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This Week in History: Events in August

Linda Joy Holtzman

Congregation appoints first woman to serve as senior rabbi

August 1, 1979

Reconstructionist rabbi Linda Joy Holtzman became the first woman to lead a U.S. Jewish congregation when she was appointed the spiritual leader of the Coatesville, PA, Beth Israel Congregation.

Gabrielle Giffords

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returns to Congress to cast debt ceiling vote

August 1, 2011

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords made a triumphant return to Congress to cast her vote on the debt ceiling, seven months after being shot.

Lillian Copeland, circa 1930s

Lillian Copeland wins Olympic gold

August 2, 1932

Lillian Copeland won an Olympic gold medal in discus. At the previous Olympics, in 1928, she had won the silver in the same event. Her 1932 toss set a new world record.

Thumbnail of Rachel King on Shari Lewis, 2015

Puppeteer and TV star Shari Lewis dies

August 2, 1998

Children's television favorite Shari Lewis, a puppeteer who created the characters Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse, died.

Amy Loveman helps found "Saturday Review of Literature"

August 2, 1924

The first issue of the "Saturday Review of Literature," founded and edited by Amy Loveman, appeared.

Birth of fashion designer Anne Klein

August 3, 1923

Noted fashion designer Anne Klein was born.

Ruth Gruber, circa 1944

Ruth Gruber finds haven for 1,000 Holocaust refugees

August 3, 1944

American Jewish journalist Ruth Gruber arrived in New York harbor with 984 refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe, which concluded her secret mission to escort the refugees from Italy to America.

Inspiration for Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Ariel Glaser is born

August 4, 1981

Birth of Ariel Glaser, the child whose death inspired the Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

Ellen Rothman on Elena Kagan's Confirmation to the Supreme Court Thumbnail

Elena Kagan joins the Court

August 5, 2010

The first woman Solicitor General of the United States becomes the fourth female Supreme Court Justice.

Dinah Shore at the Miami Book Fair International, 1990

“Dinah Shore Show” debuts on NBC radio

August 6, 1939

A quintessential American girl, Dinah Shore mixed song and talk on the airwaves for over 50 years.

Steve Benson on Judith Crist Thumbnail

Death of film critic Judith Crist

August 7, 2012

“The critics who love are the severe ones. We know our relationship must be based on honesty.” - Movie critic Judith Crist

Gertrude Himmelfarb

Birth of conservative intellectual Gertrude Himmelfarb

August 8, 1922

Conservative intellectual Gertrude Himmelfarb was born.

Sylvia Sidney in "The Wagons Roll at Night," 1941

Actress Sylvia Sidney born

August 8, 1910

Actress Sylvia Sidney, who starred in 1930s-era films opposite Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant, was born.

Melissa Hayden

Death of prima ballerina Melissa Hayden

August 9, 2006

“Blunt honesty and generosity in [Melissa Hayden's] life and dancing, that was her name.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2004

Ruth Bader Ginsburg joins U.S. Supreme Court

August 10, 1993

Ruth Bader Ginsburg took her seat as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Dara Torres in Beijing, China, August 17, 2008

Swimmer Dara Torres qualifies for fourth Olympics

August 10, 2000

At the U.S. Olympic trials, swimmer Dara Torres qualified to compete in her fourth Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Eight years later, Torres made history again by competing in her fifth Olympics in Beijing.

Steve Benson on Hedy Lamarr Patenting the Basis for Wi-Fi Thumbnail

Actress Hedy Lamarr patents the basis for WiFi

August 11, 1942

“All creative people want to do the unexpected.” — Actress Hedy Lamarr

Judith Rosenbaum on Freedom Summer Letters Thumbnail

Ellen, Bonnie, Heather, and Sylvie write home from Freedom Summer

August 12, 1964

“Baby, it takes coming down here to grasp all this no matter how many books we’ve read.”

Medallion, 1936

Androgynous artist Gluck is born

August 13, 1895

The artist Gluck's will to define herself by her own standards extended not only to her name, but also to every aspect of her life.

Kohenet Ordainees

Kohenet: the Hebrew Priestess Institute, launches its first training institute in Accord, NY

August 14, 2006

Reclaiming Jewish ceremonies and holidays for feminists, training Hebrew Priestesses of all stripes, and publishing a Siddur (prayer book) that includes earth-based rituals, the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute is a new women’s movement in Judaism.

Gloria Steinem, 1972

Documentary "Gloria: In Her Own Words" premieres on HBO

August 15, 2011

The documentary Gloria: In Her Own Words, telling the story of the women’s movement as seen through the eyes of Gloria Steinem, premiered on HBO.

