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Voting Rights

Did Your Grandmother Have The Right To Vote?: With rights, comes responsibility

According to an August USA Today/Suffolk University poll, there are 90 million Americans who “could turn a too-close-to-call race into a landslide for President Obama, but by definition they probably won’t.” The poll found that people who are eligible to vote but aren’t likely to do so “back Obama’s re-election over Republican Mitt Romney by more than 2-1.”

Clara Schiffer, 1911 - 2009

Clara Goldberg Schiffer was born in Brockton, MA, into a family of poor immigrant eastern European Jews. She attended public schools in Brockton and Roxbury. Her intellectual interest started young.

She was smart. There is an extended family dispute about whether she got her brains from her mother Rebecca or her father Nathan — it was clearly both — and she worked hard. She got into Radcliffe, a great achievement for a poor Jewish girl.

Jewesses for Suffrage

On August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibiting any citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex was ratified. Today, 91 years later, we take a look back at the Jewish women who dedicated their lives to women's suffrage in America and around the world. This is by no means a comprehensive list; so many Jewish women fought for suffrage, this is merely a sample of the stories we know.

How many more stories have yet to be told?

Adele Landau Starr, 1916 - 2007

Adele Landau was born on October 1, 1916 in New Orleans. Her mother came from Little Rock and her father from New Orleans. Both parents were of German Jewish lineage. When she was quite young, the family moved to McComb, Mississippi where her father and his brother set up a textile mill. They were the only Jewish family in the county and were part of the business and social elite in the area.

10 Things You Should Know About Gertrude Weil

Gertrude Weil was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina in 1879. Her father, an immigrant from Germany, was among the business and civic leaders of the community. At the age of 15, she was sent to Horace Mann High School in New York City. She went on to Smith College, where, in 1901, she became the first graduate from North Carolina.

10 Things You Should Know About Pauline Newman

Born in Kovno, Lithuania, in 1890, Pauline Newman was barred from the local public school because she was Jewish. As a girl, her opportunities for a Jewish education were limited. Her father tutored well-to-do boys in Talmud; he eventually allowed her to attend Sunday classes, where she learned to read and write both Yiddish and Hebrew. The obstacles she faced in getting an education motivated her to fight for gender equality later in her life.

10 Things You Should Know About Clara Lemlich

When Clara Lemlich was growing up in the Ukraine, her religious parents did not want their daughter learning Russian, the language of an antisemitic empire. But the strong minded girl was drawn to Russia’s literary masters—Tolstoy, Gorky, and Turgenev—and to the revolutionary literature being written in Russian. She took on odd jobs—sewing buttons, teaching folk songs, writing letters for illiterate women—to pay for Russian lessons and later for books she kept hidden from her family.

10 Things You Should Know About Rose Schneiderman

Born in 1882 into a devout Jewish family in Saven, Poland, Rose Schneiderman was raised from an early age to believe she was capable of doing anything a man could do. Her parents enrolled her in a Jewish school at the age of four. Two years later, the family moved to the city of Chelm so that Rose could attend a Russian public school and receive an excellent secular education.

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. "Voting Rights." (Viewed on March 29, 2015) <http://jwa.org/topics/voting-rights>.

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