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Celebrating JWA's Encyclopedia Revision and Expansion

Scholar Harriet Feinberg, who performed editorial work on the first two iterations of the Encyclopedia of Jewish Women, composed a poem years ago about the resource. We are delighted to share it publicly now in celebration of the Encyclopedia's 2021 revision and expansion.

I was brought onto the staff of Jewish Women in America—the 1997 predecessor to the; new Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women—to help find writers. As I learned more about the dazzling array of women who were to be written about, they began popping up in clusters in my mind. At some point they apparently began interacting—and out came this poem. Much gratitude to the Encyclopedia and to JWA for bringing Jewish women’s history to life!

Women’s Encyclopedia

jumping out of oblivion

the women hurl bricks and songs

at page-passers-by

they want to be extricated

their hair is festooned with capital letters and asterisks


they sway

invoking the Princess of the Printing Press

Recaller to Life

they cry

codify us! alphabetize us! restore us reduce retrieve revamp restructure


record us


simple 500 word 250 word accounts

so we can sit in our print-condos layer on layer

hang out knotted-sheet-ropes

to shimmy from window to window

climbing from C to D zipping in for a visit

whispering in our cubicles across the generations

o restore!

o store on CD-ROM!

o acres of communicating 3-D women

their dwellings lightly linked with sky-glue

what subversive tendencies



Topics: Jewish History
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How to cite this page

Feinberg, Harriet. "Celebrating JWA's Encyclopedia Revision and Expansion." 24 June 2021. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on March 22, 2023) <https://jwa.org/blog/celebrating-jwas-encyclopedia-revision-and-expansion>.

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