Helen Adler helped her husband establish the first model tenements at Cherry Street as well as the first free kindergarten in America, called the Working Man’s School, and later the Ethical Culture School at Fieldston. She took an active part in the visiting nurses’ service for the poor at the DeMilt Dispensary, the oldest clinic in the city, which Felix had initiated in 1877. With the assistance of a Dr. Koplik, she helped cut the infant death rate by having milk bottled safely at the Laboratory Department for Modified Milk for Tenement Babies, which Koplik and Adler founded in 1891.
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.
Ruth Nanda Anshen, philosopher, lecturer, and author, was an “intellectual instigator” for such writers of genius and eminent thinkers as physicist Albert Einstein, theologian Paul Tillich, philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, scientist Jonas Salk, and anthropologist Margaret Mead.
Brilliant and controversial, Hannah Arendt was a German-trained political theorist whose books exerted a major impact on political theory in North America and Europe. The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) made her an intellectual celebrity in the early years of the Cold War. She was the first woman to become a full professor at Princeton University.
Elisabeth Badinter is one of France’s most prominent and controversial philosophers. Among her most important contributions figure her numerous writings about feminism and gender relations, which emphasize the importance of “equality through resemblance,” as well as her historical works on the Enlightenment.
May Brodbeck, whose career in the sciences ran the gamut from teaching high school chemistry to exploring fundamental philosophical questions about the nature of human consciousness, was among the foremost American-born philosophers of science.
Fighting the constraints of her Orthodox upbringing and expectations of her role as a wife and mother, novelist Carry van Bruggen wrote movingly of both the need for freedom and the isolation it could bring.
A biographical entry on the Jewish-Algerian-French writer Hélène Cixous commands close attention to her work because, in her case, “life writing,” as she calls it, is a key topic for her imaginative and critical enterprise in the fields of poetic fiction, literary theory, feminist analysis, and the theater.
Born in Hamburg on September 21, 1896, Käte Hamburger grew up in a middle-class home which enabled her, even as an adult, to obtain a relatively orderly academic education, even throughout World War I. She studied philosophy and graduated in Munich in 1922. The topics with which she dealt throughout her “writing life” became truly her own. Thus reading Jean Paul’s Titan during an illness shortly after her graduation resulted in her essay “The Problem of Death in Jean Paul.” Here we already see an inclination towards literature, even though her approach always remained philosophical.
For the men of intellect who burst upon Ashkenazic Jewish society in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, starting a cultural revolution of Jewish Enlightenment; European movement during the 1770sHaskalah (enlightenment), the question of women’s status was the touchstone for the validity and consolidation of their innovative worldview. One of the outstanding proponents of the Haskalah was Judah Leib Gordon (1831–1892), who expressed the ambiguity of female/sing.: Member of the Haskalah movement.maskilim toward the “woman question.” Beginning in the 1870s, women Hebrew readers in the Jewish Pale of Settlement in Russia and women students in various cities in Europe considered him one of the few people who showed special sensitivity and empathy with regard to the difficult lives of Jewish women.
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.
Margarete Kahn was a student of the great mathematician David Hilbert (1862–1943), who decisively influenced the development of mathematics around the turn of the century. Of his sixty-nine doctoral students, six were women—four foreigners and two German-born Jewish women. Both the latter wrote their doctoral theses on topology and worked on Problem sixteen of the famous Twenty-three Mathematical Problems presented by Hilbert in a lecture he delivered in 1900 at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris.
Sarah Kofman was a French Jewish philosopher and professor who published many books on Freud, Nietzsche, Rousseau, and more.
In 1951, the New York–based Society of Jewish Science published a small pamphlet entitled “What to Tell your Friends About Jewish Science.” Written by the society’s leader, Tehilla Lichtenstein, the pamphlet sought to clarify the differences between the religions of Jewish Science and Christian Science. Portraying Christian Science as the outgrowth of a Christian philosophy of denial, Lichtenstein defined Jewish Science as the positive application of Jewish teachings to everyday life. She elaborated on this idea in over five hundred sermons delivered between 1938 and 1972, becoming the first Jewish American woman to serve as the spiritual leader of an ongoing Jewish congregation. While the society, which continues to exist, never sought formal affiliation with any of American Judaism’s major religious movements, it retains strong historical and theological ties to classical Reform Judaism.
A logician and philosopher who made pioneering contributions to modal logic and metaphysics, Ruth Barcan Marcus has for almost fifty years been a key figure in philosophical debates. Early in her career, she proposed the widely discussed Barcan formula, a postulate in quantified modal logic. Her later work includes influential papers in the philosophy of logic and language, epistemology, and ethics. A widely lauded collection of her essays, Modalities, was published in 1993.
The life and work of Ayn Rand, the novelist and philosopher who promoted an ethics called “Objectivism,” provide ample evidence for those who believe that human beings are inherently self-contradictory and illogical.
Uniquely in the history of rabbinic Judaism, which exempted women from much of its formal cult, and which generally barred them from all positions of public office and authority, Sabbateanism displayed a particular interest in women and was especially attractive to them from the outset.
In her essays, or "case-studies," examining art and the "modern sensibility," Susan Sontag covered topics from photography to illness to fascism. One of the most widely read cultural critics of her generation, she was a lightning rod for both praise and vilification.
In her thirty-five-year career as a philosopher, Judith Jarvis Thomson has published important papers in ethics, metaphysics, and the philosophy of law, including the widely anthologized essays “A Defense of Abortion” (1971) and “The Trolley Problem” (1985), both of which apply the techniques of analytic philosophy to questions of morality.