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.
Yemenite women proved to be most stable and resourceful, both in Yemen where tradition reigned, and also after immigration to Erez Israel and New York, facing changes and challenges in turbulent times. They adapted to changing economic, social and communal conditions, acculturated in language skills and organizational life, and were instrumental in bringing up their daughters and sons to successfully integrate into the new worlds.
Approximately fifty thousand Jews came to Israel from Yemen via Operation Magic Carpet during the period of mass immigration (1949–1950) (Barer 1956; Sa’adon 2002: 115–125). A further 3,500 arrived between 1988–1996 (Saadon 2002, 122). The transition of Yemenite women from a traditional-religious society to a western-secular society is marked by a certain ambivalence.
Theater director and choreographer Rina Yerushalmi, one of Israel’s leading artists, is the founder and artistic director of the experimental Itim Theater Ensemble (founded 1989).
Having immigrated with her family from Eastern Europe, Yezierska chronicled the hunger of her generation of newly arrived Jewish Americans around the turn of the century. Her novels, short stories, and autobiographical writing vividly depict both the literal hunger of poverty and the metaphoric hunger for security, education, companionship, home, and meaning—in short, for the American dream.
In 1965, Helen Yglesias joined the staff of The Nation and shortly thereafter became its literary editor. At age fifty-four, she left her job to dedicate herself to becoming a writer.
During the early half the twentieth century, feature films in the Yiddish language were produced in and around New York City. During the “Golden Age” of Yiddish film, 1936 to 1939, more than two dozen films opened in New York City to encouraging box-office income, only to be curtailed abruptly by the onset of World War II. The films capture the language and life-style, as well as the values, dreams, and myths of the world of Yiddish culture and immortalize some of the greats of the Yiddish theater.
The history of women writing Yiddish in the United States has yet to be written. The significance of the poetry and prose produced by women in Yiddish cannot be understood in terms of these counting exercises, revealing though they may be. Such assessments will emerge only from the ongoing work of translation, criticism, bibliography and, above all, reading.
Jewish women on stage in America took on a variety of musical roles and performed all kinds of songs, including religious hymns and liturgical chants.
The American capital of Yiddish theater was New York City, where at times as many as fourteen theaters were filled simultaneously, not counting vaudeville and cabaret.
Women were a strong presence in Yiddish theater in Vienna, as actors and as celebrated and popular stars. However, their reasons for going into Yiddish theater, their exact positions and functions within the ensembles and the theater scene are hardly known and can be reconstructed in only a very rudimentary manner, due to the lack of sources.
The Yiddish press was welcomed by Jewish women, as it allowed them to move from the domestic into the public sphere and to have an impact upon the latter. Immediately upon the press’s appearance, women submitted correspondence and translations of foreign literary works.
Women’s poetry in Yiddish first made its presence felt within the wider context of modern Yiddish culture at the end of the second decade of the twentieth century.
A women-led, explicitly feminist organization, the YFA, the Yiddishe Froyen Asosiatsiye (Jewish Women’s Association), was founded in Poland after World War I. YFA’s goals included organizing women to secure economic and political rights as well as equal opportunities for education, and providing assistance to the vast number of needy among Polish Jewry.
Yogev may be said to have been instrumental in changing not only the name but also the role of women serving in the IDF, in keeping with principles of equality and equal opportunity.
Jane Yolen has written books for children and adults in genres that include science fiction, mystery, animal tales, historical fiction, humor and poetry, but she is best known for her literary renderings of the worlds of fantasy, folklore and myth.
Judging by the name alone, it might seem that the Young Women’s Hebrew Association (YWHA) was the women’s version of the Young Men’s Hebrew Association (YMHA) and nothing more. But just as the YMHA was no mere knockoff of its Christian namesake, so too was the idea of the YWHA both a borrowing and an innovation. As a communal agency run entirely by and for women, the YWHA provided an important political arena for Jewish women in the early part of the twentieth century. As a pioneering Jewish institution combining social and religious services, the YWHA became one of the principal sources of the Jewish community center movement.
Yudica was the pseudonym of Yehudit Zik, a poet whose reputation in Yiddish literature was largely developed during her three decades in Canada.
Little has been written about the history of women in former Yugoslavia and even less is as yet known about the history of Jewish women in the Balkans.
Vele Zabludowsky has been characterized as a teacher of Yiddish and Hebrew who worked with love but above all as one who taught her pupils what we call Yidishkayt as a profoundly Jewish part of life.
Teresa Żarnower, who was a pioneer in many fields of art, belonged to the strict avant-garde of the inter-war period.
Mayana Zatz is the Director of the Human Genome Research Center at the Biological Institute of the University of São Paulo and together with her group has published more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles, most of them related to neuromuscular disorders.
Ze’enah u-Re’enah, Yiddish pronunciation: tsenerene. A rendering in Yiddish of the Pentateuch, the Megillot (Five Scrolls of the Bible) and the Haftarot(portions from Prophets read in synagogue after the Sabbath reading from the Torah).
Brachah Zefira was a seminal figure in the world of Israeli song and among its most colorful and influential personalities in the pre-State period.
“She plays like a man” was a near-refrain in critiques of Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler, a brilliant pianist who emerged in the young, male-dominated American concert world of the 1880s.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Encyclopedia." (Viewed on March 21, 2019) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia>.