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Freema Shapiro

b. 1915

Freema Shapiro was born in 1915 in Malden, Massachusetts, to Sara and Simon Weinstein, first-generation immigrants from Lithuania. She has two sisters and one brother. Freema grew up in Arlington, Massachusetts, until her family moved to Roxbury when Freema was in middle school. She graduated from Roxbury Memorial High School and attended Beth-El Hebrew School three times a week. Freema attended Hebrew College but did not graduate. Instead, she completed her nurse's training and worked as a registered nurse. She married Arthur Shapiro in 1936, and they moved to New York and raised three children. In 1964, Freema and Arthur moved back to Boston, and Arthur died in 1968 when their youngest child was twelve years old. 

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Scope and Content Note

Freema Shapiro was eighty-one at the time of her interview on September 25, 1997, with Emily Mehlman and Fran Putnoi. She focuses on her relationship with her children and husband, who passed away young. Freema describes the changes in her life and family dynamics after becoming a widow, such as her decision to buy a baby grand piano and take up social dancing. However, the men she encountered in that period wanted her to be less "boisterous" and more passive, so she separated herself from them and moved closer to her children in Cambridge. The interview concludes with her describing her meditation and holistic health practices. She explains that they helped her find new confidence and "emerge from her husband's shadow" after many years of spiritual seeking and psychotherapy.

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How to cite this page

Oral History of Freema Shapiro. Interviewed by Emily Mehlman. 25 September 1997. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on March 1, 2024) <http://jwa.org/oralhistories/shapiro-fremma>.

Oral History of Freema Shapiro 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 https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.