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.
Interestingly, although Aline Saarinen served as the chief of the National Broadcasting Company’s Paris news bureau, the first woman to hold a position of this type, she did not intend to pursue a career in television. She was first and foremost an art critic.
Uniquely in the history of rabbinic Judaism, which exempted women from much of its formal cult, and which generally barred them from all positions of public office and authority, Sabbateanism displayed a particular interest in women and was especially attractive to them from the outset.
In 1966, Nelly Sachs was recognized as the only German-speaking woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, an honor she shared with the Galician-born Israeli novelist Shmuel Yosef Agnon (1888–1970).
The contemporary pursuit of Jewish genealogy as a popular, worldwide movement began in the 1970s. Sometimes called the “godmother” of Jewish genealogy, Sallyann Amdur Sack has played a major role in its development as a pioneer, leader, and creative force.
Nina Salaman was a well-regarded Hebraist, known especially for her translations of medieval Hebrew poetry, at a time when Jewish scholarship in Europe was a male preserve. In addition to her translations, she published historical and critical essays, book reviews, and an anthology of Jewish readings for children, as well as poetry of her own.
Rachel Salamander is a well-known personality in Munich, where she established a prominent bookshop, the Literaturhandlung, in 1982. This bookshop specializes in Jewish literature and has one of the largest collections of books in Germany about Judaism.
Using the lessons she learned as a doctor in South Africa, Eva Salber worked with poor populations in Massachusetts and North Carolina to improve public health and empower community leaders. Salber also published three books that sharing her intimate knowledge of the various communities she helped.
Salome, King Herod’s sister, took an active role in many events associated with her brother’s reign. Almost all our information about her derives from the writings of Josephus. For this period Josephus relied heavily on the works of Herod’s court historian Nicolaus of Damascus, and our picture of Salome is marred by the latter’s personal feud with her.
Alice Salomon, educator, feminist, economist and international activist, was one of the founding mothers of professional social work and particularly social work education. She directed the first full-time course of social work in her native city, Berlin, initiated and chaired the national conference of schools of social work in Germany, and altogether was among those who developed one of the earliest continuing education programs.
Charlotte Salomon was living as a refugee from Nazism in Villefranche on the French Riviera when she made a startling discovery: that eight members of her family, one by one, over the years, had committed suicide. With this traumatic revelation in mind, she arrived at what she called “The question: whether to take her own life or to undertake something eccentric and mad.” Something “eccentric and mad” turned out to be an artwork in over seven hundred scenes, painted during one year (1941–1942), enriched by dialogues, soliloquies and musical references, arranged into acts and scenes, and titled “Life? Or Theater? An Operetta.”
The particular nature of Salonika Jewish society, exposed as it was to the progressive ideas of female education held by its Greek neighbors, was closely linked to local conditions. If there was still a place where it is certain that Jews did not suffer for their Jewish identity, it was undoubtedly Salonika. On the other hand the ease with which Salonikan Jewish society accepted and encouraged a new model of womanhood can only be explained by its compatibility with the local, traditional model.
“The first lady of the piano in Israel” and “She is considered the first Israel-born pianist to achieve international fame”—these and similar phrases color many writings about Pnina Salzman, who received the Israel Prize in 2006 for her contribution to the country’s musical life.
The status of Samaritan women today seems to be dominated by four factors: the dearth of women in the community, the desire of the community to avoid diluting its traditions, genetic problems deriving from inbreeding, and the rules pertaining to ritual purity.
Jessie Sampter was an active writer, a skillful Zionist propagandist, and a seminal Zionist educator. Sampter’s principal legacy is personal rather than literary: her exemplary courage in overcoming illness and standing by her convictions, her attempts to advance the regeneration of Judaism on its native soil and to further economic and social justice, and her vision of a mixed population of Jews and Arabs, living side by side in peace and harmony.
Else Samulon, a feminist active in the German women’s movement, was born on September 20, 1898, in Graudenz, Germany (now Grudziadz, Poland), which is located on the banks of the Vistula, some fifty miles south of Gdansk (Danzig).
Tova Sanhadray, chairwoman of the Emunah organization and the first woman member of the Knesset to represent the National Religious Party, is regarded as a pathbreaker, since she began her public activity in Israel at a time when the participation of religious women in public life was not yet considered acceptable.
Sarah is the wife of Abraham, the mother of Isaac, and thus the ancestress of all Israel. The Bible explains that Sarai was her earlier name and that she was renamed at the annunciation of the birth of Isaac (Gen 17:15).
Sarah, the first of the four Matriarchs, has come to symbolize motherhood for the entire world, and not only for the people of Israel. The midrash presents her as a prophet and a righteous woman whose actions are worthy of emulation; she converted Gentiles and drew them into the bosom of Judaism.
After receiving advanced degrees in French literature in France (Agrégée de l’Université), Michèle Sarde went to the USA in 1968 where she spent most of her teaching career (1970–2001) at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Her publications are in three genres: biographies, novels and essays.
Margherita Sarfatti was born in Venice on April 8, 1880, into the wealthy and cultured Jewish Grassini family. Sarfatti was educated by private tutors, among them Antonio Fradeletto (1858–1930), the founding director of the Venice Biennale. During her childhood, she began to be interested in art and poetry, influenced by Fradeletto, who introduced her to the theories of John Ruskin.
Bouena (Tova) Sarfatty Garfinkle is remembered as a master of needlepoint and a feisty survivor-partisan-heroine of the decimated but once vibrant Salonikan Jewry.
A Russian Jew by birth, French by education and European by culture, Nathalie Sarraute was always intensely aware of and resistant to the reductive powers of categorizing language: she refused to be described as a “woman writer,” and would equally refuse the label “Jewish writer.” Growing up in Paris in the highly cultured milieu of her free-thinking father, Sarraute never felt any sense of difference in status between men and women, and Jewishness was never an issue.
In approximately 1918 Angiola Sartorio had an opportunity to see a performance by the father of European modern dance, the Hungarian Rudolf von Laban (1879–1958). This proved a striking and fateful experience for her. She was later able to attend the classes of Laban teacher Sylvia Bodmer (1902–1989) and received her diploma from Laban himself.
Born in Bombay into the legendary Sassoon dynasty, Flora (Farha) Sassoon lived a colorful life in India and then in England as a businesswoman, philanthropist, famed hostess and Jewish scholar.
Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman was born in Vienna on August 7, 1920 and settled in the Bronx, N.Y. A Yiddish poet, songwriter, educator, writer of children’s literature, graphic artist, folklorist, song stylist, Yiddish territorialist and community activist, Schaechter-Gottesman was inducted in to the Museum of the City of New York’s “City Lore Hall of Fame” in 1999, an award that honors “grass roots contributions to New York’s cultural life.”
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Encyclopedia." (Viewed on January 20, 2019) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/content/S>.