Oral History Collection

The Nicki Newman Tanner

Oral History Collection

As part of JWA’s mission to expand the narrative of Jewish history, we have collected and recorded hundreds of interviews with leaders, activists, and community members across the United States, documenting their encounters with major events and movements of the 20th and 21st centuries and the many ways that gender, class, place, and religious and ethnic identities have shaped women’s lives. With generous support from Nicki Newman Tanner,  Mass Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, we are proud to make these interviews and transcripts available to the public. All entries include transcripts; audio or video recordings are also available where narrator permissions allow. 

More about the collection

Ruth Abrams

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Judge Ruth Abrams on July 25, 2001, in Boston, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Judge Abrams explores her family, education, career path, focus on gender issues, and notable legal cases in an interview.

Lynn Amowitz

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Lynn Amowitz on July 31, 2001, in Providence, Rhode Island, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Amowitz reflects on her childhood experiences of antisemitism, her parents' establishment of a synagogue for her bat mitzvah, the influence of family history on her career choice, her work in human rights investigations, and her aspirations to impact policies and methodologies in her field.

Renee Brant

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Renee Brant on July 18, 2001, in Newtown Highlands, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Brant discusses her upbringing, activism, and career in addressing sexual abuse, emphasizing personal growth, and promoting mental health services in medicine.

Peggy Charren

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Peggy Charren on July 23, 2001, in Boston, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Charren talks about her family background, her advocacy for children's television programming through Action for Children's Television (ACT), her passion for literature, her marriage, and her reflections on her life and activism, including receiving prestigious honors.

Sara Davidson

Project
Barnard: Jewish Women Changing America

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Sara Davidson on October 30, 2005, in New York, as part of the Barnard: Jewish Women Changing America oral history project. Davidson discusses her background, Jewish upbringing, feminist influences, experiences shaping her Jewish identity, and coming out as bisexual, reflecting on the intersections of her feminism, Jewishness, and sexuality.

Merle Feld

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Merle Feld on July 19, 2000, in Northampton, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Feld recounts her upbringing in Brooklyn, her involvement in the Jewish community, her work in facilitating Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, and the profound impact of her activism on her life and career as a writer and public figure.

Vicki Gabriner

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Vicki Gabriner on July 20, 2000, in Brookline, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Gabriner recounts growing up in Brooklyn, her journey through activism, involvement in social justice issues, experiences with the Weathermen, coming out as a lesbian, and her deepening connection to Judaism and Yiddish culture.

Barbara Gaffin

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Barbara Gaffin in Boston, Massachusetts on July 11, 2000, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Gaffin, raised in a Jewish community, recounts her career in Jewish organizations, her perspective on the relationship between American Jews and Israel, her work in Ethiopia, and the prejudice and contradictions she encountered while helping others.

Roz Garber

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Roz Garber on July 26th, 2000, in Brookline, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared project. Garber, a Canadian, shares her journey from choosing to study in the United States and embracing Conservative Judaism, to her work in the Soviet Union, educating and supporting Refuseniks, and her subsequent activism within the Jewish community, recognizing the importance of fighting injustice both at home and abroad.

Judith Hirschfield-Bartek

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Judi Hirshfield-Bartek in Boston, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Hirshfeld-Bartek, an oncology nurse, discusses her activism in breast cancer research funding, influenced by her Jewish upbringing and family's philanthropic values, as well as her lobbying efforts for increased funding.

Shulamit Izen

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Shulamit Izen on January 14, 2002, in Waltham, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Shulamit shares her journey of self-discovery as a lesbian, her exploration of different Jewish practices, her experiences in starting a GSA at her Jewish high school, and her activism in creating a supportive community for GLBTQ Jewish youth.

Anne A. Jackson

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Anne A. Jackson on July 10, 2000, in Brookline, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Jackson shares her upbringing in a community of Russian Jews, her involvement in education and activism, including the Civil Rights Movement, her advocacy for Holocaust education, and her reflections on her career as an educator.

Ellen Kanner

Project
Barnard: Jewish Women Changing America

Judith Rosenbaum and Jayne Guberman interviewed Ellen Kanner on October 12th, 2005 in Brookline, Massachusetts, as a part of the Jewish Women Changing America: Barnard Conference Oral History Project. Kanner reflects on her early life in New York, her involvement in the Jewish community, attending Jewish summer camps, her experience at Smith College, and her lifelong engagement in consciousness-raising groups.

