Women’s Benevolent Societies - Lesson Plan for Adults

This lesson plan is part of a larger Go & Learn guide entitled “Benevolent Societies and Tzedakah.”

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Note to Teacher/Facilitator

This lesson may be particularly fitting for a group of women volunteers/professionals.


Read (or describe highlights) from the background essay on Jewish women’s charitable institutions.

Together, look at and discuss the 1921 “New Year’s Wish” cover of The Jewish Woman, the journal of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW).

  • What do we learn about the NCJW (and it’s members) from the images and text on this journal cover?
  • If your organization had a journal, what would be written on your four banners?

Why Create Women's Organizations?

Read the Excerpt from “An Interview With Mrs. Hannah G. Solomon” from The American Hebrew, April 23, 1920).

Discuss the excerpt from the Solomon interview:

  • Why did women create all-female organizations based primarily on charity and religion?
  • What were the advantages and disadvantages of the organization being for women only?
  • Consider Jewish women’s organizations today. Which Jewish organizations are all-women? What are their missions?
  • Are there still similar advantages and disadvantages to these organizations being exclusively for women?
  • Do you think the work of these organizations is more or less meaningful because they are run by and for women?

Read and discuss this excerpt from Ann G. Wolfe’s 1975 speech “No Room at the Top.” Explain that Wolfe was the head of the American Jewish Committee’s programs on the status of women in the Jewish community. Then ask:

  • Do you believe there is still an important place for all-female organizations, or do you believe that women’s organizations are, or should be, primarily a historical phenomenon?

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women’s Benevolent Societies - Lesson Plan for Adults ." (Viewed on January 20, 2021) <https://jwa.org/teach/golearn/oct05/adult>.


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