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

Hadassah Blocker

Project
Adult Bat Mitzvahs

Shayna Rhodes interviewed Hadassah Blocker on November 3, 2004, in Newtonville, Massachusetts, as part of the Adult Bat Mitzvahs Oral History Project. Blocker discusses her Orthodox Jewish background, her role in Torah learning, and her advocacy for women's participation in synagogue services and adult Jewish education.

Darryl Bloom

Project
DAVAR: Vermont Jewish Women's History Project

Ann Buffum and Sandra Stillman Gartner interviewed Darryl Bloom on August 15, 2005, in Montpelier, Vermont, as part of DAVAR: The Vermont Jewish History Project. Bloom reflects on her upbringing, conversion to Judaism, experiences on a kibbutz, commitment to social justice, involvement in the Montpelier Jewish community, and teaching at the Family Center of Washington County.

Fiola Blum

Project
Weaving Women's Words

Elaine Eff interviewed Fiola Blum on August 20, 2001, in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the Weaving Women’s Words Oral History Project. Fiola Blum reminisces on childhood memories, starting her realty company, her experiences as a Jewish woman in real estate, and reflects on her family background and Baltimore's Jewish communities.

Elsbeth Bothe

Project
Weaving Women's Words

Elaine Eff interviewed Elsbeth Bothe on September 14 and October 22, 2001, in Baltimore Maryland, as part of the Weaving Women’s Words Oral History Project. Both shares her family background, education, career journey, activism in the Civil Rights movement, and reflections on her Jewish identity and experiences as a woman in the legal profession.

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.

Helen "Lainie" Breaux

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Lainie Breaux on September 17, 2006, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Breaux reflects on her upbringing, activist family background, evacuation during the storm with her newborn son, and her ongoing work as a therapist in New Orleans.

Shirley Bridge

Project
Weaving Women's Words

Pamela Lavitt Brown interviewed Shirley Bridge on June 27, 2001, in Seattle, Washington, as part of the Weaving Women’s Words Oral History Project. Bridge discusses her family, childhood memories, education, a career in pharmacology, marriage, raising a family, social activism, and her 50-year battle with cancer.

Sally Bronston

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Sally Bronston on August 10, 2007, in Metairie, Louisiana, as part of Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Bronston shares her Jewish upbringing, education, involvement in Jewish organizations, experiences during Hurricane Katrina, challenges of post-storm life, and reflections on God and Judaism.

Joel Brown

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Joel Brown on October 23, 2006, in Metairie, Louisiana, as part of Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Brown explains his family background, education, Jewish upbringing, opening a kosher restaurant in New Orleans, the impact of Hurricane Katrina on his business and life, the support from the Memphis Jewish community, and his hopeful return to New Orleans.

Gilda Bruckman

Project
Ga’avah: LGBTQ+ Jews

Nicole Zador interviewed Gilda Bruckman on November 10, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts as part of the Ga'avah LGBTQ+ Jews project. In this interview, Gilda discusses her upbringing, connection to the Jewish community, coming out experience, co-founding of the book store New Words and its evolution into a non-profit, as well as her extensive involvement in various volunteer programs and organizations, highlighting how her research into her family history as well as her relationship with her partner, Judy Wachs, strengthened her bond with Judaism.

Andy Busch

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Andy Busch on August 2, 2006, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Rabbi Bush discusses his childhood, rabbinical training, serving as the rabbi of Touro Synagogue in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina, their evacuation and exile experience, rebuilding the community in Houston, and reflecting on the impact of the storm and the efforts of the Jewish Reform Movement.

Meta R. Kaplan Buttnick

Project
Weaving Women's Words

Pamela Lavitt Brown interviewed Meta R. Buttnick on May 31, June 20, and July 17, 2001, in Seattle, Washington, as part of the Weaving Women’s Words Oral History Project. Meta, born in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1913, discusses her upbringing, education, marriage, and lifelong commitment to preserving Jewish history in Seattle through oral histories and archival projects.

Vivian Cahn

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Vivian Cahn on October 21, 2006, in New Orleans, Louisiana as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Cahn tells her experiences of growing up in the South, moving to New Orleans, evacuating during Hurricane Katrina, and the challenges and recovery efforts faced by the Jewish community in rebuilding the city after the storm.

