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.
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’s story in the Bible shows her strength and independence, as she insists David marry her and rebukes his answer when he refuses. Some midrashim use her story to show David’s tenacity in his old age, but Abishag is not explicitly interpreted as wicked or deceitful.
While the modern abortion debate engages the arguments and perspectives of women, halakhic discussion largely excludes them. In general, poskim (decisors) have determined that a woman’s life takes priority over the life of the fetus, permitting abortion in some cases.
Achsah is the daughter of Caleb. She succeeds in gaining some of her family’s land and water resources, which were normally not available to women in ancient Israel’s patrilineal system. Nevertheless, she remains vulnerable within the patriarchal system.
The daughter of Caleb, Achsah is depicted in rabbinic tradition as both beautiful and practical.
Paula Ackerman took over leadership of her husband’s synagogue after his death in 1950, when the congregation insisted on her appointment. For the next three years, Ackerman was the first woman to serve as religious leader of a mainstream American congregation, helping to pave the way for the ordination of women rabbis twenty years later.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nima Adlerblum was a writer, educator, and early Zionist activist in New York, whose life began and ended in Jerusalem. She wrote widely on philosophy, education, Jewish philosophy, and American history, and also founded Hadassah’s national cultural and educational program in addition to serving as its national and cultural chair from 1922 to 1935.
Agudat Israel, the world movement of Orthodox Jewry, introduced substantial reforms that changed the status of women in Orthodox society. In particular, the Bais Ya’akov model pioneered by Sarah Schenirer focused on women’s education as a way of creating a more robust Orthodox community against the pressures of modernity.
Agunot are women who are unable to obtain a rabbinic divorce because their husbands or husbands’ male next of kin are unable to give one, leaving them chained in marital captivity. Although many efforts have been made to address these problems, for those most part agunot in halakhically observant communities continue to face deep-seated challenges.
Ahinoam is a Hebrew Bible character appearing in the Book of Samuel as King David’s wife and mother of his eldest son, Amnom. Since Ahinoam’s name usually precedes the name of David’s other wife Abigail, it is suggested that the name order signifies Ahinoam’s elevated status as the mother of David’s firstborn son.
Rabbi Akiva was an important interpreter and teacher of Jewish laws of the Tannaitic period (ca. first-third century C.E.). He was particularly groundbreaking in his teachings regarding women’s standing and sexual and marital relations, recognizing women as deserving of human dignity.
A Brazilian-born daughter of immigrants, Frida Alexandr was the only woman writer to describe Jewish cowboys in Brazil from the viewpoint of one who lived among them. Her only published book was the novel Filipson, which chronicled the lives and episodes of the farm where she was born in 1906 and spent two decades of her life.
Forceful, dedicated, and brash, Sadie American shaped the National Council of Jewish Women for more than twenty years before resigning and severing all ties with the organization. As one of the Council’s founders, American organized local sections and represented the group nationally and internationally, generally building up the organization.
Anda Pinkerfeld-Amir was a Zionist poet, and author whose works reflected the tension between Judaism and feminism in the early twentieth century. In her youth, she was a member of Ha-Shomer ha-Za'ir in Poland, and in 1920 she immigrated to Palestine to write Hebrew verse. She is best remembered as a children’s writer who tackled complex topics with humor and compassion.
Anath (Anat), a maiden/warrior goddess, is a prominent figure in the Canaanite mythological texts. Despite her prominence in the Ugaritic texts, she rarely appears in the Hebrew Bible. However, the naming structure used in references to Anath in the Bible indicates that she may have been honored among some Israelites.
Virtually no Anglo-Jewish women were published in the interwar years of the twentieth century; writing by Anglo-Jewish women only flourished after the Second World War. By the end of the twentieth century, as it became no longer necessary for writers to be Jewish at home but English on the street, there was renewed space for the literary evolution and development of Anglo-Jewish women writers’ varied voices.