Browse this section for short profiles of some of the thousands of Jewish women found throughout jwa.org. We will be adding new profiles to this section regularly and welcome your suggestions for women to add.
A star of the avant-garde Vilna Troupe, Bella Bellarina was beloved on the Yiddish stage but faded to obscurity when her lack of English prevented her from transitioning to mainstream theater.
A renowned expert in Israeli labor law, Ruth Ben Israel drafted the legislation for Israel’s minimum wage and equal opportunity laws.
Although she began her writing career very late in life, Netiva Ben Yehuda transformed the Israeli literary scene with her explosive Palmah trilogy.
Interweaving her personal experiences with nature imagery and Jewish legends, Rivka Basman Ben-Hayim became one of Israel’s most celebrated Yiddish poets.
Hemdah Ben-Yehuda collaborated with her husband, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, to revive ancient Hebrew and make it a truly functional living language.
Long before she became First Lady of Israel, Rahel Yanait Ben-Zvi shaped the country by helping create many of its most important organizations.
Rose I. Bender’s work as a Zionist leader reached its high point when she became the first female executive director of the Zionist Organization of Philadelphia in 1945.
When her husband was murdered during Freedom Summer in 1964 in Mississippi, Rita Levant Schwerner Bender used the ensuing media attention to focus the public’s awareness on the importance of civil rights.
Therese Benedek was a pioneer of women’s psychosexual psychology, doing groundbreaking research on the connections between women’s hormones and their emotions.
Drawn to sports by her recovery from childhood illness, Senda Berenson became known as the “Mother of Women’s Basketball.”
Margarete Berent fought for acceptance as the first female lawyer to practice in Prussia and began her career again from scratch after fleeing Nazi persecution.
Gertrude Berg was the lead actress and driving force behind The Goldbergs, which successfully made the leap from radio plays to national television and brought a Jewish family into mainstream American homes.
Lili Berger’s experiences in the Holocaust heavily influenced her choices as a Yiddish writer and translator, focusing on the tensions outsiders face in different societies.
As executive editor for DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, Karen Berger helped change the tone of mainstream comics, championing complex, challenging stories like Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta.
High jumper Gretel Bergmann’s Olympic hopes were dashed when Nazi officials both refused to let her leave Germany and refused to let her compete in the 1936 Games.
Playfully titling her 1978 memoir Greatly Admired and Often Cursed, Elisabeth Bergner was famed both as the actress whom writers felt best captured their characters and as a former spy who helped other actors escape Nazi Germany.
Libbie Suchoff Berkson was loved by generations of campers as Aunt Libbie, director of Camp Modin for girls.
Beatrice Berler went back to school at age 45, becoming an award-winning translator of Spanish novels and history as well as an activist for adult literacy.
One of the first Jewish women to practice medicine in the US, Fanny Berlin overcame countless obstacles to become the respected chief surgeon of a major hospital.
Resisting taboos around discussing death, Rochel Udovich Berman has worked to educate people on Jewish funerary practices and encourage them to participate in the mitzvah of caring for the dead.
A Jewish writer exploring her outsider identity in largely Catholic Mexico, Sabina Berman was the first writer to win the Mexican Theater Prize four times.
Gail Berman made history as part of the youngest team of producers in Broadway history before becoming a television executive known for her genius in picking hit shows and turning failing networks around.
Sociologist Jessie Bernard anticipated feminist theory by discussing the differences between men’s and women’s experiences and arguing that quantitative studies did not accurately represent women’s stories.
Through her novels, Anne Bernays explored the Jewish experience of America, the pressures of assimilation, and the then-taboo subject of sexual harassment.
World-renowned pianist Yara Bernette reached the pinnacle of her career in 1972 when she was chosen from 130 candidates to head the piano program at the Hamburg Music and Performing Arts School.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Profiles." (Viewed on February 20, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people>.