Our stories give us hope in challenging times. Support JWA by Dec. 31.
Close [x]

Show [+]

Mathilde Schechter

Content type

Creation of Women's League of the United Synagogue

January 21, 1918

Five years to the day after the creation of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, Conservative synagogue siste

Mathilde Schechter

Mathilde Schechter, wife of Solomon Schechter, founded the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism. She was a multifaceted individual, creative both in her home and in the public arena. As an organizational person, she developed herself fully, in line with the traditional women’s roles of the times yet stretching them in new and creative ways.

Hadassah in the United States

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, has been the largest Zionist organization in the world, one of the largest American women’s volunteer organizations, American Jews’ largest mass-membership organization, and probably the most active Jewish women’s organization ever.

Women's League for Conservative Judaism

Women’s League for Conservative Judaism (WLCJ), founded in 1918, is the national organization of Conservative sisterhoods. Throughout its history WLCJ has foregrounded women’s education and engagement in order to enrich the spiritual and religious lives of Conservative/Masorti women and to empower them as leaders in their homes, synagogues, and communities.

Dora Spiegel

Dora Spiegel served in many fields, including education, the organization of league sisterhoods, and publications stimulating women’s loyalty to the synagogue and the Jewish home. She helped found the Women’s Institute of Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, influencing the lives of countless Jewish women and children.

Deborah Marcus Melamed

Deborah Marcus Melamed encouraged Jewish women to form their own relationship with Jewish practice through her 1927 book The Three Pillars, an interpretive guide to rituals and customs. Melamed also served as vice president of the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism from 1920 to 1930 or 1932.

Anne Lapidus Lerner

Anne Lapidus Lerner is a pioneering scholar of Jewish women’s studies and was the first woman vice chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Lerner has established and fostered a long-lasting legacy through the teaching and mentorship of generations of students and dedication to Jewish learning. In 2017 she was awarded the Mathilde Schechter Award by the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism.

Fanny Binswanger Hoffman

Fanny Binswager Hoffman was an early twentieth-century educator and philanthropist who served as the second president of the National Women’s League, later known as the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism.

Adele Ginzberg

Known as “Mama G.” by generations of admirers, Adele Ginzberg was an influential figure in the Conservative Movement as wife of the famed Louis Ginzberg, professor of Talmud at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and was an active member of the National Women’s League of the United Synagogue. Ginzberg was a role model and inspiration to rabbinical students and women leaders and an early supporter of equal rights for women in synagogue rituals.

Conservative Judaism in the United States

Women have played a pivotal role in propelling the Conservative Movement to confront essential issues including Jewish education and gender equality. The Movement’s attention to issues such as the religious education of Jewish girls, the status of the agunah (deserted wife), equal participation of women in ritual, the ordination of women, and innovations in liturgy and ritual to speak to women’s experiences has helped to shape the self-definition of Conservative Judaism, and has enabled talented Jewish women to reach new heights in religious leadership.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

Read the latest from JWA from your inbox.

sign up now