Washington D.C. Stories
Nine Washington, DC women—including award-winning cookbook author Joan Nathan and NPR host and correspondent Susan Stamberg—share stories of their childhood homes, their personal struggles, and their transformative careers in this compelling series of oral history interviews
Randi Abramson is the medical director of Bread for the City in Washington, D.C. A primary care physician, she has devoted her career to providing medical care to underserved people in the nation’s capital.
Marcia Greenberger is founder and Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center, established in 1972 to advocate for gender equality in education, jobs, economic security, and health. Under her leadership, the NWLC has worked to improve the lives of women, girls and families by backing laws to prohibit pregnancy discrimination in employment and to provide compensation for victims of sexual harassment. It helped pass state and federal tax laws to help millions of families pay for child and dependent care and secured new federal remedies for women seeking child support.
Phyllis Greenberger is President and CEO of the Society for Women’s Health Research, a national non-profit organization founded in 1990 to improve the health of women through research, education, and advocacy. Twenty years ago, most medical research focused on young, healthy, white men; the conventional thinking was that women were just “little men.” Today, thanks to the efforts of Phyllis and her organization, scientists recognize that women are different from men in many ways, and that research into drugs, diagnostic tools, and treatment must be tailored to their needs.
Award-winning documentary filmmaker Aviva Kempner was born in Berlin after World War II to an American father and a Polish mother. Her childhood was marked by the experience of her parents during and after the war. Her desire to understand them led her to a career in filmmaking.
Joan Nathan is the author of numerous cookbooks, each of which focuses on an aspect of Jewish life and culture. What makes her books unique is that each recipe comes with a story, enabling the reader to learn about much more than how to prepare a dish, but where the dish originated, how Jewish migration and living in different lands have changed the dish, and its meaning to the family from which it came. Thus, Joan is not only a cookbook author, but a cultural historian and food writer as well. Her books educate about Jewish life, tradition, and Jewish history.
Rabbi Mindy Portnoy was one of the first women to be ordained as a rabbi in the Reform Movement of Judaism. Throughout her career, she has served as both a Hillel rabbi and as a pulpit rabbi in Washington D.C., and is the author of several children’s books, the most well known of which is Ima on the Bimah.
Naomi Harris Rosenblatt has had a distinguished career in Washington, D.C. as a psychotherapist and Bible teacher. Born in Haifa, she lived in Palestine during the time of the British Mandate and witnessed first hand the birth of the State of Israel. After her marriage to Peter Rosenblatt, a Washington attorney, she moved to the United States, which has been her home ever since.
Susan Stamberg, longtime host and special correspondent for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, “a world that totally enwraps you in Jewishness.” While not an observant Jew, Susan nonetheless feels sociologically and ethnically Jewish, and credits Jewish values, among other things, for her interest in learning, opinion, and discussion.
The first baby born in the Displaced Persons Camp at Bergen-Belsen right after the war, Mindy Weisel grew up with the responsibility to “be everything” to her parents, who had survived Auschwitz. Today, she is an acclaimed abstract artist, working in paint and glass. She has had international commissions and exhibitions; her pieces are in the permanent collections of the Israel Museum, Vad Yasem, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, among others.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Washington D.C. Stories." (Viewed on February 20, 2018) <https://jwa.org/exhibits/dc>.