The Encyclopedia features over 1,700 biographies, 300 thematic essays, and 1,400 photographs and illustrations on a wide range of Jewish women through the centuries -- from Gertrude Berg to Gertrude Stein; Hannah Greenebaum Solomon to Hannah Arendt; the Biblical Ruth to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
An energetic champion of contemporary music, Marion Eugénie Bauer’s work as a writer, teacher, and music advocate augments—perhaps even overshadows—her importance as a composer. Like many women composers of her generation, she focused her initial compositional activity on songs and piano solos.
On May 18, 1942, two anti-Nazi Communist groups set fire to the anti-Soviet exhibit, Das Sowjetparadies (The Soviet Paradise), which was held in the Lustgarten in Berlin. The larger, leading group of the two, almost entirely Jewish in its composition and led by Herbert Baum, was known as the Baum Gruppe.
Baum frequently depicted powerful, self-reliant women caught up in the social and economic turbulence of twentieth-century Europe and America.
Dutch-born Sarah Bavly was a pioneer nutritionist in the Yishuv who laid the groundwork for Israel's nutritional infrastructure and educational programming, directing Hadassah's hospital nutrition departments and school lunch programs, and establishing the State's first College of Nutrition.
Nora Bayes was an international singing star in vaudeville and musical comedy during the first twenty-five years of the twentieth century. Known as a willful and temperamental star, Bayes relied on her own charisma and popularity as she resisted managerial control and ignored the details of legal contracts.
Evelyn Torton Beck is Professor Emerita of women’s studies as well as an affiliate faculty member in the Jewish studies and comparative literature programs at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). She is a scholar, a teacher, a feminist, and an outspoken Jew and lesbian on campus. With her energy and drive, the state flagship campus has become a more welcome place for Jewish, female, and homosexual students, faculty, and staff.
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.
In 1936, Jeanne Behrend, renowned pianist, music educator, and composer, received the Joseph Bearns Prize from Columbia University for her piano suite A Child’s Day, and for her song cycle on poems by Sara Teasdale. Behrend debuted at Carnegie Hall in 1937, performing one of her own compositions. She continued throughout her life to appear as a soloist with major orchestras. Although Behrend wrote many works for piano, voice, orchestra, and chamber ensemble, her creative efforts received little of the recognition she had hoped for, and she stopped composing in the 1940s.
Behrens’s stories are like journeys through interiors. Her Jewish stories, Salomo und die anderen—Jüdische Geschichten (Salomo and the Others—Jewish Stories, 1993), are about survivors of the Holocaust. In scenes of great disquiet and illuminated precision she delineates the well-observed social situation in present-day Germany.
Israel Supreme Court Justice Dorit Beinisch has based many of her decisions, including those regarding parental corporal punishment, sexual harassment, and military reform, on her commitment to upholding Israel's basic laws on human dignity and liberty.
From her arrival in Palestine in 1886, midwife Olga Belkind-Henkin—who never had children of her own—delivered babies, while helping her husband to purchase land for Jews who wish to settle the Land of Israel.
The New York Times described Dorothy Jacobs Bellanca as one of America’s foremost women labor leaders. An outstanding union organizer and a captivating speaker, she was born in Zemel, Latvia, on August 10, 1894.
Unless they worked on the English-speaking stage, Yiddish actors were largely unnoticed by critics and the general media. Thus very little is known about the life of many of these wonderful artists who appeared before adoring audiences on the Lower East Side, Brooklyn, or the Bronx. Such is the case with Bella Bellarina, an actor who made her mark with the famous Vilna Troupe, a company dedicated to serious drama and avant-garde staging techniques.
R. Joseph Hayyim ben Elijah al-Hakam was a well-known Torah scholar and preacher who wrote many halakhic, Kabbalistic and homiletical books, but never held any public position.
Ruth Ben Israel, an expert in labor law, social equality, social security and the status of women, received the Israel Prize for legal research in 2001, becoming the third member of her family to win this distinguished award, alongside her brother, Professor Yuval Ne’eman (b. 1925, Israel Prize 1969) and her cousin, Professor Hayyim Harari (b. 1940, Israel Prize 1989).
Netiva Ben Yehuda is unique among the writers of her generation not only by virtue of her late entry onto the Israeli writing scene (1981), but also because of her lifelong devotion to the cause of spoken Hebrew.
Born in Brzezin, Poland, on May 16, 1926, Hadassa Ben-Itto was the daughter of David Lipmanowicz (1904–1994), a building contractor, and Dvora (née Broder, 1906–1988), a homemaker, both of whom had also been born in Brzezin. Her father received a Jewish education at heder and yeshiva, while her mother had attended elementary school. They married in 1924 and immigrated to Palestine in 1935, where a second daughter, Nira (Kfir), was born in 1937.
Yehudit Ben-Natan was born in Romania in 1950 and came to Israel ten years later. During her military service she served first as the officer of the welfare division of the Israel Air Force Northern Command (1976–1979), then as the Women’s Corps officer of field units (1985–1988). She went on to be the commander of Training Base 12 (1989–1991) and was then appointed OC Women’s Corps.
The first woman to be appointed a Justice in Israel’s Supreme Court, Miriam Ben-Porat was born on April 26, 1918, in Vitebsk (Belorussia).
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).
Born in Russia in 1909, Mina Rogozik arrived in Palestine together with her family in 1921. She studied at the Reali High School in Haifa and at New York University and joined the Haganah in 1933. In 1942, she was among the first sixty-six women to enlist in the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service) and served in Egypt as the commander (with the rank of captain) of a company comprising both Palestinian and British women.
Rose I. Bender’s lifelong dedication to and support of a Jewish homeland began at an early age. She was taught the finest Talmudic traditions by her parents and was inspired by their love of Zion to become a guiding light for American Zionism and a Philadelphia Jewish community leader.
Of the three Jewish communities in India—the Bene Israel, the Cochin Jews, and the Iraqis or Baghdadis—that of the Bene Israel of Maharashtra in western India was by far the largest. Numbering perhaps twenty thousand at its peak in the early 1950s, the majority of the Bene Israel have since left their homeland—most going to Israel—so that only about five thousand remain in India.
Therese Benedek was among the pioneers of psychoanalysis, first in Germany and then in the United States. She developed expertise in psychosomatic medicine, sexual dysfunction, and family dynamics, but she is best known for her work on the psychosexual development of women.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Encyclopedia." (Viewed on January 20, 2019) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia>.