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World War II

Alice Abrams Siegal

A social reformer and political activist, Alice Siegal is a tireless advocate for families and disadvantaged youth and a fierce opponent of discrimination wherever she encounters it. Born and raised in Seattle, Alice grew up within the Orthodox, Ashkenazic community. After her two children were born, Alice attended the University of Washington and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology, a teaching certificate, and a Master’s Degree in Counseling. Upon graduation, Alice worked for the Washington State Employment Service War on Poverty Office, the Youth Opportunity Center in the 1960s, and the Seattle Public Schools Disadvantaged Youth Program in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1970s Alice began counseling students for the Bellevue Public Schools. More recently, Alice has worked as a counselor for Jewish Family Service. Volunteer work plays an important role in Alice’s life as well.

Blanche Gordon Narodick

Journalist and international Red Cross volunteer, Blanche Gordon Narodick graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington and earned a masters degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, launching her career as a journalist, ghost writer, and public relations consultant. Raised in part by her aunt and uncle, she met her husband, Dr. Phillip Narodick, in graduate school and refers to their partnership as a “true love story.” During World War II Blanche worked with the American Red Cross and has continued that affiliation, initiating an international chapter in Seattle, promoting “Holocaust tracing” helping Jewish families locate relatives, and founding a sister chapter in Shanghai, China. For her work, the ARC awarded Blanche the Harriman Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service in 1989.

Ventura Franco Israel

A native of Seattle, Ventura Israel was
born in 1915, two years after her parents immigrated from Turkey. Forged as a strong woman by the deaths of men in her family-her father’s in 1928, her first husband’s in 1970, and her second husband’s in 1989-she helped support her family during the Depression, and as a twenty-five year employee of Union Federal Savings and Loan. Both her first husband, Maurice Franco, and her second husband, Morris Israel, were born in Rhodes, Greece, and Ventura spent her religious life in Seattle’s Sephardic community. The mother of two, and a vibrant community member, Ventura currently volunteers at the Caroline Kline Galland home and at her synagogue, Congregation Ezra Bessaroth.

Irena Sendler saves Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto.

October 20, 1943

Irena Sendler Saves Jewish Children from the Warsaw Ghetto

Henrietta Szold on Saying Kaddish

Jewish tradition is filled with rituals that help us mark moments of joy and pain, and through which we can honor family members and the values they have passed on to us. Among these are powerful practices around death—such as saying Kaddish (the Jewish prayer for mourners) and sitting shiva. Traditionally, women did not recite the Kaddish or participate in the minyan (prayer quorum) at shiva. In 1916, in an early example of what would be many challenges by women to the restrictions on their participation in Jewish ritual, Henrietta Szold (the founder of Hadassah) defied Jewish tradition and asserted her right to say Kaddish. In the letter featured in this edition of "Go & Learn," Szold politely declines the offer of a male family friend to say Kaddish for her mother and sets out her reasons for reciting it herself.

War, Motherhood, & A Little Cheesecake

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to work with your mother and learn about her life and in doing so discover a completely different person?

Mollie Weinstein Schaffer, 1916 - 2012

My mother, Mollie Weinstein Schaffer, served her country as a WAC (Women’s Army Corps) during World War II. In her later years that service became the focal point of her life. She was very proud of her husband, children, and grandchildren, but she was also proud to be an American Jewish War Veteran.

Naomi Harris Rosenblatt

Naomi Harris Rosenblatt has had a distinguished career in Washington, D.C. as a psychotherapist and Bible teacher. Born in Haifa, she lived in Palestine during the time of the British Mandate and witnessed first hand the birth of the State of Israel. After her marriage to Peter Rosenblatt, a Washington attorney, she moved to the United States, which has been her home ever since.

Lucy Kramer Cohen, 1907 - 2007

“She never put herself in the limelight to lead and yet she was a leader.” This is how Navajo educational leader Joy Hanley, a longtime colleague and friend, described Lucy Kramer Cohen. During the 1930s Lucy campaigned for the rights of Native Americans; she continued to support American Indian causes for the next 50 years. Although she preferred to work behind the scenes, Lucy was exceptionally warm and outgoing — talking with people wherever she went, making friends, learning about their lives.


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "World War II." (Viewed on November 27, 2015) <>.


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