Business & Economics

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Gertrude Geraldine Michelson

G.G. Michelson is a corporate and civic leader who has been a trailblazer for women. As chair of the trustees of Columbia University from 1989 to 1992, she was the first woman to head the board of an Ivy League institution.

Wuhsha the Broker

The documents of the Cairo Place for storing books or ritual objects which have become unusable.Genizah rarely contain enough material on specific individuals for the scholar to build up a detailed portrait. One exception is Karima bat ‘Ammar (Amram) the banker, son of Ezra, from Alexandria. She is better known as “al-Wuhsha the Broker” (a name which could be translated as “Desirée” or “Untamed”), and she lived at the end of the eleventh century and into the twelfth. In a world where women were expected to be gainfully employed, Wuhsha is a prototype of the successful independent businesswoman, moving easily from the world of women into that of men.

Julia Waldbaum

Julia Waldbaum was a philanthropist and businesswoman.

Teresa Sterne

While Teresa Sterne was vastly respected for her far-reaching service to music as a record company executive, few who knew her in that role were aware of her earlier career as a pianist, which was short-lived but stunning.

Stacey Snider

In 1992 Stacy Snider became the highest-ranking female executive at a Hollywood studio when she was named President of Production at Tri Star. At the end of 1999 she became the CEO of Universal Pictures. Snider lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters.

Heather Reisman

Possibly the most powerful person in Canada’s book publishing industry at the turn of the twenty-first century and certainly the country’s most prominent Jewish businesswoman, Heather Reisman was born in Montreal and educated as a social worker at McGill University.

Printers

Until the nineteenth century, printing was a cottage industry; adjoining living and printing areas enabled the entire family to join in helping with the multiple tasks involved. Among both Jewish and non-Jewish women it was mainly after the husband died that his widow took over the printing press. Since some of the widows married soon after, their new husbands, often also printers, took over the business. Many widows, however, chose to continue operating the business themselves in order to support their family and sometimes to pass it on to their children.

Poverty: Jewish Women in Medieval Egypt

For lack of sources, it is normally almost impossible to say anything about women and poverty, especially as regards the Middle Ages. However, due to the fortunate preservation of the letters and other documents from everyday life discovered in the Cairo Genizah we are able to sketch a fairly detailed case-study of Jewish women and poverty in medieval Egypt, particularly in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries.

Amy Pascal

In 2003 Amy Pascal was named the most powerful woman in Hollywood on the Hollywood Reporter’s Top 100 Women in Hollywood list. At age forty-five, Pascal, after the departure of longtime chairman John Calley, became one of three co-chairs at Sony Corporations’ Sony Pictures Entertainment. Pascal worked at and ran the Sony unit, Columbia Pictures, for fourteen years. It was her blockbuster hits and billion dollar profits for two straight years that brought her to the top of the female power in Hollywood.

Mollie Parnis

Mollie Parnis’s wit and fashion savvy made her clothing designs a must among many first ladies during her tenure as fashion legend.

Vera Paktor

Vera Paktor, who contributed to United States maritime policy as a journalist, lawyer, and administrator, could well be called the “first lady” of the seaways; certainly, at many points in her career, she was the “first woman.”

Doña Gracia Nasi

Doña Gracia Nasi (c. 1510–1569) was among the most formidable figures of the Sephardi world in the sixteenth century. Her dramatic (indeed melodramatic) life began in Portugal, where she was born into a Jewish family whose members had recently been forcibly baptized. It ended in Constantinople after a career that brought her renown as a shrewd and resourceful businesswoman, a leader of the Sephardi Lit. (Greek) "dispersion." The Jewish community, and its areas of residence, outside Erez Israel.diaspora, and a generous benefactor of Jewish enterprises.

Medieval Ashkenaz (1096-1348)

The Jewish communities of Northern France and of Germany who constituted Medieval Ashkenaz were situated along the trade routes of the time. These communities were well known for their prominent and accomplished scholars as well as their flourishing businesses. These Jewish communities flourished during the High and Late Middle Ages (1050–1450) as urban centers grew and thrived and centers of Jewish learning expanded.

Licoricia of Winchester

Licoricia of Winchester, daughter of Isaac, was the most notable English Jewish woman of her time. She was born sometime towards the beginning of the thirteenth century and was married twice. After the death of her first husband, Abraham, son of Isaac, of Kent and Winchester, Licoricia continued living in Winchester with her three sons, Cokerel (Isaac), Benedict (Baruch) and Lumbard. The first documented evidence of Licoricia’s lending activities is from the early 1230s when the records show that she lent money in association with other Jews as well as by herself with an attorney. By the end of that decade she was one of the richest Jewish moneylenders in Winchester.

