About this Exhibit
In the second half of the 20th century, feminism transformed both American life and the Jewish community. And so, with urgency—as the historical actors of this movement age, clean out their attics, or even pass away—the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA) set out to preserve the story of Jewish women and the feminist revolution.
For phase one of this ambitious project, JWA envisioned an exhibit that would combine two powerful narratives: the story of Jewish women's influential role in shaping American feminism, and the impact of feminism on the Jewish community. Rather than create our own synthetic history of Jewish women and feminism, we chose to design an exhibit in which the agents of historical change—the activists themselves—would tell the story and contribute the majority of the resources.
With the help of advisors and experts in the field, we invited Jewish feminist activists to contribute historically significant objects from their personal collections, along with short statements about the objects' significance. In selecting the featured women, we sought diversity in geography, professional role, ethnicity, denominational affiliation, and sexual orientation.
The exhibit is not encyclopedic, nor was it intended to be. Rather, we aimed to create an exhibit that is illustrative of the diversity and richness of Jewish women's feminist activism; an exhibit that is infused with the personalities of the activists and their sense of feminism's ongoing meaning; an exhibit that suggests the power—and challenges—of collective action.
We will not be adding material to this exhibit, but the larger project on Jewish women and the feminist revolution continues to grow. Coming next: JWA will begin online collecting, in which individuals will be able to upload images, documents, and stories to our virtual archive. We will also develop educational resources based on this exhibit for use in classrooms and informal educational settings.
Project Director and Exhibit Co-Curator
Support Provided By:
Charles H. Revson Foundation
Special Thanks To:
Tamara Cohen, Lisa Goldberg, Paula E. Hyman, The Jewish Feminist Think Tank, Rachel Levin, Riv Ellen Prell, Gail Reimer, Prudence Steiner, Terra Incognita Productions, Jen Spadafora, Jaymie Saks
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "About this Exhibit." (Viewed on January 18, 2020) <https://jwa.org/feminism/about>.