Sarah Aaronsohn

Sarah Aaronsohn

A leading spy for the Nili ring during World War I, Sarah Aaronsohn fought to free Palestine from Turkish rule and withstood torture for her ideals; she committed suicide after arrest by Turkish authorities and was later described as a Jewish Joan of Arc. The semi-military role Sarah carved for herself, her activity, and her voluntary death made her an icon and a model of a new “Hebrew” femininity.

Lina Abarbanell

Lina Abarbanell

The talented singer Lina Abarbanell had a gift for lighter musicals and operettas with complicated, Viennese flourishes, and several composers wrote parts specifically for her distinct soprano. Following her successful international performance career, Abarbanell became a well-known casting director, Broadway producer, and occasional director. 

Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, 1983

Rosalie Silberman Abella

Rosalie Silberman Abella became Canada’s first Jewish woman judge and youngest ever judge in 1975 at the age of twenty-nine. She headed a ground-breaking 1984 commission which pioneered the theories of equality and discrimination. In 2004 she became the first Jewish woman to sit on the Supreme Court of Canada.

Painting of scene from the First Book of Samuel by Frans Pourbus the Elder

Abigail: Bible

Abigail, the intelligent and beautiful wife of the wealthy but boorish Nabal, intervenes to prevent David from committing a bloodbath and eventually becomes one of David’s wives (1 Samuel 25). She prophesies that David will establish a dynasty, but neither she nor her son play a role in future struggles over rule or succession.

Abigail: Midrash and Aggadah

The Rabbis depict Abigail as a wise and practical woman, capable of acting at the right moment and in the right way. She saves David from committing unnecessary bloodshed, while at the same time assuring her future.

Abishag: Bible

Abishag is an unspeaking Bible character involved in the story of the power struggle between King David’s sons. She is used as a tool to move along the plot concerning Solomon and Adonijah; her story conveys the importance of male honor, as Solomon asserts his right to determine the sexual fates of the female members of his household.

Abishag: Midrash and Aggadah

Abishag is described in Rabbinic literature as a woman possessing self-respect and a mind of her own, who is not deterred from confronting King David himself.


The chief biblical source referring to abortion is Exodus 21:22–25 concerning the man who inadvertently strikes a pregnant woman, causing her to lose the pregnancy.

Dina Abramowicz

After surviving the Holocaust, first in the Vilna Ghetto and then with the partisans, Dina Abramowicz became the formidable head librarian of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. During her tenure, she vastly expanded the library’s collections and was regularly sought out by scholars for her prodigious memory regarding Yiddish literature, children’s literature, the Holocaust, and modern Eastern European Jewish history and culture.

Benvenida Abravanel

Benvenida Abravanel was one of the most influential and wealthiest Jewish women of early modern Italy.

Feminist Seder, 1991

Bella Abzug

Born in the Bronx on July 24, 1920, Bella (Savitzky) Abzug predated women’s right to vote by one month. A tireless and indomitable fighter for justice and peace, equal rights, human dignity, environmental integrity and sustainable development, Bella Abzug advanced human goals and political alliances worldwide.

Academia in Israel

Women faculty members in the higher education system in Israel share with their sisters in other Western developed countries characteristics regarding proportions, promotions, and positions. They constitute a small minority of the total tenure-track faculty, with somewhat larger minorities in the humanities and social sciences, and very small minorities in the physical sciences and engineering.

Achsah's likeness

Achsah: Bible

Achsah is the daughter of Caleb, according to the genealogy of the tribe of Judah. She is given to Othniel, son of Kenaz, brother of Caleb, in exchange for his taking of Kiriath-sepher (identified as Debir in Judges).

Achsah's likeness

Achsah: Midrash and Aggadah

The daughter of Caleb, Achsah is depicted in rabbinic tradition as both beautiful and practical.

Paula Ackerman

Paula Ackerman

At the turn of the twentieth century, a young girl from Pensacola, Florida, named Paula Herskovitz dreamed of one day becoming a medical doctor. Believing that the medical profession was unsuitable for women, her father insisted that she abandon her dream. Yet decades later, she embarked upon a career he no doubt would have found equally unsuitable: she became a spiritual leader.

Adah 1: Bible

The Hebrew Bible character Adah appears in Genesis and is one of the two wives of Lamech. Her sons are in the seventh generation of naturally born human beings, and they are the founders of the civilized arts.

An engraving print of the Biblical ancestor Lamech and his two wives, Zillah and Adah.

Adah 1: Midrash and Aggadah

Adah was one of Lamech’s wives whose legacy was observable not only in her own children but also in her influence on her fellow Israelites.

Adah 2: Bible

The Hebrew Bible character Adah appears in Genesis 36 and is the daughter of Elon the Hittite and the wife of Esau. Her character demonstrates the importance of women and marriage in understanding kinship groups in the Book of Genesis.

Orit Adato

Adato enlisted in the IDF in 1973 and in due course served successively as commander of the two central Women’s Corps training bases (1994–1997), commander of the Women Teacher-Soldiers unit, and commander of the women in Nahal, where she directed the assistance given to immigrants from Ethiopia and the USSR. In 1997, she was promoted to the position of head of the Women’s Corps as a brigadier general at a time when the corps was in the process of being radically reorganized.

Angelica Adelstein-Rozeanu

Angelica Adelstein-Rozeanu

Born to a wealthy family in Bucharest in 1921, Angelica Adelstein-Rozeanu was one of the greatest female table tennis players in history. Between 1950 and 1955, she won seventeen world championship titles.

Barbara Ochs Adler

A proud United States citizen and active civic leader, Barbara Ochs Adler was a committed advocate for social welfare. Her life’s work, which combined important contributions to both Jewish and American social service organizations, paints a portrait of a woman who strongly identified herself as both Jewish and American.

Celia Adler

Celia Adler

Celia Adler’s popularity as a Yiddish actor made her a force in the Yiddish art theater movement, where she was loved for her ability to combine pathos and charm. In 1918, she joined Maurice Schwartz’s Yiddish Art Theater, and in 1919 she founded the Jewish Art Theater with several other actors. Her successful performance career lasted until her last film, Naked City, in 1948. 

Helen Goldmark Adler

Helen Goldmark Adler is remembered for her philanthropic achievements and her marriage to Felix Adler, philosopher and founder of the Ethical Culture Movement. In turn-of-the-century New York, Adler penned articles, established a free kindergarten for children with working-class parents, and founded an organization focused on the science of child-rearing.

Polly Adler

Polly Adler

Notorious for her connections with gangsters at the height of Prohibition, Polly Adler fought to become “the best goddam madam in all America.” Though frequently arrested, Adler was undeterred from opening fancy brothels and rubbing elbows with the rich and famous in and around New York City.

Rachel Adler

Rachel Adler

Rachel Adler is unquestionably among the leading constructive Jewish theologians, translators, and liturgists of the modern era. One of the first theologians and ethicists to integrate feminist perspectives and concerns into the interpretation of Jewish texts and the renewal of Jewish law and ethics, Adler is the award-winning author of Engendering Judaism.


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