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Gerda Lerner

Courtesy Gerda Lerner

We Remember

This growing online collection contains reminiscences of a variety of recently deceased American Jewish women who made a difference in their community and beyond.

Showing 1 - 25 of 175
Frances Kroll Ring
Frances Kroll Ring, 1916 - 2015

F. Scott Fitzgerald asked if she knew anyone in Hollywood. She didn't. He told her to open the top drawer of his dresser, where there were dozens of half empty gin bottles. She shrugged. Satisfied that Grandma wouldn't rat him out to tabloids or judge his drinking, Fitzgerald hired her that day.

Harriet Perl
Harriet Perl, 1920 - 2013

In my imagination, she was a well-adjusted spinster whose heroes were Hemingway, Faulkner and Fitzgerald. But in the packed sanctuary that day, people spoke of a much greater hero: Ellen DeGeneres.

Maxine Kumin headshot
Maxine Kumin, 1925 - 2014

Among those of us who have been traveling in her wake for decades, she was and is a model of how to live, as well as how to write, courageously and sanely, with artistic craft and generosity, out of a profound love of our shared life.

Naomi Weisstein
Naomi Weisstein, 1939 - 2015

Naomi sometimes described herself as a female Lenny Bruce. But she was not an imitation anything. She was pure Naomi.

Fredrica Wechsler National Academy of Sciences 1990
Fredrica Wechsler, 1929 - 2014

My mother was no shrinking violet. After a few weeks at home following the wedding, she got a job at the Gary Welfare Department, where she went on home visits and discovered Gary’s devastatingly impoverished African-American community. I am sure that this was a pivotal moment for her—and she never turned back.

Joan Rivers performing in 2009
Joan Rivers, 1933 - 2014

“Comedy is power,” she said. “The only weapon more formidable than humor is a gun.”

Lauren Bacall headshot
Lauren Bacall, 1924 - 2014

It seemed a fairy tale life with echoes of Isaac Bashevis Singer; fame, fortune, three children she adored, but etched with the tragedy of Bogart’s early death and a divorce from her second husband, Jason Robards.

Rivka Haut
Rivka Haut, 1942 - 2014

Rivka got me to other agunah rallies, including a pitiful one with five other women circling the tiny front yard of a Manhattan brownstone. It was my last agunah rally but not Rivka’s. She never gave up and never turned down a request for help. For her, it was about justice and compassion, not numbers.

Aloni, Shulamit - still image [media]
Shulamit Aloni, 1928 - 2014

Aloni spearheaded an ideology in which feminism is a lens for social equality across all social sectors. Her work with Palestinians was informed by her feminism, and her feminism was informed by her work with Palestinians. She held on to a world view in which equality and compassion were part of the process of learning to see the “other” in society, whether that “other” was distinguished by gender, ethnicity, religion, or anything else.

Leslie Feinberg Protest
Leslie Feinberg, 1949 - 2014

And in the reflection of the glass, finally, literally and metaphorically, I could see myself, and Leslie, at once. I think I started to understand what I could be in that moment, that I belonged to a proud tradition of Butch women. That there was a place for me in this world. That I could grow up. For the first time, I understood that I was looking at who and what I would become as an adult. It was breathtaking.

Roberta Galler and Ralph Nichols
Roberta Galler, 1936 - 2014

Roberta Galler was among hundreds arrested in Jackson, Mississippi in June 1965 protesting local attempts to subvert implementation of the new Voting Rights Act... Rabbi Perry Nussbaum came into the cell housing Roberta and several other Jewish women. Holding up toothbrushes, soap, and other small necessities, he said, "Okay, who in here are my people?" Roberta stepped forward and said "Either all of us are your people or none of us are your people."

Margot Adler at KGB
Margot Adler, 1946 - 2014

In 1972 she made a deal with WBAI management to get her own free-form live radio show. At the time, WBAI went off the air loosely between 3 or 5 AM and came back on at 7 AM. Margot talked them into giving her the 5–7 AM timeslot and called it Hour of the Wolf after the film by Ingmar Bergman, a phrase which refers to the morning twilight.

Rebecca Lepkoff
Rebecca Lepkoff, 1916 - 2014

When she was hired to dance at the 1939 World’s Fair, she used her earnings to buy a camera on a whim. The camera became her new passion. Her artistic vision transformed from choreography of the body to the choreography of the streets around her.

Ruth Emmerman Peizer
Ruth Emmerman Peizer, 1923 - 2013
I think Yiddish should be a living language, and we should certainly try to perpetuate something that has been so beautiful and has been around for a thousand years.
J Wilkenfeld headshot
Judy Wilkenfeld, 1943 - 2007
Judy Wilkenfeld brought people together, made everyone with whom she came into contact better, and became a close and trusted friend, confidante, mentor, and role model to so many people with whom she worked.
C-A Lopez 2000
Claude-Anne Kirschen Lopez, 1920 - 2012
I have decided it doesn’t do anybody concerned any harm for a woman to take on a worthwhile project.
G Dubrovsky headshot
Gertrude Wishnick Dubrovsky, 1926 - 2012
To the credit of the nuns, my Jewish search was encouraged, my questions were never cut short, and a patient effort was made consistently to answer me.
Elissa Froman headshot
Elissa Froman, 1983 - 2013
She didn’t want to be known as the girl with cancer. She wanted to be known as a social justice activist, as someone working to repair the world.
Ann J. Lane, 1931 - 2013
Ann Lane was a bold advocate not simply for women but, even more important, for feminist scholarship.
Henriette Avram headshot
Henriette Avram, 1919 - 2006
She is remembered as a dynamic, inspiring leader, full of energy, writing and speaking internationally … making friends wherever she went.
Margaret Fleet
Margaret Fleet, 1919 - 2013
Her teacher and piano were important in her life, but her Jewish identity and heritage were even more so. She was involved in many Jewish causes and organizations and was a proud supporter of Israel, especially in her life-long devotion to Hadassah.
Jeanne Manford, 1920 - 2013
She worked hard and organized. She would call parents cold when she learned they had a problem. “We don’t want to intrude,” she’d say, “but we can help.”
Kathryn Wasserman Davis, 1907 - 2013
In 1998, at the age of 91, she took up kayaking, making regular excursions on the Hudson River and along the coast and on the lakes of Maine. As a result of these experiences, she became a significant supporter of environmental organizations.
Nancy Popkin Popkin, 1930 - 2013
The legacy of Nancy Popkin Popkin, who danced on my coffee table at her 80th birthday party, is her unrelenting determination to celebrate life, family, and friends, with an abundantly generous spirit and a refusal to let even significant losses stand in her way.
Gerda Lerner, 1920 - 2013
Lerner's life experience equipped her to resist conformity—in particular, questioning the societal norms insisting that women had no history.


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "We Remember." (Viewed on October 4, 2015) <>.


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