Our stories give us hope in challenging times. Support JWA by Dec. 31.
Close [x]

Show [+]

The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Dora Ehrlich


by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Dora Ehrlich until we are able to commission a full entry.

Photo of Dora Ehrlich, courtesy of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan.

Hailed by Jewish News as “The First Lady of Detroit Jewish Womanhood,” Dora Buchhalter Ehrlich took on community leadership positions usually reserved for men. Ehrlich graduated from the University of Michigan in 1902 and taught high school in Detroit for seven years before marrying in 1910. She served as regional director of Hadassah for two years, organizing chapters throughout Michigan, and as regional president before serving on Hadassah’s national board. She also served on the boards of her YWHA, the Sisterhood of Shaarey Zedek Synagogue, the Detroit Hebrew Orphan Asylum, the Women’s League of Hebrew Schools, and the Auxiliary of Old Folks Homes, among others. But it was as the first woman to serve as president of the Jewish Welfare Federation’s Detroit chapter that she made news in 1934. After her term ended in 1937, she was made an honorary lifetime member. She went on to organize the Sinai Guild of Sinai Hospital in 1952, the first year she was nominated for the Butzel Award for service to the Detroit Jewish community. She finally won the award in 1955, and was the first woman to be so honored.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Dora Ehrlich." (Viewed on December 9, 2023) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/ehrlich-dora>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

Read the latest from JWA from your inbox.

sign up now