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This Week in History: Events in December

Women of the Wall Prayer Service in Gan Miriam, Jerusalem

Israeli and American Jewish women read Torah at the Western Wall

December 1, 1988

A group of Israeli and American Jewish women conducted public worship including a Torah service at the Western Wall of the ancient temple in Jerusalem.

Filmmaker Mildred Brenner-Pollner Recognized by Columbia University

December 1, 2011

Filmmaker Mildred Brenner-Pollner Recognized by Columbia University

Touro Synagogue

Newly dedicated Newport Synagogue introduces an open-view women's gallery

December 2, 1763

The new synagogue dedicated in Newport, Rhode Island introduced a design that reflected women's changing status in "new world" Judaism.

Harriet Fleischl Pilpel

Birth of Harriet Fleischl Pilpel, pioneer for the right to privacy and free speech

December 2, 1911

Lawyer Harriet Fleischl Pilpel provides the historical link between birth control activist Margaret Sanger and feminist Betty Friedan.

Anzia Yezierska, July 3, 1922

Los Angeles film debut of Anzia Yezierska's "Hungry Hearts"

December 3, 1922

The film "Hungry Hearts," based on a book of short stories by author Anzia Yezierska, opened in Los Angeles.

Tehilla Lichtenstein becomes leader of Society of Jewish Science

December 4, 1938

Tehilla Lichtenstein first took the pulpit as the spiritual leader of the Society of Jewish Science, becoming the first woman to lead an American Jewish congregation.

Camille Levin

Stanford wins NCAA College Cup with help from Jewish soccer star, Camille Levin

December 4, 2011

Stanford soccer star Camille Levin set up the winning goal in the NCAA College Cup championship game.

Market at Minho by Sonia Delaunay, 1915

Sonia Delaunay, prolific artist, dies in Paris at 94

December 5, 1979

Sonia Delaunay (who died on this date in 1979) was in on the birth of several art movements—Dadaism, Surrealism, Cubism, Fauvism, Futurism.

Birth of essayist and suffragist Nina Morais Cohen

December 6, 1855

Birth of Nina Morais Cohen, who published many articles on the rights of Jewish women and became an active suffragist and Jewish communal leader in Minneapolis.

Hannah Greenebaum Solomon

Death of Hannah Greenebaum Solomon, First President of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)

December 7, 1942

Founder and first president of the National Council of Jewish Women in 1893, Hannah Greenebaum Solomon (who died on this date in 1942) represented a generation of middle-class Jewish women who paved the road for women’s voice in the public affairs of the Jewish community.

Mary Antin

Immigrant Mary Antin packs the house at the Waldorf Astoria.

December 8, 1912

Mary Antin writes, “I was born, I have lived, and I have been made over. Is it not time to write my life’s story?”

Dr. Rosalyn S. Yalow

Dr. Rosalyn S. Yalow becomes first American-born woman to receive Nobel Prize in science

December 8, 1977

Dr. Rosalyn S. Yalow accepted the Nobel Prize in medicine. At the Nobel banquet, she delivered a speech condemning continued discrimination against women working in traditionally male fields.

Empire State Building Tribute to NCJW on December 8 and 9, 2003

Empire State Building lights up to celebrate NCJW

December 8, 2003

The Empire State Building marked the 110th Anniversary of the founding of The National Council of Jewish Women, on December 8 and 9, 2003 with NCJW-inspired illumination.

"I Am Woman" Album Cover, Helen Reddy

Helen Reddy’s "I Am Woman" tops the charts

December 9, 1972

“I Am Woman” was the only song Reddy would ever write, but it was enough for millions of listeners.

Dr. Gerty Theresa Radnitz Cori and Carl Ferdinand Cori in the Lab

Dr. Gerty Theresa Radnitz Cori wins Nobel Prize

December 10, 1947

Dr. Gerty Theresa Radnitz Cori became the first American woman to receive a Nobel Prize in science.

"The Collected Stories" by Grace Paley, 1998

Birth of author Grace Paley

December 11, 1922

Grace Paley, author, feminist and "somewhat combative pacifist and cooperative anarchist," was born in the Bronx.

Helen Frankenthaler, 1956

“Soak-stain” artist Helen Frankenthaler is born

December 12, 1928

“The only rule is that there are no rules. Anything is possible." - Artist Helen Frankenthaler

Paula Ackerman

Paula Ackerman becomes "spiritual leader" of Temple Beth Israel of Meridian, Mississippi

December 12, 1950

Paula Ackerman became the interim "spiritual leader" of Temple Beth Israel in Meridian, Mississippi, demonstrating that a woman could serve in a rabbinical role.

Birth of “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” author Lillian Roth

December 13, 1910

Birth of “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” author Lillian Roth

Steve Benson on Lillian Hellman thumbnail

Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour" is banned in Boston

December 14, 1935

Boston's Mayor Frederick Mansfield banned production of Lillian Hellman's play "The Children's Hour."

Anne Frank

Dramatization of Anne Frank's diary broadcast on the radio

December 14, 1952

The first radio dramatization of Anne Frank's diary was broadcast.

