After leaving Nazi Germany in 1935, Lotte Jacobi became a renowned photographer in New York as she captured intimate portraits of prominent Americans such as Robert Frost, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Paul Robeson. Jacobi was highly interested in politics and an active delegate to the Democratic National Convention. She was known for engaging her subjects in rich conversation as she photographed them.
A pioneer in many realms—birth control, women’s suffrage, peace activism, and envisioning a wider future for women—Aletta Henriette Jacobs was born on February 9, 1854, in the small town of Sappemeer, Netherlands, the eighth of eleven children of Abraham Jacobs, a country doctor, and Anna de Jongh. Her assimilated Jewish family maintained social and intellectual ties with other Jewish families in the area.
Dore Jacobs was the inventor of a little-known method of physical education which became a mode of resistance under Nazism and is still taught in Germany, in the very same place in which it originated eight decades ago.
Francis Wisebart Jacobs helped transform the fledgling state of Colorado through her organization of charities and hospitals.
A member of the original circle of women who established Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization, in 1912, Rose Jacobs epitomized the spirit of American Zionist voluntarism. She gradually rose from a grass-roots organizer to the leadership of the organization, and came to play a central role in Zionist affairs worldwide.
Zipporah Nunes was born a Conversa in Portugal circa 1710. After escaping to London to avoid being re-examined by the Inquisition, her family began practicing Judaism openly; later she became one of the first Jews to settle in the newly formed colony of Georgia in 1733.
As a member of the faculty in the German department at Hunter College, Anna Jacobson fought to preserve the study of German language and literature during the 1930s and 1940s, when many felt that it was inappropriate for American students to study the language of the Nazis. During her tenure as chair of the German department from 1947 to her retirement in 1956, she worked to present the richness of German thought and writing to Hunter students and to the American public.
Irina Jacobson, a Soviet-Russian dancer, teacher and international authority on the staging of the major nineteenth- and twentieth-century Romantic and Classical ballets, is also the former director of Choreographic Miniatures, the St. Petersburg ballet company of her late husband, Leonid Jacobson, the leading iconoclastic Soviet ballet choreographer. A former soloist with the Kirov Ballet, Irina Jacobson was the last protégée of Agrippina Vaganova, the influential teacher at the State Academic Theatre for Opera and Ballet (GATOB, later the Kirov), the woman who systematized the teaching of ballet for the new era of Soviet ballet, and who recognized and inspired Irina Jacobson’s gifts as an exacting and inspired ballet pedagogue.
Combining her Jewish background with her skill and penchant for writing, Janie Jacobson succeeded as a biblical playwright. The children’s plays she authored were performed nationally.
Paula Jacques is the pen name of Paula Abadi (b. Cairo, May 8, 1949). Since 1975 a talk show hostess on the French radio networks France Culture and France Inter, she is also a novelist, many of whose books achieve second editions as paperbacks. Paula Jacques’s work reconstructs the life of the mostly French-speaking Egyptian Jewish community prior to their expulsion at the time of the Suez crisis.
The midrash praises Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, and includes her among the devout women converts, together with Hagar, Asenath, Zipporah, Shiphrah, Puah, the daughter of Pharaoh, Rahab and Ruth (Yalkut Shimoni on Joshua, para. 9, from Midrash Tadshe).
The wife of Heber the Kenite, Jael plays an important role in the story of Israel’s wars with the Canaanites, described in the Book of Judges. In the narrative about the military heroine Deborah, Jael kills Sisera, the Canaanite general of King Jabin, after he escapes from the battle with Deborah’s general, Barak.
Marie Jahoda was a major figure in social psychology, known for her work on the effects of unemployment on emotional well-being, as well as the social impact of McCarthy-era blacklisting. Jahoda received an award for distinguished contributions to the public interest from the American Psychological Association in 1979.
Ira Jan, a painter and writer, was the first Hebrew artist in pre-State Palestine. Born in Kishinev, Jan graduated from the Moscow Art Academy and traveled Europe before immigrating to Palestine in 1908. Known for her love affair with Chaim Nachman Bialik, she immigrated to Jerusalem in 1908, engaging in painting and teaching and publishing her stories in a number of periodicals in Palestine.
Geneviève Janssen-Pevtschin was an accomplished lawyer, magistrate, and human rights activist in Belgium. She was active in resistance movements during World War II and is remembered for her passion, respect for human liberty, and dignity.
Laura Margolis Jarblum was the first female overseas representative of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). After World War II, she became JDC’s first female Country Director.
Author of two critically acclaimed books on immigrant life, Marie Grunfeld Jastrow was educated in a German school, and lived in Serbia before moving to New York with her family at age ten. Her two memoirs, A Time to Remember: Growing Up in New York Before the Great War and Looking Back: The American Dream through Immigrant Eyes, touched audiences deeply.
The Rabbis severely criticize Jephthah’s vow and conduct that resulted in the senseless death of his daughter.
Among the traditions that Jews brought to America, one may include the diligent study of the Torah and honor to those distinguished in its study. Torah study and its public recognition, however, were restricted to men and, obviously, to those among them who had the means and talent to devote themselves to it.
Jewish feminism in Germany today is an expression of a wide-reaching renewal of Judaism occurring in many European countries since the early 1990s. German Jewish feminists built on the historical tradition of the Jewish women’s movement in pre-Holocaust Germany and has since taken many paths.
Challenging all varieties of American Judaism, feminism has been a powerful force for popular Jewish religious revival. Of America’s four Jewish denominations, all but the Orthodox have accepted women as rabbis and cantors.
The Jewish League for Woman Suffrage (JLWS) was the only Jewish women’s organization in England—and the world—devoted exclusively to obtaining both national and Jewish suffrage for women.
Jewish women play prominent roles as founders, directors, curators, artists, and patrons of Jewish museums in the United States. While women have rarely played an exclusive role in the creation of either small community or larger museums, their work as creators and developers of these repositories is critical.
The Jewish Woman, a quarterly magazine published under the auspices of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) between 1921 and 1931, was created to give the world “its first organized record of Jewish womanhood’s aspirations and successes.”