Writer, translator, and activist Achy Obejas was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1956 and moved to the United States with her parents six years later. She is known for stories with characters and themes related to gender, queer sexuality, Cuban-ness, and Jewishness, as well as migration, displacement, and diaspora.
Meyera Oberndorf blazed trails in Virginia politics as the first woman and first Jewish mayor of Virginia Beach, the largest city in the Commonwealth. From 1988 to 2008, she stood up to a long-ingrained good old boy network and led the city through difficult issues including racial unrest, all while staying closely connected to her citizens as “the people’s mayor.”
Women’s existence in a space between custom and halakhah has allowed them to create unique practices and observances. Women are exempt from some halakhah but also have created informal agreements to adapt certain customs to their needs.
Dalia Ofer is an Israeli historian whose work mainly focuses on women’s experiences in the Holocaust and collective memory of the Holocaust in Israeli society. Ofer has published a multitude of books and articles on these topics during her career, and she has held positions at many prestigious universities around the world including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Harvard, Yale, and Columbia.
Women played a central role in the development and evolution of Old Yiddish literature. Old Yiddish literature was published with women’s literacy in mind, most nominally for women’s religious practice and learning.
Sculptor Chana Orloff was a part of the avant-garde circle of Montparnasse, the international movement of artists in Paris. After immigrating to Paris from Palestine in 1910, Orloff became the unofficial portraitist of the Parisian elite, creating over three hundred portraits. Orloff’s sculpture figures are now in collections throughout Israel, Europe, and the United States.
Israela Oron is a retired Brigadier-General in the Israel Defense Forces who worked to reform the IDF’s Women’s Corps and redefine women’s role in the Israeli military. As OC (Officer Commander) of the IDF’s Women’s Corps, she balanced extending more opportunities for women in positions traditionally held by men with the need to retain an infrastructure that would care for the specific needs of women in the IDF.
The Rabbinic expansion of the story of Oprah paints her in a generally unfavorable light. This dislike is based on Orpah’s comparison to Ruth, in which Orpah is portrayed as the negative version of her sister-in-law. Orpah’s naming reflects the description that she is promiscuous and brazen.
Orthodox views on the roles women may play in their communities’ religious, educational, and social life have reflected the range of attitudes that religious group has harbored toward American society. Generally, those Orthodox Jews who have resisted American culture have not countenanced the active participation of women within the synagogue. For other Orthodox Jews, the opening of synagogue life to greater women’s participation, within what they see as the expansive boundaries of halakhah, is but another dimension of their accommodating approach to their encounter with America.
Rosanna Dyer Osterman’s supplies helped travelers explore the western frontier, but it was her life-saving efforts as a nurse for which she was best remembered.
Alicia Ostriker is a feminist revolutionary, a poet, critic, and creator of contemporary midrash. She is one of an increasing number of women writers who have the courage to approach bibliocal history and legend from an unorthodox, feminist point of view.