Rosa Sonneschein

Rosa Sonneschein created the American Jewess, the first English-language magazine for Jewish women in the United States. Sonneschein organized the Pioneers, a local St. Louis literary society for Jewish women, and wrote for German-language newspapers before her divorce in 1893, which left her with no alimony, made journalism her main means of support. She covered the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, taking part in the Jewish Women’s Congress and the creation of the National Council of Jewish Women, and argued for the need for a magazine addressed to American Jewish women. In 1895, she began editing the American Jewess and also served as its publisher for the first year. Over the course of the journal’s four-year run, Sonneschein published articles advocating for Zionism, women’s involvement in synagogue life and the Jewish community, and the importance of ritual observance. While she praised the existence of the NCJW, she wanted the organization to focus on the causes most important to her and voiced her frustration when they had different priorities. The American Jewess folded in 1899, but in its brief run, it served as an important support for the growing network of Jewish women’s clubs and organizations in America.


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An ardent Zionist and advocate for an expanded role for women in the synagogue and religious community, Rosa Sonneschein founded and edited The American Jewess, which gave her a forum for those views.

Institution: The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, OH, and the State Historical Society, MO

Date of Birth


Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rosa Sonneschein." (Viewed on March 4, 2021) <>.


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