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

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.

Esta Maril

Project
Weaving Women's Words

Marcie Cohen Ferris interviewed Esta Maril on May 22, 2002, in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the Weaving Women's Words Oral History Project. Maril details her family history, upbringing, matriarchal Jewish heritage, childhood memories, education, social work career, marriage to artist Herman Maril, and reflections on her family's lives and accomplishments.

Rebecca Mark

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Rebecca Mark on November 6, 2006, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Mark discusses her family background, childhood, exploration of feminism and Judaism, her career as a professor, sexual identity as a lesbian, co-parenting, experience during Hurricane Katrina, and reflections on her Judaism, activism, and the supportive Jewish community in the South.

Deborah Markowitz

Project
DAVAR: Vermont Jewish Women's History Project

Sandra Stillman Gartner and Ann Buffum interviewed Deborah Markowitz on July 12, 20005, in Montpelier, Vermont, as part of the Vermont Jewish Women's Oral History Project.  Markowitz explores her Ukrainian heritage, family history, the influence of music, her Jewish education, her commitment to Tikkun Olam, her role as Secretary of State in Vermont, and her efforts to improve civic engagement and support victims of domestic violence.

Antoinette Matlins

Project
DAVAR: Vermont Jewish Women's History Project

Sandra Stillman Gartner and Ann Buffum interviewed Antoinette Matlins on July 20 and September 28, 2006, in South Woodstock, Vermont, as part of the Vermont Jewish Women's Oral History Project. Matlins recounts her diverse heritage, religious upbringing, conversion to Judaism, and her role in establishing a vibrant Jewish community in Vermont with her husband, Stuart Matlins, through the creation of Shir Shalom.

Sara Mayeux

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Sara Mayeux on September 21, 2006, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Mayeux talks about her family, moving between cities, meeting her husband in California, their decision to move to New Orleans, her involvement in the Jewish community, and her role in the city's recovery after Hurricane Katrina.

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.

Lisa Mednick-Owen

Project
Meet Me at Sinai

Jayne Guberman interviewed Lisa Mednick-Owen on February 8, 2015, in New York, New York, as part of the Meet Me at Sinai Oral History Project. Lisa reflects on the accomplishments of Jewish feminism, highlights the ongoing challenges in traditional and Orthodox Jewish communities, and emphasizes the role of Jewish values in addressing broader feminist issues, particularly regarding sexual assault and gender equality, while also recognizing the importance of organizations like the Jewish Women's Archive and the potential for Judaism to guide discussions on these topics.

Bernard H. Mehlman

Project
Soviet Jewry

Tamar Shachaf Schneider, Aaron Hersh, and Gabriel Weinstein interviewed Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman on November 1, 2016, in Brookline, Massachusetts, as part of the Soviet Jewry Oral History Project. Rabbi Mehlman shares his experiences delivering a heart valve in the USSR, arranging the evacuation of a refusenik, fundraising for Soviet emigre families, and providing support and education programs for newly arrived emigres at Temple Israel of Boston.

Sara Meirowitz

Project
Boston Women Rabbis

Lynne Himelstein interviewed Rabbi Sara Meirowitz on April 2, 2014, in Brookline, Massachusetts, as part of the Boston Women Rabbis Oral History Project. Rabbi Meirowitz discusses her journey to becoming a rabbi, influenced by her father, experiences at Yale University's Hillel, and time in Jerusalem while discussing her perspectives on Modern Orthodoxy and Israel.

Carol Michael

Project
Adult Bat Mitzvahs

Shayna Rhodes interviewed Carol Michael on February 23, 2005, in Brookline, Massachusetts, as part of JWA’s Adult Bat Mitzvah Oral History Project. Michael recounts her family background, her disconnection from Judaism, her son's disabilities, and her rediscovery of Judaism through her daughter's bat mitzvah, leading to her active participation in Jewish practices and community.

Hinda Miller

Project
DAVAR: Vermont Jewish Women's History Project

Ann Zinn Buffum and Sandra Stillman Gartner interviewed Hinda Miller on December 5, 2006, in Burlington, Vermont as part of DAVAR's Vermont Jewish Oral History Project. Miller details her family background, travels to Lithuania, Ireland, and England, growing up in Montreal, educational experiences, involvement in yoga and Kabbalah, inventing the sports bra, political career as a state senator, and reflections on her family and Jewish identity.

