This growing online collection contains reminiscences of a variety of recently deceased American Jewish women who made a difference in their community and beyond.
Ninety-five years was not long enough for us to enjoy [her] passion, wit, commitment to justice, and love of life.
A world without a Carla in it just doesn’t seem possible (and certainly less interesting). But I know she will always be with us. Once you know her, you can’t forget her.
Gail Dolgin balanced her activism in the cause of social justice with an equally fervent commitment to the life of the spirit and was active in a close and cohesive spiritual community.
It wasn't so much what the lady did – although she did much in her 96 years. It is what she meant to Wilmington [NC].
Mother was a working girl when most women found their identity in motherhood and the home, but she was much more than that. She was a free spirit, supreme motivator for women who wanted to start their own businesses, and a generous friend to those causes she believed in and the people she cared about.
Her life was filled with the love of giving and of fighting for truth, justice, and the Jewish people.
She belonged to a generation of Yiddish cultural figures who have no concept of the notion of retirement. Mina worked until the end - for herself, for her audiences, for her art, for the world of Yiddish.
Vivian had presence. And she had style, coming to work every weekday afternoon and Shabbat morning dressed to the nines and fully coiffed. She was from the generation of religious school teachers who not only championed the teaching of the Hebrew language to American Jewish students (and successfully taught it to them), but also viewed themselves as true professionals.
Many of the stories of her young life in France give a glimpse into the shaping forces of her strong character, enormous empathy and compassion for others. This shaped her life as a giver.
Rhonda Copelon often worked behind the scenes, but her finger prints, or perhaps I should say brain waves, are all over many of the most important breakthroughs in progressive feminist advances both in the United States and globally.
Her writing apprenticeship began when she was 27 years old and the mother of three small children. She and [her husband] Harry made a pact to squeeze at least an hour out of every day to write. Frequently, this was at four o’clock in the morning
Her capacity to empower people while leading with a firm hand and a kind heart was so inspiring. Many of us have been moved to action, to effect change, because of her example.
Through word and example, Adrienne taught countless women how to survive and thrive in male-dominated university settings. She firmly believed in the possibility of changing the world—or at least a piece of it.
Mother’s public debut was not exactly spontaneous — in 1982 my brother Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank faced a tough re-election campaign. We were all engaged, but probably the most effective family effort was a campaign commercial featuring Mother, in her rocking chair, explaining that she trusted Barney to protect Social Security.
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.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "We Remember." (Viewed on November 26, 2015) <http://jwa.org/weremember>.