Rosa Mordecai

Rosa Mordecai created and ran a successful private school with her sisters, but her history of the first Hebrew Sunday school in America, run by her great-aunt, Rebecca Gratz, made a far greater impact on education. Mordecai was the daughter of Alfred Mordecai, the first Jewish graduate of West Point, who praised the power of education to open the doors of opportunity, and Sarah Hays Mordecai, niece of Rebecca Gratz. In the 1850s, Rosa attended the famed school her great-aunt had created, the first to offer American Jewish children an education on Jewish history and religion in English. At the time, most Jewish religious education took place in yeshivot and was for boys only. As an adult, with two of her sisters, Mordecai created a private school for girls in Philadelphia, which they ran for forty years. She wrote a vivid account in 1897 of her experience at Rebecca Gratz’s school which was reprinted several times and which helped preserve the history of what Gratz had accomplished.

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Date of Birth

Washington, DC
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rosa Mordecai ." (Viewed on May 13, 2021) <>.


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