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Rising Voices Fellow Sofia Gardenswartz Reading Grace Paley

Paley’s Power on the Daily

by 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

by 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

by 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"

by  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.

Top 10 Moments for Jewish Women in 2011

by Jewesses With Attitude
10. We celebrated the 40th anniversary of Our Bodies, Ourselves
Top 10 Jewish Women in Labor History

10 Things You Should Know About Emma Lazarus

by  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

by  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

by  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

The modern movement of Zionism began in the nineteenth century and had as its goal the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. American Zionism consistently portrayed the movement as faithful to democratic and social ideals and argued that the highest ideal of Zionism—social justice for the persecuted remnants of the Jewish people in Europe and elsewhere—was identical with the ethos that animated the American nation. Jewish women were active participants in American Zionism from the earliest years of the movement on these shores.

Television in the United States

American Jewish women have a complex history of association with the medium of television. Since emerging as a mass medium in the early post–World War II years, television has figured prominently in the careers of a number of American Jewish women working both before and behind the camera.

Sephardi Women in the United States

Sephardic Jews constitute only a small proportion of American Jewry. Although they comprised the majority of American Jewry during the colonial period, that majority never exceeded twenty-five hundred prior to the American Revolution. By the nineteenth century, the Sephardi community was vastly outnumbered by Ashkenazim. Nevertheless, a few outstanding Sephardi personalities captured public notice.

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.

Emma Lazarus

“Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” proclaims the “Mother of Exiles” in Emma Lazarus’s sonnet “The New Colossus.” Her best-known contribution to mainstream American literature and culture, the poem has contributed to the belief that America means opportunity and freedom for Jews, as well as for other “huddled masses.” Through this celebration of the “other,” Lazarus conveyed her deepest loyalty to the best of both America and Judaism.

Jewish Women and Jewish Music in America

American Jewish music has expanded vastly in variety, range, and quality of activities. Jews brought to America their secular-folk and sacred-liturgical musical heritage. There has been a renascence of age-old traditions that have become means of self-expression for Jewish women.

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.

Emma Lazarus Federation of Jewish Women's Clubs

The Emma Lazarus Federation of Jewish Women’s Clubs (ELF), a progressive women’s group, grew out of the Emma Lazarus Division, founded in 1944 by the Women’s Division of the Jewish People’s Fraternal Order of the International Workers Order (IWO). Formed to provide relief to wartime victims, but especially to combat antisemitism and racism and to nurture positive Jewish identification through a broad program of Jewish education and women’s rights, the Emma Lazarus Division attracted a membership of leftist, largely Yiddish-speaking women, many of the immigrant generation. Among its founders was Clara Lemlich Shavelson, the young woman who had called for the general strike of garment workers that sparked the 1909 Uprising Of The 20,000. Shavelson and other organizers believed that, because of the Holocaust, thousands of women had become “newly aware of themselves as Jewish women,” but they urgently needed “history, self-knowledge as Jews, and cultural products” that could sustain the fight against fascism. In its early years, the division offered fellowships for fiction and history on Jewish themes. It also supported a home for French war orphans and a day nursery in Israel, and championed a broad range of women’s issues.

Emma Lazarus's Audacity of Hope

by  Jordan Namerow

While many Americans are still relishing in a renewed surge of hope (myself among them), I thought I'd give a shout-out to Emma Lazarus. Her memory became forever associated with her powerful vision of America as a symbol of hope and possibility for the down-trodden. Today marks the 121st anniversary of Emma's untimely death, at the age of 38.

Topics: Poetry
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