Jeremy Morrison

Project
Soviet Jewry

Tamar Shachaf Schneider interviewed Rabbi Jeremy Morrison on November 8, 2016, in Brookline, Massachusetts, as part of the Soviet Jewry Oral History Project. Rabbi Morrison recounts his involvement with the Reform Youth Federation of Temple Israel (RYFTI), collecting furniture for Joseph Gilbo's apartment and his experiences with Russian customs, as well as delivering a film on behalf of the Charneys in their bugged apartment in Moscow and a visit to Riga.

Dorothy Muscatel

Project
Weaving Women's Words

Roz Bornstein interviewed Dorothy Muscatel on April 12 and April 19, 2001, in Seattle, Washington, as part of the Weaving Women's Words Oral History Project. Muscatel shares her family background, her father's community involvement, her upbringing in Seattle, her early engagement in charity work, her active role in Jewish organizations, the challenges of motherhood, and her current health condition.

Blanche Narodick

Project
Weaving Women's Words

Pamela Brown Lavitt interviewed Blanche Narodick on June 6, 2001, in Seattle, Washington for the Weaving Women's Words Oral History Project. Narodick reflects on her childhood, education, professional life in Chicago, marriage, involvement with Jewish organizations, experiences during World War Two, work with the American Red Cross, friendships, and personal philosophy on life.

Joan Nathan

Project
Washington D.C. Stories

Deborah Ross interviewed Joan Nathan on July 12, 2011, in Washington, DC, as part of the Washington D.C. Stories Oral History Project. Nathan reflects on the significance of food to Jewish life, as she recounts her career as a cookbook author, cultural historian, and food writer who combines recipes with stories to educate about Jewish life, tradition, and history.

Yossi Nemes

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Rabbi Yossi Nemes on July 13, 2006, in Metairie, Louisiana, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Rabbi Nemes recounts his experiences during Hurricane Katrina, including hiding in his flooded house, escaping to Memphis with help from the Jewish community, and his acts of kindness, while discussing Hasidic teachings and faith.

Ann Lustig Nieder

Project
Weaving Women's Words

Roz Bornstein interviewed Ann Lustig Nieder on July 11, 2001, in Seattle, Washington, as part of the Weaving Women's Words Oral History Project. Nieder reflects on her childhood, family traditions, experiences at school and camp, community service work, and her role as a mother and grandmother, ending with the loss of her husband and life as a widow.

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.

Suzanne Offit

Project
Boston Women Rabbis

Ronda Spinak interviewed Rabbi Suzanne Offit on March 26, 2014, in Newton, Massachusetts, as part of the Boston Women Rabbis Project. Suzanne began her rabbinical studies around the age of forty and shares her journey of embracing her Jewish identity, discusses her work in end-of-life care, including a special encounter with Charlotte Bloomberg and the subsequent grant to Hebrew College, and reflects on the transformation of her marriage and spiritual practices throughout her rabbinical education.

Zoe Oreck

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Zoe Oreck on July 3, 2007, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Oreck, an eighteen-year-old resident of New Orleans, reflects on her displacement during Hurricane Katrina, her temporary life in Houston, and her changed perspective on government, community, spirituality, and Jewish social life.

Sophie Oreck

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Sophie Oreck on July 2, 2007, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Sophie shares her school life, experiences during Hurricane Katrina, finding stability in soccer, benefiting from her connected Jewish family, and her Jewish life, including her bat mitzvah, trips to Israel, and passion for Jewish history.

Julie Wise Oreck

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Julie Wise Oreck was interviewed by Rosalind Hinton, on July 2, 2007, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Oreck discusses her Jewish upbringing, involvement in Jewish organizations, and her active role in the recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina, expressing frustration with the government's response but not attributing it to racism.

Larry Orlansky

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Larry Orlansky on January 27, 2008, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Orlansky talks about his Jewish upbringing in Greenville, Mississippi, his involvement in the local Jewish community, his experience working at a Reform Jewish summer camp, his college years and legal career, the impact of Hurricane Katrina on his life, and the resilience of New Orleans and its Jewish community.

Joshua Mann Pailet

Project
Katrina's Jewish Voices

Rosalind Hinton interviewed Joshua Pailet on August 2, 2007, in New Orleans, as part of the Katrina's Jewish Voices Oral History Project. Pailet reflects on his childhood, artistic journey, the atmosphere of New Orleans, his firsthand experience of Hurricane Katrina, participation in the "Torah rescue," the rebuilding process, the importance of grassroots efforts, and his strengthened Jewish identity

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Oral History Collection." (Viewed on November 28, 2023) <https://jwa.org/oralhistories>.

Birth City

Type

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

Read the latest from JWA from your inbox.

sign up now