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Activism

Minnie Low

Known as the “Jane Addams of the Jews,” Minnie Low was a leader in the Jewish social service community. Born in New York City, on November 9, 1867, Low was the second of six children. When she was ten, Low’s family moved to Chicago, where she completed grammar school. Unfortunately, she was forced to leave South Division High School during her first year due to poor health.

Nita M. Lowey

As cochair of the Bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey made women’s health issues a priority. In the fiscal year of 1995, when the National Institutes of Health received only a three percent increase in funding, Lowey secured a seventeen percent increase in funding for breast cancer research. As a member of the Committee on Homeland Security, she works to achieve safety from terrorism for all Americans. Also serving on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Lowey is a staunch supporter of the State of Israel.

Paula E. Hyman

Scholarship, feminism, dedication, perseverance and integrity immediately come to mind when Paula Hyman’s name is mentioned. Those who know her well would add family and friendship to the list. Though she has ostensibly moved only from Boston, where she was born on September 30, 1946, to her present residence in New Haven, Connecticut, Hyman has traveled wide and far, spiritually, intellectually and physically. Hyman remains steadfast in her dedication to Jewish and humanitarian commitments and to her professional and personal concerns.

Florence Howe

Florence Howe was born on March 17, 1929, in New York City to Samuel and Frances (Stilly) Rosenfeld. Her father was a taxi driver and her mother a bookkeeper. She received her B.A. from Hunter College in 1950 and her M.A. from Smith College in 1951. She then did graduate study at the University of Wisconsin from 1951 to 1954.

Elizabeth Holtzman

A member of the generation that came of age in the 1960s, Elizabeth Holtzman has pursued a public career epitomizing some of the most important trends in postwar American and Jewish life. In her successive roles as a congresswoman, Brooklyn district attorney, and comptroller of New York City, she emerged as an effective and activist public servant, a forceful campaigner, and a champion of liberal and feminist causes. Her career illustrates the recent empowerment of ambitious, highly motivated, professional young women and the increasing role of Jewish figures in electoral politics. In addition, she has been a dedicated Jew, with a highly regarded record of communal commitment and achievement.

Histadrut

In 1920, with the beginning of the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:306]British mandate[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] following World War I, a new workers’ organization, Histadrut ha-Ovdim ha-Clalit (the General Federation of Workers), was formed by the Jewish workers who immigrated to Mandatory Palestine. The Histadrut comprised men and women workers, both wage-earners and homemaker wives of Histadrut members. The Histadrut did not restrict its spectrum of activity, nor did it limit its scope of membership. Indeed, its charter declared that every working man and woman over the age of eighteen who lived by his or her own earnings and concurred with the policies of the Histadrut was eligible for membership.

Gladys Heldman

Gladys Heldman, born in New York City on May 13, 1922, to scholarly Jewish parents, was an unlikely person to become a leader in women’s tennis. Yet women tennis players today owe their equal status in the sport to her important efforts.

Lillian Hellman

Lillian Hellman was born on June 20, 1905, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her parents, Max and Julia (Newhouse) Hellman, were both German-American Jews. Her mother’s family was wealthy and later became the models (though stripped of Jewish identity) for Hellman’s most famous creations, the Hubbards, in her two plays The Little Foxes and Another Part of the Forest. Max Hellman’s sisters Hannah and Jenny were similarly the basis for the central characters in one of Hellman’s last plays, Toys in the Attic.

Lillian Herstein

The history of Jewish women in the American labor movement tends to focus on those whose careers unfolded in the needle trades. Such was not the case with Lillian Herstein, who was a teacher and a nationally known labor leader. Ethel Lillian Herstein, the youngest of six children, was born on April 12, 1886, in Chicago. Her parents, Wolf and Cipe Belle, emigrated from Vilkovishk, Lithuania, shortly after the U.S. Civil War, not only for economic reasons but because of Wolf’s admiration for Abraham Lincoln and his ideals.

Bessie Abramowitz Hillman

Bas Sheva Abramowitz (“Bessie” was created by an Ellis Island immigration officer) was born on May 15, 1889, in Linoveh, a village near Grodno in Russia. She was one of ten children born to Emanuel Abramowitz, a commission agent, and Sarah Rabinowitz. In 1905, Bessie, who spoke only Yiddish and some Russian, joined an older cousin in immigrating to America. Most 1905 immigrants fled czarist oppression and anti-Jewish violence, but Bessie reported that her aim in leaving home was to escape the services of the local marriage broker.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Activism." (Viewed on January 18, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/activism>.

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