This growing online collection contains reminiscences of a variety of recently deceased American Jewish women who made a difference in their community and beyond.
She liked to tell me that she started out in life as conservative but that she did a full political turn when she traveled to South Africa at l9 and observed first hand the awful effect of apartheid. When she returned to San Francisco, she became active in the Jewish community and with liberal and social justice causes and campaigns.
Having never heard of Sephardic music before her first exposure to it in the late 1970s in a Renaissance music group to which she belonged, she plunged headlong into an enduring passion to bring this music and the richness of its heritage to a greater audience.
Jean Carroll was a stand up comedian in the truest, truest essence ... [She] just stood there in front of a microphone and talked. She was what today we would call a monologist... If she was sitting a table with Don Rickles and Jack Benny, she could hold her own.
She went from a young Argentinian middle- to upper-class kid raised not to question women's roles in the home to leading crusader for women's issues (notably as they applied to the world of science)...
Why judo? She fell in love with judo, not for the self-defense it afforded, but because it calmed her down. She already knew how to defend herself. She decided to channel her immense reserve of energy into this sport that instilled self-control.
… She was an inspiration to many of us as an activist and someone who challenged the powers that be…And I think many of us saw her as a role model: There weren't a lot of women in office – she was there and she had a great fighting spirit.
Back in Cohn's day even her own PhD advisor could not help her find a suitable job, for in the era of pre-"equal opportunity" employment, Cohn had two strikes going against her – being a woman and Jewish – that no amount of talent could seem to overcome.
She encouraged people of all ages, especially young people, to keep a journal and record their stories. She believed that all stories were unique to the individuals writing them and each life story important in its own way.
Ruth Brin was an essential part of the fabric of Minnesota's Jewish community, teaching classes on immigrant literature, American Jewish writers and Judaism at the University of Minnesota and Macalester, shaping the Jewish arts scene with contributions of time, energy and critical funding, writing book reviews . . . up until her death, and raising distinguished and engaged children. . .
...her protagonists come from the variable Jewish life of New York. ... these women are assimilated but concerned with utilizing the morals of the Jewish past and its prophetic ethic—a concern for justice and dignity.
Acclaimed journalist Rebecca Lipkin's colleagues and friends have penned glowing tributes about her storied career, consummate professionalism, and supreme news savvy. But it's obvious that she's equally revered for her warmth, inherent goodness, and sense of fun and adventure.
The First Amendment lost a champion with the April 11 death of the director of ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, who fought censorship for 40 years with courage, intelligence, and wit. A look back at the career of a library legend.
In her a genetic disposition to the appeal of tikkun olam was evident, in the course of a life devoted to deploying the law in behalf of progressive causes of special concern to the Jewish people.
My mother's inspiration and perseverance resulted in the development of a light-weight wheelchair, multi-directional conveyances which can climb stairs, remote control 'space garments' to move limbs, sensory devices to help the blind, amongst many other breakthroughs and my mother united the worlds of science, technology and medicine in the first-ever collaboration!
A prolific writer, Sylvia Rothchild has used both fiction and nonfiction to explore the complex interactions of American and Jewish cultures and identities among the descendants of Jews who arrived in the United States during the great wave of eastern European immigration in the decades surrounding the turn of the twentieth century.
... Mostly I admire her for being a genuinely funny, talented woman, who never gave up on her greatest ambitions. In an industry where youth and beauty are often valued far above maturity and wit, Estelle turned the tables.
All these years later, I realize Lang’s success was not only her performance but how she embodied connections, showing that ties between people – whether tenuous and delicate or firm and furious – are the world’s wellspring of life.
Miriam was a quirky amalgam of old world and new. She resisted cell phones and was certainly no fashion queen, but no new composer was too ‘out there’ for Miriam; no movie too unconventional. Of course, she loved the classics too, but she liked her art to be challenging, to break new ground. In her own life and art, Miriam never stopped breaking new ground.
I didn’t pay much attention to this tiny little old lady. Then came a student show, and she brought in her Bust of Henry Lofton, a twice life-size study of an 11-year-old African American boy. That’s all I had to see to know that I was sharing a studio with an exceptional talent.
... It was your run-of-the-mill start of a new era; an era of Ruth as a lawyer, a teacher, a mentor, an activist. But it also marked a time during which Ruth's desire to have a family became uppermost. To really know Ruth is to know that her mantra is: Family First! That applies to her immediate family and her many extended families.
Dr. Spector always seemed happy and was full of laughter. Despite her tragic past, she knew how to enjoy life and made sure that you enjoyed it along with her. At the same time, she was principled. Deeply religious, her tenets in life were molded by her profound belief in the teachings of the Bible. She was also unbending: a determined lady who would brook no action that violated her principles.
The obituary for Rosetta Reitz in the New York Times portrayed her as a champion of black jazz artists, while the one in the Villager featured the feminist Rosetta who wrote the ground-breaking book on menopause. For me, Rosetta Reitz under her maiden name of Toshka Goldman will always be memorable as the founder of the Four Seasons Bookstore in Greenwich Village.
She was an expert – a hands-on, old-fashioned, tough-conditions field worker – on the musical traditions of Mexico, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico and issued many of her field recordings on vinyl. Until the end of her life she was regularly invited to lecture in Mexico. Late in life, she also began an innovative internet-based study of music used by Neo-Nazis.
Frances Feldman's life and work are a testimony to the highest standards of social work scholarship. They reflect compassion, systematic understanding, and relentless curiosity. A pioneering spirit, personally and intellectually, she changed the world she lived in and left indelible memories with all who knew her.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "We Remember." (Viewed on September 22, 2014) <http://jwa.org/weremember>.