The Encyclopedia features over 1,700 biographies, 300 thematic essays, and 1,400 photographs and illustrations on a wide range of Jewish women through the centuries -- from Gertrude Berg to Gertrude Stein; Hannah Greenebaum Solomon to Hannah Arendt; the Biblical Ruth to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The entrance of women into the field of modern Hebrew poetry was a phenomenon of the early 1920s, a revolution in which Raab played a major role.
Jewish women’s recent entrance to the brotherhood of the rabbinate masks a lengthy history of the question of women’s ordination.
A dancer, choreographer and teacher, Most of Linda Rabin’s teaching efforts have been devoted to Linda Rabin Danse Moderne in Montréal, which evolved into les Ateliers de Danse Moderne de Montreal (LADMMI) of which she was the co-founder and long-time co-director.
Sophie Rabinoff was a pediatrician and professor of medicine whose innovative work helped to establish the fields of public health and preventive medicine in the United States and Palestine. In a career that spanned five decades, she brought basic health care and disease control to the struggling residents of Palestine and to some of the poorest urban populations in America.
Following decades of intensive work in management of Israeli music institutions, Daniella Rabinovich became a leading figure in the field in Tel Aviv in the 1980s and 1990s.
A leading figure in the feminist movement of women scientists in Germany in the first three decades of the twentieth century and an outstanding bacteriologist, Lydia Rabinowitsch-Kempner was a pioneer among women scientists, an exception among the first generation of women scientists in her combination of career and family.
One of the most famous Jews in nineteenth-century France, the actress Rachel was celebrated for her unparalleled talent and is often credited with reviving the classical French tragedies of Racine and Corneille in the era of Romanticism.
Rachel (רחל) is the medieval name given to the wife of Rabbi Akiva in the late Avot de-Rabbi Nathan version A (chapter 6). In none of the older sources is a name attached to this woman, although she was well known.
The younger daughter of Laban and wife of Jacob, Rachel is the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, who become two of the twelve tribes of Israel (Gen 35:24; 46:15–18). Rachel, who died young, becomes an image of tragic womanhood. After the biblical period, “Mother Rachel” continued to be celebrated as a powerful intercessor for the people of Israel.
Rachel is depicted in the Torah as Jacob’s beautiful and beloved wife. The midrash portrays Rachel as a prophetess, and her statements and the names she gave her sons contain allusions to the future. Rachel’s merit continued to aid Israel even many years after her demise.
The career of Frances Raday as a leading human rights and feminist academic and also as an influential human rights advocate and litigator has evolved on no less than three different continents: starting in England, passing through Africa and finally settling in Israel.
Known to television audiences as bumbling Emily Litella, scatterbrained Roseanne Roseannadanna, and nerdy Lisa Loopner, comedian Gilda Radner shot to stardom on NBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL) and represented an important breakthrough in the visibility of Jewish women on television.
A Canaanite woman living in Jericho, Rahab is a prostitute who is also a biblical heroine. Rahab, who begins as triply marginalized—Canaanite, woman, and prostitute—moves to the center as bearer of a divine message and herald of Israel in its new land. She is remembered in Jewish tradition as the great proselyte, as ancestress of kings and prophets, and, in the New Testament, as ancestress of Jesus.
In many midrashim Rahab comes to symbolize the positive influence that Israel exerts on the surrounding Gentile nations, as well as successful conversion. Her ability to mend her ways was exemplary for ensuing generations, who used Rahab’s story to request divine mercy and pardon for their actions.
Rahel Bluwstein is rightfully considered the “founding mother” of modern Hebrew poetry by women. Rahel’s affiliation with the avant-garde group of Second Aliyah pioneers, her dedication to Zionist ideals and her agonizing death, made her a symbol in the eyes of the Israeli public—and her mythic status persists to this day.
Luise Rainer— whose ninety-five years have spanned everything from Jewish refugee to glamorous Hollywood star—is an inspiring reminder that it’s never too late to return for the “second act.”
Referring to herself in her memoirs as a “revolutionary Jewish woman,” Puah Rakovsky included her personal struggle for autonomy together with her Zionist and feminst activism in her self-definition. She dedicated her long life to struggling for the empowerment of Jews, and particularly of Jewish women.
Influenced by Isadora Duncan, Emile Jacques-Dalcroze, and Vaslav Nijinsky, Marie Rambert became known as one of the “Mothers” of English ballet. Her passion for and devotion to dance allowed her to become a talented choreographer and cultivator of talent, and her contributions to the art form earned her many honors.
Bracha Ramot, a specialist in internal medicine and hematology made major contributions to the development of hematology in Israel and to research on the genetic differences of Jewish ethnic communities in Israel.
The life and work of Ayn Rand, the novelist and philosopher who promoted an ethics called “Objectivism,” provide ample evidence for those who believe that human beings are inherently self-contradictory and illogical.
Figuring among a precious few accounts left by a Jewish woman of a stay in the Old Yishuv in nineteenth-century Jerusalem, Flora Randegger's journal is also a record of a woman’s attempt to establish an educational project for Jews and especially for Jewish women in Palestine.
The celebrated painter and sculptor Antoinetta Raphael, whose artistic works vividly portray both the imaginary and the familiar.
Lydia Rapoport was a social worker, professor, caseworker, and advocate of social change.
Rashi (Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac, 1040–1105) is considered the greatest Jewish scholar of medieval times in Ashkenaz (Germany, France and England). It is doubtful whether we can find another Jewish scholar active at the time who was willing to make changes for the benefit of women’s rights even where halakhic and aggadic sources were not kindly disposed towards them. True, he sometimes accepted prejudicial opinions about women in the sources, but his relatively tolerant and considerate attitude towards women is worthy of note.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Encyclopedia." (Viewed on March 22, 2019) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/content/R>.