Online History Courses

JWA presents virtual courses with scholars of Jewish women’s history, delving into the lives, challenges, choices, and innovations of Jewish women who changed our story. Each course is centered on a unique theme and consists of four to six sessions facilitated by experts in the field. Sessions are designed to stand alone, so participants can attend as many evenings as they'd like. No advanced reading or preparation required.


June 2022—Jewish Women in Film and Television

Thursday, June 2, 8 PM ET—Judy Holliday: Jewish Assimilation and 1950s Hollywood: Dr. Elyce Helford will explore Holliday's approaches to navigating antisemitism and sexism in midcentury Hollywood, along with the way her Jewishness manifested in select roles.

Thursday, June 9, 8 PM ET—Big Mouths and Quiet Revolutionaries: Jewish Women in Film, 1970s-2010s: Focusing on Jewish women directors, Dr. Helene Meyers will examine key films from the 1970s to the 2010s, tracing continuity and change in the representation of Jewish women and gender relations.

Thursday, June 16, 8 PM ET—Beyond the Cliché: Changing Images of Jewish Women on Television: Dr. Joyce Antler will explore how the portrayal of Jewish women has changed across American television history.

Thursday, June 23, 8 PM ET—Penelope's Journey: Haredi Women on Israeli TV: Dr. Shayna Weiss will delve into what the portrayal of Haredi women in Israeli television can teach us about gender, culture, and religion in Israel.

Register here!


March 2022—Women in the Rabbinate

Session 1, March 2 — Rabbi Carole Balin speaks with Rabbi Sally Priesand about her groundbreaking ordination in 1972, its impact on the rabbinate, and the women who influenced her along the way.

Session 2, March 10 — Dr. Karla Goldman and Rabbi Laura Geller discuss Regina Jonas, the first woman known to have been ordained as a rabbi in 1935, who was nearly forgotten after her death in Auschwitz in 1944.

Session 3, March 17 — No OHC! Happy Purim! Instead, consider joining JWA and SAJ: Judaism That Stands for All for an event commemorating the 100th anniversary of the bat mitzvah.

Session 4, March 24 — Sara Gardner and Sigal Samuel will discuss Oznat Barzani (also spelled Asnat Barazani), a highly educated and respected Torah scholar and yeshiva leader in seventeenth-century Kurdistan.

Thursday, March 31 — Rabbi Angela Buchdahl of Central Synagogue and Dr. Judith Rosenbaum of JWA discuss the long history of Jewish women's religious leadership and Rabbi Buchdahl’s own pioneering path as the first Asian-American rabbi.


December 2021—The Hidden History of Jews and Reproductive Rights in America

Session 1, December 2— JWA CEO Dr. Judith Rosenbaum on the fight for birth control in New York City's immigrant community in the 1910s.

Session 2, December 9— JWA Director of Programs Dr. Betsy More on how Jewish feminists in the 1960s and 70s organized and fought for national child care centers.

Session 3, December 16— Dr. Rachel Kranson, Director of Jewish Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, on Jews and the politics of abortion after Roe v. Wade.

Session 4, December 23— Dr. Samira Mehta, Professor of Women and Gender Studies and of Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado, on Jewish reaction against birth control in the face of second wave feminism.


June 2021—Forgotten Lives

Session 1, Thursday, June 3: Doña Gracia Nasi, with Miriam Bodian, Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin

Session 2, Thursday, June 10: Stella Heinsheimer Freiberg, with Sarah Berman, Rabbi and Director of Adult Education at Central Synagogue in New York City

Session 3, Thursday, June 17: Miriam Karpilove, with Jessica Kirzane, Editor-in-Chief of In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies and translator of Miriam Karpilove’s Diary of a Lonely Girl

Session 4, Thursday, June 24: Leslie Feinberg, with Sasha T. Goldberg, who holds a PhD in Gender Studies at Indiana University and an MA in Judaism from The Graduate Theological Union


March 2021—Jewish Women, Race, and Ethnicity in America

Session 1, Thursday, March 4: Multiracial Jews in the Early United States, with Laura Arnold Leibman, Professor of English and Humanities at Reed College

Session 2, Thursday, March 11: Latina Jews in the United States, with Laura Limonic, Associate Professor of Sociology at SUNY Old Westbury

Session 3, Thursday, March 18: Sephardic Women in America, with Devi Mays, Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan

Session 4, Thursday, March 25: Black Jewish Women in Contemporary America, with Tema Smith, a diversity advocate, writer, and Jewish community builder


October 2020—Jewish Women's Activism in the United States

Session 1, Thursday, October 1: Jewish Women in the Labor Movement, with Annelise Orleck

Session 2, Thursday, October 8: Jewish Women and the Birth Control Movement, with Melissa Klapper

Session 3, Thursday, October 15: Jewish Women in the Civil Rights Movement, with Debra Schultz

Session 4, Thursday, October 22: Jewish Feminism, with Joyce Antler

Session 5, Thursday, October 29: Jewish Women and LGBTQ Activism, with Marla Brettschneider

Session 6, Thursday, November 5: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Legal Feminism, with Alison Lefkovitz


August 2020—Jewish Women You Thought You Knew (or Never Knew!)

Session 1, Thursday, August 6: Golda Meir, with Francine Klagsbrun

Session 2, Thursday, August 13: Bertha Pappenheim, with Marion Kaplan

Session 3, Thursday, August 20: Sarah Schenirer, with Naomi Seidman

Session 4, Thursday, August 27: Bella Abzug, with Leandra Zarnow


JWA’s online history courses were established with help from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of NEH.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Online History Courses." (Viewed on August 18, 2022) <https://jwa.org/teach/online-history-courses>.

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