Tillie Olsen

"Tell Me a Riddle" reissued in paperback

August 15, 1971

A new paperback version of Tillie Olsen's classic short story collection "Tell Me a Riddle" was issued.

Wanda Landowska

Death of early music pioneer Wanda Landowska

August 16, 1959

Harpsichordist and composer Wanda Landowska, who was credited with the 20th-century revival of harpsichord music, died.

Judith Rosenbaum on the Death of Carolyn Goodman Thumbnail

Death of Carolyn Goodman, not just a Jewish mother

August 17, 2007

“I'm not looking for revenge, but I am looking for justice." - Carolyn Goodman

Phoebe Yates Pember

Birth of Confederate nurse Phoebe Yates Levy Pember

August 18, 1823

Phoebe Yates Levy Pember, who gained fame as a Richmond nurse during the Civil War, was born.

Sophie Maslow's Folksay, 2008

Premiere of Sophie Maslow's "The Village I Knew"

August 18, 1950

"The Village I Knew," choreographed by Sophie Maslow, was first performed.

Drisha Institute Student and Instructor

Drisha Institute graduates its first female Talmud scholars

August 18, 1996

The Drisha Institute for Jewish Education graduated its first class.

Vera Weisbord's "A Radical Life"

Birth of Vera Weisbord, Radical

August 19, 1895

Birth of Vera Weisbord, Radical

Jacqueline Susanne

Birth of novelist Jacqueline Susanne

August 20, 1921

Jacqueline Susann was the first writer to have three consecutive novels hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Fanny Brooks

Death of pioneer Fanny Brooks

August 21, 1901

Death of Pioneer Fanny Brooks

Lisa Batya Feld on Dorothy Parker Thumbnail

Birth of writer Dorothy Parker

August 22, 1893

Writer Dorothy Parker is born

Dietician Frances Stern connects nutrition to social welfare

August 23, 1914

Pioneering dietician and educator Frances Stern published an article on the importance of nutrition education in the "Boston Globe."

Eugenia Levy Phillips

Union troops arrest Confederate spy Eugenia Levy Phillips

August 24, 1861

Eugenia Levy Phillips was arrested as a Confederate spy.

German-language "Die Deborah" first published

August 24, 1855

The first issue of "Die Deborah," a German-language newspaper focused on serving women's interests, was published.

Gail Greenberg Shapiro

Death of pediatric allergist Gail Greenberg Shapiro

August 25, 2006

Dr. Gail G. Shapiro treated over 36,000 asthma patients over 31 years of work at the same hospital.

Judith Rosenbaum on the "Women's Strike for Equality" Thumbnail

"Women Strike for Equality"

August 26, 1970

A massive "Women Strike for Equality" march in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the 19th amendment took place in New York City and other cities.

Three generations of activist Seaman family mark 10th anniversary of Women's Strike for Equality

August 26, 1980

Three generations of activist Seaman family marched together in the tenth anniversary celebration of the New York Women's Strike for Equality.

Death of Hadassah activist Alice Seligsberg

August 27, 1940

Hadassah activist Alice Seligsberg died.

Hayley Fields and Jackie Gothard

New Torah scroll presented to the Beth Israel Synagogue in New Orleans

August 27, 2006

Jackie Gothard thanks Hayley Fields for Torah scroll on behalf of Beth Israel Synagogue in New Orleans.

Steve Benson on the Launch of JWA's Virtual Archive Thumbnail

Launch of the Jewish Women's Archive's Virtual Archive

August 28, 1997

The launch of a Virtual Archive as one of the first major public programs of the Jewish Women's Archive was described in an article in Boston's "Jewish Advocate."

Conference on Alternatives in Jewish Education (CAJE) Logo

First CAJE Conference

August 29, 1976

The first Conference on Alternatives in Jewish Education began.

Louise Elisabeth Glück

Louise Glück named Poet Laureate

August 29, 2003

Louise Glück was named poet laureate of the United States.

Judith Resnik in Space, September 8, 1984

Judith Resnik becomes first Jewish American astronaut and second woman in space

August 30, 1984

Judith Resnik joined the crew of the maiden flight of the orbiter Discovery

Rabbi Bonnie Koppell

Rabbi and military chaplain Bonnie Koppell profiled

August 31, 1990

Rabbi Bonnie Koppell, the first female Jewish chaplain in the U.S. military, was profiled in the "Omaha Jewish Press."

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "This Week in History: Events in August." (Viewed on January 23, 2018) <>.


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