Emma Lazarus

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Esther Luria

Esther Luria was a freelance journalist whose work appeared in many politically left-of-center Yiddish publications in the early twentieth-century United States. A socialist, a feminist, and a political activist, she was also an educator. She used her columns not only to advocate for the ideas in which she believed, but also to provide her mainly east European immigrant readers with a better understanding of their new environment.

Rising Voices Fellow Sofia Gardenswartz Reading Grace Paley

Paley’s Power on the Daily

Sofia Gardenswartz

Last year, my AP English class read the short prose poem “Mother” by Grace Paley. What struck me the most was its mundane nature. This is a characteristic of nearly all of Paley’s work; she wrote in detail about the daily lives of women—a topic that, when she was writing in the 1940’s, was viewed as tangential to the “real” work of male authors writing bestsellers like The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) or The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton). 

Topics: Schools, Poetry
Emma Lazarus

Lazarus’ Lessons

Sofia Heller

Emma Lazarus was a 19th century Jewish American writer whose poem “The New Colossus,” engraved on Lady Liberty’s platform, embraces immigrants as they enter the United States. Though she was from an upper class family, Lazarus defied societal restrictions and norms and dared others to do the same.

Topics: Immigration, Poetry
Emma Lazarus

Mining the Archive: Emma and Immigration

Yana Kozukhin

Long before Emma Lazarus’ words were immortalized on that great copper statue, she was a young Jewish American girl growing up in New York. Throughout her life she produced numerous poems, essays, letters, translations, and even a novel.  

Topics: Activism, Poetry

Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus’s famous poem “The New Colossus” helped the Statue of Liberty greet millions, but still reflected her experience of the mixed welcome that minorities faced in America.

Another Emma "Makes Trouble"

Deborah Fineblum Raub

Pregnant women take note: There’s something about the name “Emma” that turns a girl into a prizefighter swinging her fists for human––often specifically women’s––rights, or, as we like to say here at the Jewish Women's Archive, a “troublemaker” in the best sense of the word.

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Top 10 Jewish Women in Labor History

10 Things You Should Know About Emma Lazarus

Leah Berkenwald

Emma Lazarus was born in 1849 to Moses and Esther Nathan Lazarus, descendants of the pioneering group of Spanish and Portuguese Jews who settled in New Amsterdam in the mid 1600s.

Top 10 Jewish Women in Labor History

The Top 10 Jewish Women in Labor History

Leah Berkenwald

Though we at JWA celebrate women’s history all year round, March brings us the great opportunity of Women’s History Month.

Emma Lazarus

One of the first successful Jewish American authors, Lazarus was part of the late nineteenth century New York literary elite and was recognized in her day as an important American poet. In her later years, she wrote bold, powerful poetry and essays protesting the rise of antisemitism and arguing for Russian immigrants' rights. She called on Jews to unite and create a homeland in Palestine before the title Zionist had even been coined.

"Only in America" poll results

Judith Rosenbaum

The results are in from the National Museum of American Jewish History's poll to select the 18 individuals to be featured in their "Only in America" Hall of Fame. The results are not too surprising.

Emma Lazarus dies at age 38

November 19, 1887

When Emma Lazarus died on November 19, 1887 at the age of 38, the obituary published in the New York Times referred to her as “an American Poet o

Emma Lazarus writes "The New Colossus"

November 2, 1883

A manuscript copy of Emma Lazarus's famous sonnet, “The New Colossus,” bears the date November 2, 1883.

Ruth Gruber finds haven for 1,000 Holocaust refugees

August 3, 1944

When President Roosevelt decided to accept a thousand European immigrants in the midst of World War II and the Holocaust, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes chose the Jewish-American writer and

Zionism in the United States

Jewish women constructed an approach to American Zionism that reflected their own unique position in American and Jewish society, employing the category of gender as a variable in the historical analysis of American Zionism. A complex interplay of gender, social class, and religio-ethnic culture shaped the ways in which women helped to direct the course of Zionism in America.

Television in the United States

Jewish women have had a long-standing, complex, often fraught relation to American television. They have had to battle a male-dominated production system and sexist stereotypes, but also have seen significant advances, in front of and behind the screen, resulting from the cable and streaming revolutions and third-wave feminist activism.  

Jessie Ethel Sampter

Jessie Ethel Sampter was a Zionist pioneer, helping found kibbutzim and becoming one of Israel’s first modern poets. Sampter’s early interest in ethical culture, pacifism, and Zionism led her to Henrietta Szold, who became her friend and mentor.

Poetry in the United States

The contributions of Jewish women poets to American literary history and political activism, as well as to the enrichment of Jewish culture and practice, are astounding. Many Jewish women poets write with a strong sense of social responsibility and a desire to create poetry that can shape reality, drawing on the Jewish teachings of  tikkun olam.

Eve Merriam

Eve Merriam was an accomplished poet and playwright, best known for her books of children’s poetry that are beloved by audiences of all ages. Her life and career centered around New York, where she used her keen critical eye and unique tactile style to create poems and plays about urban life, social justice, feminism, and more. 

Rebecca Touro Lopez

Rebecca Touro Lopez successfully appealed to the Rhode Island State Legislature to preserve the Touro Synagogue of Newport, one of the first cases of the government preserving an unoccupied historic building. The synagogue was restored and became a National Historic Site. Lopez requested a Newport burial and was interred in the cemetery of the synagogue she had fought to preserve.

Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus (1849-1887), an internationally known poet and essayist, created the role of the American Jewish writer. She lent her voice to the Statue of Liberty to enunciate a vision for America, but she herself was in no doubt about the Jewish roots of her vision in tikkun olam (repairing the world) through righteousness, justice, and compassion.

Josephine Lazarus

Josephine Lazarus was an American Sephardi essayist and literary critic. Her writings exploring issues of Jewish destiny and identity were widely published in leading journals across the country. She is the best known of the poet Emma Lazarus’s five sisters.

Jewish Women and Jewish Music in America

From the Yiddish music theater of the late nineteenth century, to both the liturgical and secular music of the twentieth century, American Jewish women have continually and increasingly made their mark on American music as composers, singers, instrumentalists, educators, and patrons.

Fiction in the United States

Literature by American Jewish women reflects historical trends in American Jewish life and indicates the changing issues facing writers who worked to position themselves as Americans, Jews, and women.

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