The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

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

Bertha Szold Levin

December 21, 1874–January 2, 1958

by Eric L. Goldstein

Sophie Szold with daughters Henrietta, Rachel, Adele, and Bertha, 1899.
Courtesy of Jewish Museum of Maryland
In Brief

Bertha Szold Levin served for sixteen years as the first woman member of the Baltimore City School Board and pushed for the inclusion of working women in Hadassah. When her husband Louis began editing the Baltimore Jewish Comment, Bertha assisted him by writing and translating articles. From 1924 to 1940 she served on the Baltimore City School Board, the first woman to do so. Levin was also active in Hadassah, the Zionist organization founded by her sister Henrietta Szold, and was later named vice president of Hadassah.

Article

Bertha Szold Levin, a civic leader and Jewish communal activist, was born on December 21, 1874, in Baltimore, Maryland, the youngest daughter of Rabbi Benjamin and Sophie (Schaar) Szold. Along with her sisters, Rachel, Sadie, Adele, and Henrietta Szold, she grew up in a household infused with a love for both German culture and Jewish learning. Three other sisters died as children. Educated in Baltimore’s public schools, she received a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College in 1894 and returned home to work as a teacher. In 1901, she married Louis H. Levin, an attorney who later founded the Associated Jewish Charities in Baltimore. The couple had five children. Levin assisted her husband as a writer and translator for the Baltimore Jewish Comment, which he edited. In 1924, she became the first woman appointed to the Baltimore City School Board, a post that she held until 1940.

An ardent Zionist, Levin was active in Hadassah, the national organization founded by her sister Henrietta Szold in 1912. In 1933 and 1939, Levin traveled to Palestine to assist her sister in refugee work; she was later named an honorary vice president of Hadassah. Bertha Szold Levin died in Baltimore on January 2, 1958.

Bibliography

Levin, Alexandra Lee. Dare to Be Different (1972).

Levin, Bertha Szold. Papers. Jewish Historical Society of Maryland, Baltimore.

WWIAJ (1938).

Obituary. Baltimore Sun, January 3, 1958.

Have an update or correction? Let us know

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

How to cite this page

Goldstein, Eric L.. "Bertha Szold Levin." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 31 December 1999. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on September 25, 2021) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/levin-bertha-szold>.