Shoshana Shoubin Cardin

Project
Weaving Women's Words

Elaine Eff interviewed Shoshana Shoubin Cardin on August 30, September 4, September 7, and October 3, 2001, in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the Weaving Women's Words Oral History Project. Cardin shares her journey as an immigrant to the United States, her experiences growing up in Baltimore, her education, marriage, and the challenges and changes in the Jewish community, as well as her lifelong commitment to volunteerism and philanthropy.

Anna Castleman

Project
Women Whose Lives Span the Century

Frances Godine interviewed Anna Castleman on December 17, 1996, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Whose Lives Spanned The Century Oral History Project. Anna Castleman discusses her upbringing in New England, her marriage and family life, her community involvement in Boston, and her experience as a Jewish woman at Wellesley College and in various Jewish organizations.

Gail Chalew

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Gail Chalew on August 15, 2006, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Chalew remembers Hurricane Katrina's impact, her evacuation to Baltimore with her son, and her dedication to rebuilding her community while reflecting on the changes in herself, the Jewish community, and New Orleans.

Judith Chalmer

Project
DAVAR: Vermont Jewish Women's History Project

Sandra Stillman Gartner and Ann Buffum interviewed Judith Chalmer in Winooski, Vermont, on November 3 and December 8, 2005, as part of DAVAR’s oral history project. Chalmer discusses her family's history, her creative path as a writer, and her reflections on her Jewish identity and the role of women in Judaism, inspired by her father's experiences during the Holocaust and her efforts to honor those who helped her family.

Anna Charny

Project
Soviet Jewry

Gabriel Weinstein Tamar interviewed Anna Charny in Massachusetts as part of the Soviet Jewry Oral History Project. Charny shares her experiences growing up in Moscow, encountering antisemitism, becoming a refusenik, and eventually immigrating to the United States, highlighting her family's Jewish identity, her activism, and the challenges of assimilating into a new country.

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.

Rebecca Chernin

Project
Women Who Dared

Elise Brenner interviewed Rebecca Chernin on December 19, 2004, in Sharon, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Project. Rebecca discusses her family, childhood, and Jewish identity, highlighting her advocacy efforts to combat teen violence and support domestic violence victims within the Jewish community; she also shares her personal experience as an Orthodox teen survivor of an abusive relationship, her work with REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, and her outreach efforts to address domestic violence within the Jewish community, guided by the Jewish value of shalom bayit, and reflects on her ongoing advocacy goals.

Ruth Clarke

Project
Women Who Dared

Elise Brenner interviewed Ruth Clarke on December 17, 2003, in Nonquit, Massachusetts, as part of the Women Who Dared Oral History Project. Ruth discusses her family background, her conversion to Judaism, the changes in her Dorchester neighborhood, and her impactful work with the Nonquit Street Gardening Club, reflecting on the rewards and challenges of being an activist.

Pamela Cohen

Project
Women Who Dared

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Pamela Cohen on February 7, 2005, in Chicago, Illinois, as part of the Jewish Women’s Archive’s Women Who Dared project. Cohen discusses her family's immigration, her activism for Soviet Jewry, her career in advocacy, her reflections on Judaism, and her hopes for future generations in human rights work.

Jonathan Cohen

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Stuart Rockoff interviewed Jonathan Cohen on October 11, 2007, in Utica, Mississippi, as part of Katrina's Jewish Voices project. Jonathan shares his background, the role of Henry S. Jacobs Camp during Hurricane Katrina, the formation of a supportive community at the camp, the creation of the "Jacob's Ladder" relief project, the impact on the Jewish community, and the ongoing challenges faced by the camp in the post-Katrina era.

Rose Pines Cohen

Project
Weaving Women's Words

Marcie Cohen Ferris interviewed Rose Pines Cohen on April 24, 2001, in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the Weaving Women's Words project. Rose traces her family's immigration to Baltimore, their experiences during World War I, her pursuit of education and teaching, her family life, and her involvement in Jewish organizations, reflecting on her career and influence on her children.

Edward Cohn

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Rabbi Edward Cohn on July 25, 2007, in New Orleans, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices project. Rabbi Cohn talks about his family background, his role at Temple Sinai in New Orleans, their preparation for Hurricane Katrina, community outreach efforts, and the collective trauma experienced by Southern communities.

Birth City

Type

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Oral History Collection." (Viewed on May 21, 2024) <http://jwa.org/oralhistories>.