"A Muriel Rukeyser Reader"

Birth of poet Muriel Rukeyser

December 15, 1913

Birth of poet and activist Muriel Rukeyser.

Janet Rosenberg Jagan

Janet Jagan elected president of Guyana

December 15, 1997

Janet Jagan was elected as president of Guyana, becoming the first American-born woman to be elected leader of any country.

"Heather Has Two Mommies," 1989

Lesléa Newman publishes groundbreaking children’s book, Heather Has Two Mommies

December 16, 1989

Lesléa Newman’s Heather Has Two Mommies, a groundbreaking and still controversial children’s book about a little girl who grows up with lesbian moms, was published.

Judith Rodin

Judith Rodin, first woman named president of Ivy League university

December 17, 1993

At the University of Pennsylvania, Judith Rodin is elected the first permanent female president of an Ivy League institution.

Amy Sheridan earns her wings

December 18, 1979

Amy Beth Sheridan graduates from flight school, becoming the first Jewish woman pilot in the U.S. Army.

Sally Lilienthal

Birth of Sally Lilienthal, founder of Ploughshares Fund

December 19, 1919

Birth of Sally Lilienthal, Founder of Ploughshares Fund

Josephine Earp

Death of Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp, widow of Wyatt

December 19, 1944

Death of Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp, who is buried next to her husband Wyatt Earp, renowned "gun slinger" and lawman.

The Klezmatics' performance of Aliza Greenblatt's work, set to music by Woody Guthrie

December 20, 2003

"Holy Ground: The Jewish Songs of Woody Guthrie," a Klezmatics performance at the 92nd Street Y, featured songs inspired or written by Guthrie's mother-in-law, Aliza Greenblatt.

"Sunday Jews" Book Cover by Hortense Calisher, 2002

Birth of "writer's writer" Hortense Calisher

December 20, 1911

Birth of Hortense Calisher, author of memoirs, short stories, and more than ten novels including "False Entry" (1961) and "Sunday Jews" (2002).

Henrietta Szold

Zionists celebrate Henrietta Szold's 75th birthday

December 21, 1935

Hundreds of events around the world marked the 75th birthday of Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America.

Emma Goldman Mug Shot, 1901

Deportation of Emma Goldman as a radical "alien"

December 21, 1919

Emma Goldman, along with 248 other radical "aliens," was deported to the Soviet Union under the provisions of the 1918 Alien Act.

"Ding Dong School" Scrapbook

National debut of "Ding Dong School"

December 22, 1952

"Ding Dong School," an early and influential television program for preschoolers, debuted nationally.

Death of pioneering nutritionist Frances Stern

December 23, 1947

Death of Frances Stern, founder of the world's first "food clinic," which served as a model for many nutrition clinics in the U.S. and abroad.

The New York Times profiles Kosher food matriarch Regina Margareten at age 95

December 24, 1957

Regina Margareten, the "matriarch of the Kosher food industry," was profiled in the "New York Times" the day before her 95th birthday.

Telephone Switchboard Operators, circa 1914

Rose Finkelstein marries in true union style

December 25, 1921

Union organizer Rose Finkelstein Norwood said, "When I saw a detective coming, I’d hide in the coats."

Anne Roiphe

Birth of Anne Roiphe, feminist author of "Up the Sandbox!"

December 25, 1935

Birth of Anne Roiphe, feminist author of Up the Sandbox!

Pauline Newman Attending a Labor Conference in 1947

Pauline Newman organizes influential New York rent strike

December 26, 1907

16-year-old Pauline Newman kicks off start of the largest rent strike New York City had ever seen; the strike helped lead to the eventual establishment of rent control in New York.

Edna Ferber

Premiere of the musical "Show Boat," based on a novel by Edna Ferber

December 27, 1927

"Show Boat", based on Edna Ferber's book of the same name, premiered on Broadway. It is considered the first modern American musical.

Betty Comden

Lyricist Betty Comden's first hit, "On the Town," opens on Broadway

December 28, 1944

Opening of the Broadway musical "On the Town," featuring the writing of librettist and lyricist Betty Comden.

Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks’ novel "People of the Book" reviewed in the Chicago Tribune

December 29, 2007

Geraldine Brooks’ novel “People of the Book” reviewed in the Chicago Tribune

Madeleine Stern and Leona Rostenberg

The New York Times remembers Madeleine Stern, “Faithful Friend”

December 30, 2007

The New York Times remembers Madeleine Stern, “Faithful Friend”

Maxine Singer

Maxine Frank Singer steps down as head of Carnegie Institution

December 31, 2002

Maxine Frank Singer, a leading biochemistry researcher and advocate of science education, stepped down after fourteen years as the president of the Carnegie Institution, a major national scientific research center.

Amanda Simpson

Amanda Simpson became first transgender presidential appointee

December 31, 2009

Amanda Simpson, appointed by President Obama to the Department of Commerce, is believed to be the first transgender presidential appointee.

"The Fountainhead," by Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand delivers manuscript of "The Fountainhead" to her publisher

December 31, 1942

Ayn Rand, celebrated novelist and creator of Objectivism, delivered the completed manuscript of her novel "The Fountainhead" to her publisher.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "This Week in History: Events in December." (Viewed on January 18, 2018) <>.


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