Esther Leah Medalie Ritz
Esther Leah Medalie Ritz defended human rights throughout the myriad conflicts of the twentieth century, from fighting fascism in the 1930s to participating in Israeli-Palestinian dialogue in the 1980s. Ritz was the first female member of the editorial board of the Minnesota Daily, the largest student newspaper in the US, and wrote editorials on international relations and race issues. She also joined the Communist party to help fight fascism. After graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1940 she began an international relations program at Duke which was discontinued after Pearl Harbor. She married in 1945 and stayed home to raise a family, but returned to volunteer work and became the first woman president of the Milwaukee JCC and the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. She also served as vice president of the Council of Jewish Federations, president of the JCC Association and vice chair of Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, among other responsibilities. She also served on the boards of many organizations, including the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Americans for Peace Now, and the Shalom Hartman Institute. She joined the first dialogue between Jewish and Palestinian women leaders and was deeply involved in peace efforts.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Esther Leah Medalie Ritz." (Viewed on March 24, 2018) <https://jwa.org/people/ritz-esther>.