Carol Anshien

b. 1943

Carol Anshien was born in the Bronx in 1943 and attended school there.  She was a member of the Jacob H. Schiff Center Synagogue and was the first female to be bar mitzvahed there.  Anshien majored in theater at Queens College.  After college, she worked in public television as a researcher for documentaries before attending Columbia University’s School of Library Service as part of a community media library program fellowship and earning her MLS.

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Scope and Content Note

Carol Anshien, a Bronx native, discusses her family background; both parents served in World War II.  Her mother joined the WACs [Women's Army Corps] and served until she became pregnant with Carol.  Anshein’s father served in the United States Army.  She talks fondly about the Hebrew School she and her brother attended, the Jacob H. Schiff Center Synagogue in the Bronx.  Growing up, Carol was aware of the differences for men and women in the practice of Judaism, and was eager for the opportunity to be the girl bat mitzvahed in her synagogue in the 1950s.  Carol discusses navigating her religious practice with secular life throughout her life.  Carol reflects on feeling like a “pioneer” in her community as the first female to be bat mitvahed and went on to be involved in feminist activism as an adult, serving a leadership role with the New Jewish Agenda Feminist Task Force.


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How to cite this page

Oral History of Carol Anshien. Interviewed by Jayne Guberman. 30 October 2005. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 17, 2024) <>.

Oral History of Carol Anshien by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at