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Ellen Frankel

The first woman to run a major Jewish publishing house, Ellen Frankel revived the faltering Jewish Publication Society, making it once again a vital publisher of popular Jewish scholarship. Frankel earned a PhD in comparative literature in 1978 at Princeton University, where she taught writing classes to Princeton staff, and later served as an editor for the B’nai B’rith Book Club. She became editor-in-chief of JPS in 1991 and CEO in 1998, restructuring their financial operations, reviving their editorial committee, and cultivating relationships with important scholars and writers. Many of the books she shepherded through publication were honored with National Jewish Book Awards for their contribution to Jewish American discourse. Frankel herself has written a number of books for children and adults, from Tough Choices for Today’s Teens, which she wrote with her teenage daughter, to The Five Books of Miriam, a creative and scholarly feminist commentary on the Bible. In 2000 she also began writing libretti for concert pieces and operas, including the Women of Valor suite, highlighting noted biblical women, and Slaying the Dragon, an opera depicting the true story of a Klansman who gave up bigotry through his friendship with a rabbi.

More on: Publishing
Date of Birth
May 22, 1951
Place of Birth
New York, New York

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ellen Frankel ." (Viewed on January 20, 2018) <>.


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