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Jean Jaffe

Jean Jaffe’s career was doubly remarkable: she was a field reporter at a time when women were usually relegated to the society pages and a Yiddish-language journalist at a time when most American reporters wrote in English. Jaffe began writing for Der Yidishes Tageblat at age sixteen and quickly developed an audience for her work at various liberal Yiddish papers, including Der Amerikaner and Di Fraye Arbeter Shtime (an anarchist periodical with a literary bent). In 1920 she became a staff reporter for Der Tog, where she would earn a reputation as one of the leading Yiddish journalists of her time. Jaffe refused to be pigeonholed, writing on subjects ranging from art and theater to politics. She travelled to Poland on the eve of WWII and was one of the first reporters to do stories from displaced persons camps after the war. In the 1950s she followed Yemenite Jews fleeing to Israel, and in 1956 covered the Hungarian uprising. Yet she also contributed to the women’s section of Der Morgen Zhurnal under a pseudonym, wrote for various Yiddish papers around the world, and worked on the editorial board of Pioneer Woman, a Labor Zionist periodical. She died of a heart attack while traveling to India.

Jean Jaffe circa 1940
Full image
Jean Jaffe circa 1940.
Courtesy of the Forward Association.
Date of Birth
April 20, 1900
Place of Birth
Date of Death
November 20, 1958

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jean Jaffe." (Viewed on March 21, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/jaffe-jean>.


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