The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

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

Gladys Rosen

b. August 15, 1924

by Donald Altschiller

Researcher and historian in Judaic studies, Gladys Rosen used her knowledge and experience to broaden the appeal and approach of Jewish history. She helped bring the study of Jewish history into American high schools and has also influenced the field of continuing education in Jewish studies.

Institution: American Jewish Historical Society

In Brief

Gladys Rosen created resources that changed how people approached Jewish history. As program specialist for the American Jewish Committee, she published Guidelines to Jewish History and Social Studies Instructional Materials, which offered summaries of Jewish history and resources for teaching Judaic studies. She went on to coedit a number of books on Jewish culture and history and was an interviewer on the radio program, Jewish Viewpoint.


Researcher and historian in Judaic studies Gladys Rosen wrote the following about her childhood home: “Our house was filled with Hebrew books and dictionaries. We never had a living room, just a dining room with a book-covered table. Until I was 4 or 5, I thought that’s what dining room tables were for—books, not eating.”

Born on August 15, 1924, to Morris Ben-Zion and Mildred (Buckstein) Levine, Gladys grew up in Queens, New York. She graduated from Brooklyn College in 1943 with honors in classics, and two years later received a degree from the Jewish Theological Seminary. In 1944, she married chemist Murray Rosen, and they had two sons, David and Jonathan. In 1948, Gladys Rosen earned a PhD in Semitic languages and literature from Columbia University. After teaching Hebrew and Judaic studies at Brooklyn College, she became an executive associate at the American Jewish History Center of the Jewish Theological Seminary from 1960 to 1970.

Shortly after, Rosen became the program specialist at the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and published a groundbreaking manual, Guidelines to Jewish History and Social Studies Instructional Materials. This publication provided important information for the teaching of Jewish history in American secondary schools. In addition to writing other AJC publications, she helped organize conferences on the Jewish family, Jewish education, and the changing role of the Jewish American woman.

An active advocate of lifelong learning, she served as the assistant director of the Academy for Jewish Studies Without Walls and the successful Jewish Studies Summer Seminar series held at various college campuses. A frequent lecturer, she was also an interviewer for a nationally syndicated radio program, Jewish Viewpoint.

Rosen edited Jewish Life in America: Historical Perspectives (1978) and coedited with Steven Bayme Jewish Family and Jewish Continuity (1994).

Have an update or correction? Let us know


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

How to cite this page

Altschiller, Donald. "Gladys Rosen." Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women. 31 December 1999. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on September 30, 2023) <>.