JWA News Release: March 1, 2005

From the Jewish Women's Archives' oral history projects:

"Eleven under-graduate men accepted to the medical school—with last names in alphabetical order. And then at the end of the alphabet it says, "Miss Finkelstein." I wasn't even allowed into their alphabet."
—Dr. Ruth Finkelstein

"I was president both of the Montrose school board, which had two schools—one for black girls and one for white girls. I integrated the two schools and they built a whole new school."
—Clementine L. Kaufman

"I stopped taking [ballet] class four years ago when I was eighty years old. I never for one moment felt embarrassed".
—Shirley Selis

Capturing the Stories Before it is Too Late

During Women's History Month, The Jewish Women's Archive Publishes "In Our Own Voices: A Guide to Conducting Life History Interviews with American Jewish Women"

Brookline, MA, March 1, 2005—Gail T. Reimer, Executive Director of the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA) announced today that the organization has published an in-depth guide on how to capture the stories of American Jewish women. Entitled In Our Own Voices: A Guide to Conducting Life History Interviews with American Jewish Women, the book is based on JWA's oral history projects in Baltimore, Boston and Seattle. Edited by Dr. Jayne K. Guberman, JWA Director of Oral History, with an introductory essay by Professor Joyce Antler of Brandeis University, the book has tips on each step of the interview process, including everything from what type of recording equipment to use to the forms to be filled out after an interview is completed. The book is available to purchase for $25 per copy at jwa.org/stories/how-to/guide or by calling (617) 232-2258.

"It is especially appropriate for us to publish this book during Women's History Month," said Reimer. "In Our Own Voices invites all women and men across the country to join as 'makers of history'," she continued, "and helps us to bring the past to life by recording the voices of women in their own families and communities."

The guide is designed around ten overarching frameworks for understanding women's life experiences, such as "Family," "Jewish Identities," "Health and Sexuality," and "History and World Events."

In each section, readers will find an introductory essay by a leading scholar, a series of key topics, exemplary quotations from JWA's oral history archives, and hundreds of sample questions that will help readers conduct sensitive and probing interviews about the experiences of American Jewish women.

(617) 232-2258, or email us

About JWA

The Jewish Women's Archive (JWA) is a national, nonprofit organization with a mission to uncover, chronicle and transmit the rich legacy of Jewish women and their contributions to our families and our communities, to our people and our world. Founded in Boston in 1995, JWA continues to innovate in its use of the virtual world for academic, cultural, archival and educational purposes. JWA is serving as a coordinator and catalyst for 350th programs focused on women and their contributions. For more information, visit jwa.org.

About Dr. Jayne K. Guberman

Dr. Guberman is the Director of Oral History at The Jewish Women's Archive. Over the past seven years she has developed JWA's Weaving Women's Words project, a national initiative to document the histories of American Jewish women whose lives spanned the 20th century.

About Dr. Joyce Antler

Dr. Antler holds the Samuel Lane Chair of American Jewish History and Culture at Brandeis University, where she teaches in the American Studies Department. She is the author of The Journey Home: How Jewish Women Shaped Modern America and the editor of America and I: Short Stories by American Jewish Writers and Talking Back: Images of Jewish Women in American Popular Culture.

What Others Say About In Our Own Voices

In Our Own Voices is a remarkable tool in the service of a history that has gone mostly unrecorded. There is no time to mourn for the triumphs and losses, jokes and wisdom that have been lost. So hurry. Open this book and get to work. Let us not waste another moment.
Anita Diamant, author of The Red Tent

If ever there was a document that spoke to the truth that every human being, male and female, is created in the image of God, this is it. The sample questionnaires, the jewel-like essays by learned scholars, the delicious vignettes, the evocative Joan Roth photos, the practical tips for interviewing—each piece of In Our Own Voices joyously celebrates the depth and variety of women's lives. More than all our exhortations to fill in the white spaces, this guide will yield results. It will spawn a thousand new stories of women's lives. I must go and interview my mother right away!
Blu Greenberg, author of On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition

This is an intelligently organized and beautifully crafted guide to oral history that should be on the coffee table of every woman who wants to preserve the stories of her maternal ancestors. Its sensitivity to Jewish culture and life across the generations reveals a true understanding of the unique role Jewish women play in all American life and history. Those who follow this guide will create deeply textured and professional interviews for oral history documentations and preservation according to the high standards set by the Jewish Women's Archive - and enjoy every minute of the process.
Mary Marshall Clark, Director, Columbia University Oral History Research Office

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA News Release: March 1, 2005." (Viewed on May 19, 2019) <https://jwa.org/news/2005/050301-ohguide>.


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