived in the Chicago area her entire life. She became an integral member of the community by devoting her life to organizations that served Chicago’s women.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Synagogues/Temples." (Viewed on December 21, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/synagoguestemples>.

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