Justice Rosalie Abella's life has been a series of “firsts”: She was Canada's first Jewish woman judge and the country’s youngest ever. She was the first woman chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board and the first woman in the British Commonwealth to become the head of a Law Reform Commission. In August 2004, she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada, becoming the first Jewish woman to sit on the Canadian Supreme Court bench.
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.
“M.A.” and “The Mighty Atom,” as Mildred Albert was called, charmed the fashion world as an international fashion consultant, lecturer, columnist, and radio and television personality.
Passionate, principled, provocative, and above all path breaking, Shulamit Aloni has left a greater imprint on Israeli political life and public discourse than any woman to come of age after Israel’s independence.
Tikvah Alper was an outstanding radiobiologist who had to overcome many obstacles in her personal and professional life.
Published between 1895 and 1899, The American Jewess was the first independent English-language magazine published by and for Jewish women in the United States. Founded by Rosa Sonneschein and closely tied with the National Council of Jewish Women, the magazine discussed issues of fundamental importance to middle-class Jewish women.
Noted both in Israel and abroad, Ziva Amishai-Maisels is a researcher of modern art, both Jewish and non-Jewish.
The first Jewish anarchist organization was formally set up as a result of the Haymarket bombing in 1886 and the subsequent trial of the accused anarchists. The inception and growth of the Jewish anarchist movement in the United States were inseparable from the mass immigration of Jews from Eastern Europe starting in 1881.
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.
One of Israel’s foremost scientists and immunologists, Professor Ruth Arnon is the incumbent of the Paul Ehrlich Chair in Immunology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot.
Margaret Gene Arnstein was a principal architect of the American nursing profession. Renowned for her work in public health, Arnstein also advanced nursing education and research.
Dora Askowith, author, historian, and college educator, believed that a knowledge of Jewish women’s history would serve as a catalyst for organization, activism, and moral leadership. She taught women at Hunter College for a total of forty-five years and wrote that she was anxious to teach college students Jewish history because they were “poorly versed in the history of their own faith.”
Rokhl Auerbach (1903–1976), a member of the Polish-Jewish literary elite, ran a soup kitchen in the Warsaw Ghetto while simultaneously in her writing recording the voices of its captive inhabitants. She ultimately survived the war by passing herself off as an "Aryan," and went on to found the Department for the Collection of Witness Testimony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
Since the beginning of British colonialization of New South Wales in 1788, when between eight and fifteen Jews were among the convicts who arrived with the First Fleet, several waves of immigration have brought the Jewish population up to its present size.
Sophie Cahn Axman was an articulate and opinionated Progressive reformer, a member of the Jewish elite with an uncompromising drive to improve her people.
A feminist philosopher and writer, Elisabeth Badinter has been among the foremost and most controversial French intellectuals of her generation.
A religious German-Jewish writer, intellectual, and ardent Zionist, Bertha Badt-Strauss was one of the first women to earn a doctoral degree in Prussia. She was a prolific writer, publishing hundreds of articles over the course of her lifetime, and was very involved in the “Jewish Renaissance” cultural movement. She was dedicated in particular to illuminating the diverse experiences of Jewish women past and present.
Born in Romania to Hungarian parents, Zsófia Balla has lived in Hungary since 1993. While in the land of her birth her work was often subject to censorship, she is considered one of her adopted nation's greatest women poets.
Hannah Trager, writer and communal activist, was born in London to Zerah (1843–1935) and Rachel Lea Barnett (1842–1924).
Devorah Baron, who is considered to be the first female to write in Modern Hebrew, was born on December 4, 1887, in the small town of Uzda (50 km SSW of Minsk), where her father served as a rabbi. While a number of women had overcome the odds and written in Hebrew before her, Devorah Baron was the first woman to make a career for herself as a Hebrew writer.
Rachel Sassoon Beer was the first woman to edit a national newspaper when she simultaneously owned and edited both The Observer and The Sunday Times in England in the 1890s.
For more than fifty years Hemdah Ben-Yehuda, a journalist and author, was involved with and supervised the publication of her husband Eliezer Ben-Yehuda’s great work, an historical dictionary of Hebrew (The Complete Dictionary of Ancient and Modern Hebrew, vol. 1: 1908; vol. 17: 1958).
In presenting her plurality as an Ashkenazi Jew, a Mexican, a woman and a playwright, Sabina Berman (b.1954 Mexico) accomplishes far more than simply allowing her readers to identify with her hybridity and search for self. She creates a space where fragmented memories are fleshed out by the imagination and the desire to recreate the past in order to make sense of the present.
Anne Bernays’s work as novelist and nonfiction writer is notable for its literary quality and as a running commentary on manners and customs.