Judith Kates

Project
Barnard: Jewish Women Changing America

Judith Rosenbaum and Jayne Guberman interviewed Judith Kates on October 20th, 2005, in Brookline, Massachusetts, as part of the Jewish Women Changing America: Barnard Conference Oral History Project. Kates talks about her Orthodox upbringing, her struggle for gender equality within Judaism, her education, involvement in the women's movement, teaching women's studies, her gabbai position at a synagogue, and the impact of feminism on Judaism.

Nancy Kaufman

Project
General

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Nancy Kaufman on July 14, 2023, in Newton, Massachusetts. This interview is a detailed account of Kaufman's life, from her upbringing in Brookline, Massachusetts, to her involvement in the Jewish community, including her experiences with adversity, community service, and advocacy.

Margaret Lazarus

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Margaret Lazarus on July 11, 2001, in Belmont, Massachusetts, for the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Lazarus speaks about her upbringing in Queens, her activist parents, her perception of Judaism as a platform for questioning and civil rights, her career in documentary filmmaking, and her advocacy for women's issues and social justice.

Sally Mack

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Sally Mack on August 3, 2000, in Gloucester, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Mack discusses her Orthodox Jewish upbringing, her transition into social activism, including her arrest for protesting, and the connection she finds between activism and spirituality in Jewish communities.

Susan Maze-Rothstein

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Susan Maze-Rothstein on January 25, 2002, in Brookline, Massachusetts, for the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Maze-Rothstein reflects on her family background, experiences with Judaism, activism in addressing diversity and anti-racist education, challenges of being an outsider in both the Jewish and African-American communities, her commitment to social justice as a lawyer and judge, and her inspiration from influential figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Maya Angelou.

Galina Nizhnikov

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Galina Nizhnikov in Peabody, Massachusetts on January 12, 2003, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Nizhnikov talks about her upbringing in Russia, her family's Jewish pride, experiences with workplace antisemitism, involvement with refuseniks, the decision to leave Russia, and the struggles they faced to secure their departure.

Toby Reifman

Project
Barnard: Jewish Women Changing America

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Toby Reifman on October 30, 2005, in New York, New York, as part of the Barnard: Jewish Women Changing America Oral History Project. Reifman talks about her journey of growing up in Providence, Rhode Island, her experiences with gender dynamics and inequalities in Judaism, her involvement in Jewish feminist movements, and her evolving commitment to feminism and personal fulfillment throughout her life.

Freyda Sanders

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Freyda Sanders on July 12, 2000, in Brookline, MA, for the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Sanders shares her upbringing in a politically active household, her diverse career path, her involvement with Hadassah and its impact on her Jewish identity, her trip to Russia, and the influence of her mother's socialist beliefs on her life.

Denise Khaitman Schorr

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Denise Khaitman Schorr on June 14, 2000, in Natick, Massachusetts for the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Schorr talks about her childhood in Paris, experiencing growing antisemitism and the Nazi occupation, joining the resistance, working as a social worker after liberation, immigrating to the USA, and her ongoing efforts to share her story and educate others.

Barbara Seaman

Project
Barnard: Jewish Women Changing America

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Barbara Seaman on October 30, 2005, in New York, New York, as part of the Barnard: Jewish Women Changing America Oral History Project. Seaman discusses her research on preventative hysterectomies, the influence of Rose Kushner, her family history, activism in the women's movement, and challenges as an activist journalist confronting the pharmaceutical industry.

Betsy Shure Gross

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Betsy Shure Gross on July 31, 2001, in Brookline, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Gross discusses her childhood, family roots, connection to Judaism, involvement in community restoration, and environmental justice issues, emphasizing the intersectionality of her activism as a woman and highlighting the impact of her work on others.

Judy Somberg

Project
Women Who Dared

Judith Rosenbaum interviewed Judy Somberg on July 18, 2000, in Boston, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Somberg recounts her activism through the years, reflecting on her involvement in anti-war movements, women's rights, and the Cambridge Sister City Project, advocating for human rights and supporting affected communities.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Oral History Collection." (Viewed on February 25, 2024) <http://jwa.org/oralhistories>.