You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

This Week in History: Events in January

Rosanna Dyer Osterman helps Confederacy retake Galveston

January 1, 1863

Confederate troops recaptured the town of Galveston, Texas, after receiving a message from Rosanna Dyer Osterman, a leading member of Texas's first Jewish community and later an important philanthropist.

Caroline Simon

Caroline Klein Simon sworn in as NY Secretary of State

January 1, 1959

Caroline Klein Simon was sworn in as New York's Secretary of State.

Isabel Hyams begins "Penny Lunch" program

January 1, 1910

Isabel Hyams begins "Penny Lunch" program in Winthrop elementary school.

Carolyn Leigh inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame

January 1, 1985

Songwriter Carolyn Leigh, who wrote hundreds of tunes for Broadway, TV and film and was nominated for two Tony awards, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

"Wasteland," by Jo Sinclair (Ruth Seid)

Ruth Seid wins prize for novel "Wasteland"

January 2, 1946

Ruth Seid, who used the pen name Jo Sinclair, won the prestigious $10,000 Harper Prize for her novel "Wasteland."

Joan Rivers, New York City, 2010

Opening of Joan Rivers' first Broadway play

January 2, 1972

"Fun City," the first Broadway play by—and starring—Joan Rivers, opened on Broadway.

Julia Phillips

Julia Phillips, Oscar-winning producer of "The Sting", remembered

January 3, 2002

Julia Phillips, Oscar-winning producer of The Sting, remembered

Helen Suzman, 1959

Helen Suzman eulogized as indefatigable foe of apartheid

January 4, 2009

Helen Suzman eulogized as indefatigable foe of apartheid

Muriel "Mickie" Siebert

Wall Street pioneer Mickie Siebert rings closing bell of New York Stock Exchange

January 5, 1998

To commemorate her 30 years on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Muriel Siebert rang the closing bell. She was the first woman to own a seat on the NYSE.

Lina Abarbanell

Death of singer and casting agent Lina Abarbanell

January 6, 1963

Lina Abarbanell's career spanned from Die Fledermaus to Porgy and Bess.

"Debbie Friedman at Carnegie Hall" Album Cover

Debbie Friedman plays Carnegie Hall

January 7, 1996

Debbie Friedman gave a sold out concert at Carnegie Hall, marking twenty-five years as one of the Jewish community's most well-known and influential contemporary musicians.

Sandra Feldman elected UFT President

January 8, 1986

New York City teachers elected long-time teacher advocate Sandra Feldman president of the city's United Federation of Teachers (UFT).

Maidenform Advertisement circa 1960s

Birth of Ida Cohen Rosenthal, co-founder of Maidenform

January 9, 1886

Ida Cohen Rosenthal, co-founder of Maidenform, the first company to make modern bras, was born in Tsarist Russia.

Gertrude Berg in "Molly" as "Molly Goldberg"

Gertrude Berg's "The Goldbergs" premieres on television

January 10, 1949

"The Goldbergs," Gertrude Berg's popular radio program about a Jewish family living the American dream, premiered as a television series.

Women of Faith conference convened

January 11, 1984

Religious women of many backgrounds gathered for a Women of Faith conference sponsored by the American Jewish Committee.

Paula Ackerman

Death of Paula Ackerman, “America’s first Lady Rabbi”

January 12, 1989

The congregation president wrote of Paula Ackerman, "she is qualified, and we want her.”

Stephanie Pollack

Stephanie Pollack Named MA’s First Female Secretary of Transportation

January 13, 2015

"I saw the law as one tool that could be used to improve the world, what we Jews call tikkun olam." - Stephanie Pollack

"Arrival #9" by Daisy Brand, 1999

Opening of art exhibit of work by Holocaust survivor Daisy Brand

January 13, 2006

An exhibit of works by ceramicist and Holocaust survivor Daisy Brand opened at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis.

Department store pioneer Beatrice Auerbach receives Tobe Award

January 14, 1948

Department store pioneer Beatrice Auerbach, longtime proprietor at G. Fox & Co. in Hartford, CT, received the Tobe Award for outstanding contributions to public service in the retail field.

Rosina Lhévinne with Vasily Ilyich Safonov and Fellow Pupils

NY Times hails Carnegie Hall performance by Rosina and Josef Lhévinne

January 14, 1939

Master teacher and pianist Rosina Lhévinne performed in a two-piano recital with her husband, to mark the 40th anniversary of both their marriage and their professional collaboration.

