The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

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

Jane Eisner

b. December 31, 1955

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

Jane Eisner.

Courtesy of Jane Eisner.

Jane Eisner began her career of journalism “firsts” early, as first female editor of Wesleyan University’s college paper. After graduating in 1977, she earned a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of Journalism. For 25 years, she worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer, in posts that included foreign correspondent, editorial page editor, City Hall bureau chief, and syndicated columnist of “American Rhythms.” She has reported for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsday, the Brookings Review, and other major periodicals, and has also taught political science at the University of Pennsylvania, journalism and nonfiction at Wesleyan, and workshops at Bryn Mawr College. Her first book, Taking Back the Vote: Getting American Youth Involved in Our Democracy, was published in 2004. From 2006 to 2008 she served as vice president for national programs and initiatives at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. In 2008 Eisner became editor-in-chief of the Forward, making her the paper’s first female head in its 111-year history; she remained in the position until 2019. During her tenure in the position, Eisner greatly increased the readership, and the paper won a number of journalism awards. From 2017 to 2021 she also served as chair of the Student Press Law Center’s board, which defends the rights of student journalists at high schools and colleges in the United States. As the Columbia Journalism School’s director of academic affairs, she oversaw the Master of Arts program from 2019 to 2023. As of 2023, she works as a writer-at-large for the Forward and provides consultation to Shtetl, a new website providing independent news about New York’s Haredim. She is also working on an interpretive biography of Carole King for Yale University Press’s Jewish Lives series. 

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jane Eisner." (Viewed on November 30, 2023) <>.


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