Estelle Sternberger

1886 – 1971

by Jessica Berger

Estelle Sternberger fought for social justice as an activist, a writer, and a radio commentator. Her interpretation of the moral and ethical code of Judaism informed her vision of a world where the masses would hold power and women would work outside of the home. Despite her own bourgeois background, she added her own powerful voice to the early twentieth-century clamors for reform.

Born in 1886 in Cincinnati to Hannah (Greeble) and Abraham Miller, Estelle was educated at the University of Cincinnati and the School of Jewish Philanthropy in Cincinnati. Upon completion of her studies, she joined a number of civic movements and began to lecture and write on left-wing concerns.

In 1923, while executive secretary of the National Council of Jewish Women, she compiled information about the careers of contemporary Jewish American women. She was very active in the Jewish community and held key posts in a number of Jewish women’s organizations.

In the 1930s, Sternberger became the executive director of World Peaceways. Her book The Supreme Cause: A Practical Book About Peace (1936) is an impressive analysis of military and economic issues that have an impact on peace.

In time, Sternberger turned from activism to commentary. She was an outspoken personality on radio, discussing noteworthy political and cultural events. She retired from this second career in 1965.

Estelle Sternberger and her husband, Harry Sternberger, raised a daughter, Minnette, while working and living in New York City. A second marriage to Rabbi J. Max Weiss ended when he died in 1968.

Estelle Sternberger died on December 23, 1971.


BEOAJ; “Estelle Sternberger dies at 85: Radio Commentator on Politics.” NYTimes, December 24, 1971, 28:5; Marcus, Jacob Rader. The American Jewish Woman: A Documentary History (1981); Rogow, Faith. Gone to Another Meeting: The National Council of Jewish Women, 1893–1993 (1993); Sternberger, Estelle. A Practical Book About Peace (1936); UJE; WWWIA 5; WWIAJ (1928, 1938).


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Estelle Sternberger emerged from bourgeois beginnings to become a powerful voice for left-wing social causes, first as a writer and later as a successful radio commentator.

Institution: The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, OH, and Camera Associates

How to cite this page

Berger, Jessica. "Estelle Sternberger." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 27 February 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on September 18, 2019) <>.


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