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Volunteers

Is the shul a place for political activism?

I spent last Friday night celebrating Shabbat at Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline, Mass., a Reform synagogue I’d never before visited. I was in awe of the chapel’s breathtaking, brightly colored stained glass windows, and I was fascinated by Rabbi John Franken’s take on Parshat M’tzora, which drew unexpected parallels between, of all things, skin diseases and marketing (all with a Jewish bent, of course). But it was a bright green insert in the Friday night program that struck me most.

10 Things You Should Know About Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus was born in 1849 to Moses and Esther Nathan Lazarus, descendants of the pioneering group of Spanish and Portuguese Jews who settled in New Amsterdam in the mid 1600s.

10 Things You Should Know About Belle Moskowitz

Born in Harlem in 1877, Belle Moskowitz (née Lindner) enjoyed a successful career as a reformer, settlement worker, and labor mediator before becoming a force in Democratic politics in the 1920s. A close advisor to New York governor and presidential candidate Alfred E. Smith, by the 1928 elections she was the most powerful woman in the Democratic Party.

Esther Hautzig, 1930 - 2009

I started working at the Central Children's Room at the Donnell Branch of NYPL around four years ago. While working there I often spoke with author Esther Hautzig, an author and volunteer who dedicated much of her time and energy to the place. Esther was lovely, and I understood her to be an author. What I did not understand was her history, and how it informed her work over the years.

Frances Feldman, 1912 - 2008

Frances Lomas Feldman was born in Philadelphia on December 3, 1912 to Jewish immigrants from Ukraine. The youngest of six children, she moved with her family to Los Angeles when she was eight years old, and remained a lifelong Angelino.

Beatrice Holtzman Schneiderman, 1904 - 1996

She was the smartest woman I have ever known, but she could flirt with the best of them, batting her eyelashes and putting on plenty of Southern charm. That was my grandmother, Mama Bea, who was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1904, and who died in 1996 at the age of 91.

Polly Spiegel Cowan, 1913 - 1976

When my mother died, my eldest brother Paul said that she was the only woman he'd ever known who had an equal passion for social justice and fashion. It was true: Pauline Spiegel Cowan profoundly cared about making the world a better place, and she adored fine clothes and beautiful furniture. Although the fire in which she and my father perished destroyed their apartment and her material possessions, her legacy of political activism remains relevant and important more than a quarter century later.

Lois Levin Roisman, 1938 - 2008

My mother, a leader in Jewish philanthropy and a Judaic poet and playwright, didn't believe in God. She was not interested in organized religion. But she was a deeply and inspirationally Jewish woman.

Civil Rights and Social Justice Today

Consider what contemporary civil rights and social justice issues matter to us today, and how Jews and African Americans determine their priorities and responsibilities to effect social change.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Volunteers." (Viewed on September 20, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/volunteers>.

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