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.
One of the most important of the pioneers in the revival of early music and period musical instruments in the early years of the twentieth and, sadly, one of those pioneers who is least remembered by posterity, the harpsichordist Edith Weiss-Mann was born in Hamburg, Germany, on May 11, 1885.
Trude Weiss-Rosmarin was one of the foremost Jewish intellectuals of the twentieth century. She was the editor of the Jewish Spectator, author of many books, and a woman of intense passions and commitment to Jewish life, with very strong and often provocative opinions. A dynamic speaker backed by broad-ranging Jewish scholarship and a prodigious memory, she was a popular lecturer at synagogues and Jewish centers across the United States and a foremost critic of American Jewish life and institutions.
In 1878, she received her medical degree and was one of the first women in Europe to practice medicine. Rosa Welt, together with one of her sisters, immigrated to the United States, where she worked for many years as an eye surgeon in New York in the eye hospital and also in the eye clinic at the Women’s Hospital. In addition to her professional work, Welt-Straus was active in the struggle for women’s suffrage in New York and a partner in forming the International Woman Suffrage Alliance founded by Carrie Chapman-Catt.
Trustee and philanthropist Esther Ziskind Weltman was instrumental in giving shape and focus to Jewish philanthropy in the United States in the post–World War II years.
Pauline Wengeroff is the author of an extraordinary two-volume work in German, Memoirs of a Grandmother: Scenes from the Cultural History of the Jews of Russia in the Nineteenth Century (1910).
Operating under at least five different names in the course of her career, Ruth Werner (a pen name) was a singularly accomplished spy, whose espionage activities spanned some fifteen years, from 1931 to 1946.
Shoshana Warner was appointed as the second commanding officer of the Women’s Corps (see “CHEN:” Women’s Corps of the Israel Defense Forces) in 1949. In 1942, after some years of membership in the Haganah, she was among the first sixty-six women who volunteered for the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) of the British Army.
In 1942, following some years of service in the Haganah, she joined the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service). In 1952 she was appointed as officer in charge of the Women’s Corps’s training base and from 1959 to 1964 served as commanding officer of the Women’s Corps with the rank of colonel.
Barbara Mayer Wertheimer’s guiding passion in life was to empower workers, especially union women. She recognized the barriers that union women face from management and from male-dominated union structures. As a result, she built a remarkable environment of support, encouragement, learning, and skill training at Cornell University’s New York State School of Industrial-Labor Relations by establishing the Institute for Women and Work and trade union women’s studies programs.
A brilliant scholar of international relations and member of the research staff of the Foreign Policy Institute, Mildred Wertheimer made significant contributions to political science at a pivotal time in world history.
Bessie Bloom Wessel was unique in her contributions to life in New England, both as an active citizen and as a scholar. A charter member of Temple Beth-el of New London, Connecticut, Wessel served on many important committees and published numerous studies of ethnic issues in the region.
Westheimer forever changed America's ideas of sexual education and literacy by highlighting positive attitudes towards sex through the lens of Orthodox Judaism. After working in a number of positions involving sex education, family planning, and sex therapy, Westheimer found her niche when she did a guest appearance on a local radio show. The audience response was so positive that she was soon hosting her own show.
She is said to have been the second Jewish probation officer in the United States and the first to supervise all the Jewish cases in Philadelphia.
Those who initiated the struggle against white slavery in Europe and America were women. For Jewish women, this was their first attempt to cope publicly with a social issue that had such broad implications. Thanks to them, thousands of young Jewish women were saved from prostitution.
In 1901, Rosalie (Rose) Loew became acting attorney in chief of the New York Legal Aid Society. She was the first woman to hold that post.
Narratives about the ninth-century b.c.e. prophet Elijah are found in 1 Kings 17–19 and 21 and in 2 Kings 1–2. Like his successor, Elisha, he is depicted as having many of the attributes of Israel’s later prophetic figures, One of these characteristics—concern for the oppressed and socially marginalized—is revealed in the story of the widow of Zarephath.
During the nineteenth century approximately two-thirds of all adult Jews in the Holy Land were women. This significant majority—nearly two women for every one male—was due to the overwhelming number of widows in the country. The lives of widows who at some stage immigrated—as children with their families, as married women, or as widows—from North Africa to the Jewish communities of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Palestine, underwent changes, due to both immigration and widowhood.
Writer and translator Bertha Wiernik was born to Hirsch Wolf and Sarah Rachel (Milchiger) Wiernik in Vilna, Lithuania, on March 21, 1884.
Annette Wieviorka, born in Paris on January 10, 1948, is undoubtedly the best-known of French historians of the Holocaust born after World War II.
In the Biblical narrative, the role played by Job’s wife is limited to a short and penetrating conversation with her husband. The apocryphal Divrei Iyov, however, devotes a great deal of attention to this character.
In the well-known biblical story dealing with the problem of undeserved suffering, Job loses his children, his possessions, and his health. Job’s nameless wife turns up after the final blow, after Job has been struck with boils. The attention to Job’s suffering usually ignores the fact that she too, after all, is a victim of these divine tests in addition to being pained by exposure to his afflictions (19:17).
Job 2:9 relates that after all the disasters that befell Job and his family, his wife tells him that he should curse God for all that had happened to them. His wife’s counsel, which perhaps manifested her feelings of pity and compassion, only increases Job’s anguish at this nadir in his life, and makes it difficult for him to withstand this test. The wife is the subject of a moral critique by the midrash for the counsel that she gave her husband.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Encyclopedia." (Viewed on February 17, 2019) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/content/W>.