Meet Some of Washington D.C.’s Most Fascinating Jewish Women at JWA’s Newest Online Exhibit

Contact: Deborah Fineblum Raub


Meet Some of Washington D.C.’s Most Fascinating Jewish Women at JWA’s Newest Online Exhibit

If you would like to sit across a coffeehouse table from the likes of Susan Stamberg, Joan Nathan, Aviva Kempner or a half-dozen other trail-blazing Washington-area Jewish women, a new online exhibit at the Jewish Women’s Archive does everything but pour the espresso.

Through a series of short video clips, the JWA visitor is able to “meet” nine women featured in “Weaving Women’s Words: Washington, D.C. Stories,” all of whom are innovators in their chosen fields and still at the top of their game. In these clips, the women –– physicians and lawyers, advocates and artists, writers and a rabbi –– share influences, insights and inspirations from their lives and careers that would be virtually impossible to hear otherwise. And interviewer Deborah Ross has a knack for asking the questions you might have posed given the opportunity.

Inspired by the urgent need to rescue the stories of women whose lives spanned the twentieth century, the Jewish Women’s Archive began conducting and advising oral history projects soon after its founding in 1995. In the years since, JWA has collected the stories of Jewish women in Boston, Baltimore, Seattle, New Orleans, and now in Washington, D.C.

“This new exhibit’s sampling of fascinating thought-leaders makes clear that the nation’s capital has attracted a cadre of Jewish women pioneers in fields well beyond politics,” says JWA founder and Executive Director Gail Twersky Reimer. “In documenting the challenges they’ve faced and the trails they’ve blazed, we are preserving the often painful but ultimately hopeful road to women’s leadership across the disciplines, creating a user-friendly legacy for a new generation. JWA is proud to launch this new exhibit during Jewish American Heritage Month 2012.”


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Backgrounder on JWA’s “DC Stories” Online Exhibit

In 2009, when Deborah Ross, a teacher of English as a Second Language, looked around the room at the White House reception celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM), she found herself wondering about the gathered guests and how being Jewish affected their lives and careers. Serendipitously, she met Gail Reimer as she was leaving the White House and learned from her about the work of JWA.  After checking out the website (, Ross hit on the idea for a project featuring intimate video interviews with some of the city’s best and brightest, interviews that now form the living core of “Weaving Women’s Words: Washington, D.C. Stories.” The new online exhibit arrived at the JWA website at the beginning of Jewish American Heritage Month 2012, making these interviews accessible to Web users both inside and outside the Beltway.

You can read more about Ross’ inspiration for this project in her own words, as well as her introductions of each of the women, on the About this project page.

Perhaps Deborah Ross’s project will inspire you to document the lives of American Jewish women in your community. To get you started, JWA offers In Her Own Voice: A Guide to Conducting Life History Interviews with American Jewish Women.

About Jewish American Heritage Month

On April 20, 2006, President George W. Bush officially proclaimed May Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) to recognize Jewish contributions to American culture over the past 350+ years. President Obama’s 2011 proclamation declares that “this month, we embrace and celebrate the vast contributions Jewish Americans have made to our country… We remember that the history and unique identity of Jewish Americans is part of the grand narrative of our country…”

Over the past six years, organizations in every part of the country -- in Miami and Chicago, in Washington and Philadelphia, Detroit and New York -- have sponsored lectures, exhibits, plays, films, and other special programs in May to acknowledge the achievements of American Jews in fields ranging from sports and arts and entertainment to medicine, business, science, government, and military service.

About the Jewish Women's Archive
The mission of the Jewish Women’s Archive is to uncover, chronicle, and transmit the rich history of American Jewish women to the broadest possible audience. JWA is nationally recognized as a vital contributor to a more expansive and inclusive vision of Jewish life, past, present and future. Through its innovative uses of technology and its strategic partnerships, JWA has changed the way history is researched, recorded, and taught.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Meet Some of Washington D.C.’s Most Fascinating Jewish Women at JWA’s Newest Online Exhibit." (Viewed on May 19, 2019) <>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

Can We Talk?

listen now

Get JWA in your inbox