Woman's Building, Los Angeles

Los Angeles’ Woman’s Building remembered

January 15, 2012

Los Angeles’ Woman’s Building remembered

Susan Sontag, 2001

Birth of iconoclast intellectual Susan Sontag

January 16, 1933

Birth of iconoclast intellectual Susan Sontag

Melissa Hayden, June 19, 1956

Melissa Hayden premieres role of Titania in Balanchine ballet

January 17, 1962

Dancer Melissa Hayden premiered the role of Titania in Balanchine's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," a part created especially for her.

Henrietta Szold and the First Graduating Class of  Hadassah Nurses Training School, 1921

Henrietta Szold sends nurses Rose Kaplan and Rachel Landy to Palestine to begin the work of Hadassah.

January 18, 1913
"This is what your group ought to do … You should do practical work in Palestine."
"The Shawl" Front Cover by Cynthia Ozick

Cynthia Ozick receives first Strauss Award

January 19, 1983

Acclaimed author Cynthia Ozick received one of the first Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Awards bestowed by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

Rosina Lhévinne, 1958

83-year-old Rosina Lhevinne performs with the New York Philharmonic

January 20, 1963

Rosina Bessie Lhevinne debuted at age 15 at the Moscow Conservatory, playing Chopin’s “Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor.” At age 83, after a lifetime of war, migration and inspired teaching, she performed it again with the New York Philharmonic.

The Orthodox Congregation B'nai David Sisterhood of Detroit, Michigan, circa 1950

Creation of Women's League of the United Synagogue

January 21, 1918

Conservative Jewish women united their sisterhood organizations, creating the Women's League of the United Synagogue under the leadership of Mathilde Schechter.

Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz's first "Rolling Stone" cover features John Lennon

January 21, 1971

Appearance of photographer Annie Leibovitz's first cover photograph for Rolling Stone, featuring John Lennon.

Golda Meir, March 1, 1973

Golda Meir speech raises $50 million for Haganah

January 21, 1948

Golda Meir's speech to the General Assembly of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds helped raise $50 million in anticipation of the attacks that would greet Israel at its declaration of statehood.

Creation of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods

January 21, 1913

156 women from 52 congregations around the United States met in Cincinnati to create the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods.

Judy Blume

Author Judy Blume received lifetime achievement award

January 22, 1996

Prolific children's author Judy Blume was awarded the American Library Association's Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award made special mention of her controversial novel "Forever."

Jeanette Ingberman and Papo Colo

Jeanette Ingberman, founder of Exit Art, is born

January 23, 1952

"You never walked away from a conversation with art curator Jeanette Ingberman without having learned something.”

Vicki Baum, circa 1925

"Grand Hotel" novelist Hedwig (Vicki) Baum is born

January 24, 1888

“There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.” - Grand Hotel novelist Vicki Baum

Rosa Sonneschein

Pioneers convene in St. Louis, forming early Jewish women's literary society

January 25, 1879

Rosa Sonneschein founded the Pioneers, a Jewish women's literary club in St. Louis, Missouri.

Death of Sadie Loewith, Bridgeport activist

January 26, 1956

Sadie Loewith exemplified the adage that “all politics is local.”

Rabbah Sara Hurwitz

Sara Hurwitz adopts the title of Rabbah

January 27, 2010

Sara Hurwitz, originally given the title of Maharat, a term created on her behalf, took on the title “Rabbah,” the feminine form of rabbi.

Hannelore Marx

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27, 2015

JWA features many stories of the Holocaust era, those who were lost, those who survived, and those who aided people in peril. 

Bel Kaufman

Publication of Bel Kaufman's "Up the Down Staircase"

January 27, 1965

Publication of "Up the Down Staircase," a best-selling novel written by Bel Kaufman, a granddaughter of Sholem Aleichem. It was later made into a popular film.

Judith Resnik

Challenger space shuttle explodes with astronaut Judith Resnik on board

January 28, 1986

The Challenger space shuttle exploded 73 seconds after lift-off, killing the first Jewish astronaut in space, Judith Resnik, along with her six fellow crew members.

Ernestine L. Rose

Suffragist and anti-slavery activist Ernestine Rose addresses annual Thomas Paine dinner

January 29, 1848

Suffragist and anti-slavery activist Ernestine Rose addressed the annual Thomas Paine dinner, declaring, "superstition keeps women ignorant, dependent, and enslaved beings. Knowledge will make them free."

Barbara Tuchman

Birth of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Barbara W. Tuchman

January 30, 1912

Birth of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Barbara W. Tuchman

"A Muriel Rukeyser Reader"

Muriel Rukeyser publishes second book of poems

January 31, 1938

Muriel Rukeyser established herself as a poet of enduring impact with the publication of "U.S. 1," her second book of poems.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "This Week in History: Events in January." (Viewed on January 24, 2018) <>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

listen now

Sign Up for JWA eNews


Choose a date

Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs