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.
She is said to have been the second Jewish probation officer in the United States and the first to supervise all the Jewish cases in Philadelphia.
Those who initiated the struggle against white slavery in Europe and America were women. For Jewish women, this was their first attempt to cope publicly with a social issue that had such broad implications. Thanks to them, thousands of young Jewish women were saved from prostitution.
In 1901, Rosalie (Rose) Loew became acting attorney in chief of the New York Legal Aid Society. She was the first woman to hold that post.
Narratives about the ninth-century b.c.e. prophet Elijah are found in 1 Kings 17–19 and 21 and in 2 Kings 1–2. Like his successor, Elisha, he is depicted as having many of the attributes of Israel’s later prophetic figures, One of these characteristics—concern for the oppressed and socially marginalized—is revealed in the story of the widow of Zarephath.
During the nineteenth century approximately two-thirds of all adult Jews in the Holy Land were women. This significant majority—nearly two women for every one male—was due to the overwhelming number of widows in the country. The lives of widows who at some stage immigrated—as children with their families, as married women, or as widows—from North Africa to the Jewish communities of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Palestine, underwent changes, due to both immigration and widowhood.
Writer and translator Bertha Wiernik was born to Hirsch Wolf and Sarah Rachel (Milchiger) Wiernik in Vilna, Lithuania, on March 21, 1884.
Annette Wieviorka, born in Paris on January 10, 1948, is undoubtedly the best-known of French historians of the Holocaust born after World War II.
In the Biblical narrative, the role played by Job’s wife is limited to a short and penetrating conversation with her husband. The apocryphal Divrei Iyov, however, devotes a great deal of attention to this character.
In the well-known biblical story dealing with the problem of undeserved suffering, Job loses his children, his possessions, and his health. Job’s nameless wife turns up after the final blow, after Job has been struck with boils. The attention to Job’s suffering usually ignores the fact that she too, after all, is a victim of these divine tests in addition to being pained by exposure to his afflictions (19:17).
Job 2:9 relates that after all the disasters that befell Job and his family, his wife tells him that he should curse God for all that had happened to them. His wife’s counsel, which perhaps manifested her feelings of pity and compassion, only increases Job’s anguish at this nadir in his life, and makes it difficult for him to withstand this test. The wife is the subject of a moral critique by the midrash for the counsel that she gave her husband.
When the large cities of the plain of Jordan are destroyed because of their people’s lack of discernment of good and bad, Lot’s wife looks back and turns into a pillar of salt.
Manoah’s wife, the mother of Samson, is included among the twenty-three truly upright and righteous women who came forth from Israel (Midrash Tadshe, Ozar ha-Midrashim [Eisenstein], 474) and among the twenty-two worthy women in the world (Gen. Rabbati, Hayyei Sarah, 100–101).
Wifebeating is found in all cultures, because women’s status is usually lower than men’s and wives are expected to perform specific tasks to serve their husbands.
The body is omnipresent in the work of Hannah Wilke. Her typically nude body and its self-representation became the vehicle by which Wilke exposed personal, political, and linguistic themes. Like the work of her feminist peers of the 1970s, Wilke’s art has often been oversimplified by critics, yet it continues to influence the complex art of postmodern artists today.
Pearl Willen was a social and human welfare activist and communal leader with a love for Jewish heritage. She had a lifelong record of service for such causes as civil rights, women’s rights, and the rights of workers.
She filled the next fifty years participating in local Jewish community groups. Wimpfheimer was a member of many other New York benevolent societies including the New York Guild for the Blind, the Amelia Relief Society, the Montefiore Home, and the Godmothers’ League.
Belle Winestine is best remembered as Jeannette Rankin’s legislative assistant, though she served in this capacity for only one year (1916–1917). Nonetheless, her work with Rankin served as an important apprenticeship that created a lasting friendship, profoundly influenced her understanding of the legislative process, and solidified what became her lifelong commitment to reform. For over seventy years, she devoted time, money, and energy to support and enforce legislation pertaining to women’s rights and children’s issues.
Maria Winetzkaja was a renowned opera singer, whose international career spanned twenty years.
Author Thyra Samter Winslow’s sketches of women’s lives reflect her combined feelings of fondness for and restless impatience with small-town life, and later her attraction to the big city.
Shelley Winters’s acting career ranged from a fairy in a local pageant at age four to the eccentric Grandma Harris on television’s Roseanne. She performed in over one hundred movies, fifty stage plays and countless television programs, and won two Academy Awards and an Emmy.
Rachel Wischnitzer was a pioneer in the fields of Jewish art history and synagogue architecture. Her wide-ranging scholarship included books, articles, book reviews, and exhibition catalogs on ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish art.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Encyclopedia." (Viewed on January 21, 2019) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia>.