Dora Askowith tried to galvanize Jewish students into social activism and leadership by teaching them the history of their faith. Askowith earned degrees in history and political science from Barnard and Columbia before beginning a 45-year teaching career at Hunter College in 1912. She also taught at the New School for Social Research and various schools, synagogues, and organizations on cultural, political, and religious history and philosophy. She published books on topics ranging from the position of Jews in the Roman Empire to biographies of modern Jewish women, using both her writing and her teaching to discuss Zionism, suffrage, and eliminating poverty, mining history for examples of positive role models for social action. She founded the Hunter Menorah Society, a forerunner of campus Hillel associations, as well as the Women’s Organization for the American Jewish Congress, serving as their first national director. In 1917, she articulated the AJC’s Women’s Organization’s mission in A Call to Jewish Women of America, arguing that Jewish women should draw on the examples of the long history of Jewish heroines to fight for equal rights for women and for Jews.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Dora Askowith." (Viewed on June 26, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/askowith-dora>.