The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

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

Carole B. Balin

Rabbi Carole B. Balin, Ph.D., brings the Jewish past to life by blending storytelling with history. She is the first woman to earn tenure at the New York campus of Hebrew Union College. Chair of the Jewish Women’s Archive board, Carole speaks and publishes widely on gender and the Jewish experience. She is currently writing a narrative non-fiction book about shifting Jewish identities as told through the stories of bat mitzvah girls since the first in the U.S. in 1922.

Articles by this author

Selma Stern-Taeubler

Originally a historian and researcher in Heidelberg and Berlin, Selma Stern-Taeubler settled at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinatti after fleeing Nazi Germany. She became the first archivist of the American Jewish Archives at the college and later wrote books of fiction and nonfiction. Despite her contributions to Jewish history, American-Jewish academe has largely undervalued Stern-Taeubler’s work, which continued until her death in 1981.

Havvah Shapiro

“Our literature lacks the participation of the second half of humanity.” Thus proclaimed the Hebrew writer Hava (Eva) Shapiro (1878-1943) in her 1909 feminist manifesto, the first ever in the Hebrew language. She was the most prolific female Hebraist of her era to remain in the Diaspora and the first woman ever to have kept a diary in Hebrew.

Miriam Markel-Mosessohn

Miriam Markel-Mosessohn was a Hebrew writer. She was most admired by Judah Leib Gordon, the foremost poet of the Haskalah, with whom she maintained a regular correspondence. Through her translations, her brief journalistic career, and her influence on Gordon, Markel-Mosessohn played a key role in the Hebrew literary revival.

Feiga Izrailevna Kogan

Poet Feiga Izrailevna Kogan was born into the Moscow Jewish community in 1891. Throughout her life she composed books of and about Russian poetry while harboring a love of Hebrew. Some of her works include: Moia dusha (My Soul) and Plamennik (The Torch).

Rashel Mironovna Khin

Rashel Mironovna Khin hosted salons that made her the toast of Imperial Russia, and, with the help of the novelist Ivan Turgenev, became the first Jewish woman to publish major literary works in the Russian language. As an affluent member of the Jewish merchant class, she received a first-class European education and portrayed the anxieties of the Russian-Jewish elite in her fiction.

Sarah Feiga Meinkin Foner

Born into a family that encouraged her love of Jewish learning, Sarah Foner asked to learn Hebrew when she was only five years old and published her first novel in her twenties. During her lengthy writing career, Foner’s publications often reflected her interest in Jewish and women’s issues and centered notably independent female characters.

Sophia Dubnow-Erlich

After finishing her education, Sophia Dubnow-Erlich became an active member of both the Social Democratic Labor Party and the Jewish Labor Party and wrote for Bund journals before fleeing Vilna for Warsaw in 1918. After emigrating to America in 1942, she remained politically active and continued her prolific writing career.

Bat Mitzvah: American Jewish Women

When Judith Kaplan Eisenstein became the first American girl to mark her bat mitzvah on March 18, 1922—two years after women were guaranteed the right to vote in the US—she recalled “shock[ing] a lot of people,” especially her disapproving grandmothers. Today, American girls across the Jewish spectrum, from secular to ultra-Orthodox, mark their coming-of-age in various forms.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Carole B. Balin." (Viewed on September 27, 2022) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/author/balin-carole>.

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