Belle Levy

Belle Levy was a private detective, an unusual profession for a woman. Crime-solving, however, ran in her family, since her father was a lieutenant with the New York City police force. Belle Rosenfeld Levy was born in New York City on December 29, 1898, to Ray and Monroe (Wieser) Rosenfeld. She progressed through the city’s public school system and married Charles Levy before her eighteenth birthday. Her first independent job was designer of children’s clothes, but at age twenty-five, she began working for a private detective agency.

Tillie Leblang

Tillie LeBlang was known as a businesswoman, philanthropist, and mother. When her husband, Joseph, died in 1931, she took control of a family business valued at $12 million to $15 million. During their thirty years of marriage, the LeBlangs built a small retail cigar shop into a cultural empire that operated three ticket agencies and controlled five theaters, three in New York City and two in Newark, New Jersey. LeBlang worked with her husband while raising three daughters. She continued to manage the business until just a few months before she died, with the help of her second husband, William Jasie, who had been the LeBlangs’ business lawyer.

Italy, Early Modern

Jews have lived on the Italian peninsula uninterruptedly since antiquity. During the middle ages, the center of the Jewish population of Italy shifted from the south to the north. There, during the early-modern period, having been granted charters, local Jews, joined by refugees from Europe, including waves from French, German, and Iberian lands, provided valuable services as moneylenders and merchants. Although this period saw anti-Jewish agitation by churchmen and the establishment of ghettos, new governmental bodies to supervise the Jews, and local inquisitions, the fact that Italy was not unified provided the Jews with opportunities to leave one city-state to bring their services to another that offered greater promise for more tranquility, an incentive for their hosts to ensure their continued presence.

Hasidic Women in the United States

Hasidic women represent a unique face of American Judaism. As Hasidim—ultra-Orthodox Jews belonging to sectarian communities, worshiping and working as followers of specific rebbes—they are set apart from assimilated, mainstream American Jews. But as women in a subculture primarily defined by male religious studies, rituals, and legal obligations, they are also set apart from Hasidic men, whose recognizable styles of dress and yeshiva ingatherings have long presented a masculine standard for outsiders’ understanding of Hasidism.

Peggy Guggenheim

Born Marguerite Guggenheim in New York City to Florence (Seligman) and Benjamin Guggenheim, Peggy Guggenheim amassed what is now considered to be Italy’s most important modern art collection. Her collecting ability was certainly the result of her exposure, at an early age, to the German Jewish emphasis on Kultur. The Seligmans were members of the academic and artistic world. As wealthy German Jewish Americans, opera boxes, grand tours of Europe, and the purchase of priceless paintings characterized their life-style, which certainly influenced Peggy.

Jennie Grossinger

It was a rags-to-riches story of the first order. Jennie Grossinger, born to a poor family in a village in Austria, came to the New World, where she became not just successful, but reigning royalty of the Catskill circuit. Warm, kind, and generous, she was doyenne to an opulent resort affectionately known as Waldorf-on-the-Hudson. She was friend to governors, cardinals, and stars, and a philanthropist who enriched the world.

Tatyana Grosman

Tatyana Grosman nurtured an entire generation of printmakers and raised printmaking in the United States to the status of a major fine art. Universal Limited Art Editions, which she founded in 1957 at her home in Long Island, New York, published prints by many of the major American artists of her generation and launched collaborative endeavors between artists and writers. Her home became a uniquely fertile environment providing both the tools and the critical encouragement for virtually every type of printmaking.

Glueckel of Hameln

Glückel, author of an untitled memoir in Yiddish that is the source of most of the information about her life (with the exception of the date of her death and several minor details), was born in Hamburg to an affluent family of merchants with commercial and familial ties to the court Jews and their surrounding circles.

German Immigrant Period in the United States

The period 1820–1880 has generally been considered the era of German Jewish immigration to the United States. Issues of gender and family shaped this migration from the Germanic regions, and from other parts of Central and Eastern Europe from 1820 to 1880.

Germany: 1750-1945

To view German Jewish history from the Enlightenment through the Holocaust from a gender perspective deepens our understanding of history in general and provides us with a richer, more complex and more inclusive picture of the Jewish past.

Food in the United States

No matter who is looking for it, whether on an individual, familial or commercial level, American Jewish women of the twenty-first century have an important role to play in providing the food for, and of, American Jews.

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