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Hasmonean Women

Though few of their names were documented, the women of the Hasmonean family were important figures in political and familial affairs during the second and first centuries BCE.

Sylvia Hassenfeld

One of the most important American Jewish communal leaders and philanthropists of the twentieth century, Sylvia Hassenfeld led the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) through the humanitarian crisis of the Soviet Union’s collapse and the massive airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

Julia Horn Hamburger

A long-time volunteer, Julia Horn Hamburger was founding president of the New York Children’s Welfare League, which offered health and education services to immigrant children, the founding vice president of the Jewish Theater for Children and founding president of Ivriah, the women’s division of the Jewish Education Association. During WWII she shifted her focus to aiding the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Nazi League.

Hamutal: Bible

Hamutal was one of the queens of the Kingdom of Judah and had a great deal of influence over her sons’ reigns.

Hannah Mother of Seven

The mother of seven is a nameless figure from II Maccabees who was arrested and died along with her seven sons for defying the decree of the Seleucid monarch to transgress the commandments of the Torah. Her death is retold in rabbinic and medieval literature, where she is named both Miriam and Hannah.

Hadassah: Yishuv to the Present Day

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA) has a lengthy history of activity in the Yishuv and Israel, going back to 1913, about a year after it was founded in New York, and continuing to this day. This activity, outstanding in its scope, continuity, stability, and diversity, encompasses efforts in the sphere of health and medical services and in the welfare of children and youth.

Elinor Guggenheimer

Elinor Guggenheimer first toured New York City day nurseries as a member of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies during the 1930s. Horrified by what she saw, Guggenheimer began a lifelong crusade for improved and standardized child care facilities across the country, in addition to her work promoting women in public office.

Irene Rothschild Guggenheim

Irene Rothschild Guggenheim founded the Brightside Day Nursery and made it her life’s work, overseeing children’s services from day care for newborns to vocational training for teenagers. She later became director of the association of Day Nurseries of New York City, raising the standards of childcare in New York, and a trustee of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies.

Sidonie Matsner Gruenberg

As director of the Child Study Association of America, Sidonie Matsner Gruenberg blended the best research on child development and her own experience as a mother of four, publishing numerous books and articles on parenting. She was a leader and publicist in the parent education movement and an authority in the field of child study.

Dorothy Lerner Gordon

Dorothy Lerner Gordon—musician, broadcaster, author—dedicated her talents to the entertainment and education of children and young people. Throughout her career, she created radio programming to give children access to literature, music, and current events.

Josephine Clara Goldmark

Josephine Goldmark laid the groundwork for transforming American labor laws by amassing data that forced lawmakers to confront the painful realities of factory work. At the National Consumers’ League, she compiled data on working conditions, wrote articles, led campaigns for legislative reform, and recruited her brother-in-law, Louis D. Brandeis, to argue for those reforms in court.

Pauline Goldmark

Pauline Goldmark was a social worker and activist, part of a group of women seeking the vote and reforms of the urban and industrial excesses of the early twentieth century. A pioneer in methods of social research central to reform efforts, Goldmark was indispensable to labor rights initiatives.

Lea Goldberg

Lea Goldberg was a Russian-Israeli poet, author, playwright, literary translator, researcher, and professor. One of the great poets of modern Israeli literature, Goldberg used the forms of Eastern European folk songs to capture the world lost in the Holocaust.

Glueckel of Hameln

Born into an affluent family in Hamburg, Glückel of Hameln became the business partner of her beloved first husband. She began writing memoirs in 1691, after her husband’s death. These memoirs are incredibly detailed, combining a meticulous record of her life and descriptions of events that occurred in local Jewish communities. Her memoirs are both a singularly important social and historical document and one of the greatest literary achievements of Ashkenazi prose–in Yiddish or Hebrew–at least until the end of the eighteenth century.

Mirra Ginsburg

Although she moved to North America at a young age, Mirra Ginsburg’s passion for Russian folklore and literature endured throughout her life. Through her deft translations of Eastern European folk tales, and her creation of a few of her own, Ginsburg offered children a window into worlds many of them had never before experienced.

Elisabeth Rozetta Geleerd

Elizabeth Rozetta Geleerd’s work on extreme psychological conditions such as amnesia and schizophrenia led to new methods for treating seriously disturbed children and adolescents. Along with opening her own private practice, Geleerd became a training analyst and a member of the educational committee of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute and helped shape its child and adolescent analysis program.

Bird Stein Gans

Bird Stein Gans was among the first generation of women involved in what was then the new field of parent education. She served as president of the Society for the Study of Child Nature for many years, significantly expanding its membership and impact.

Betty Friedan

Betty Friedan was the author of a pathbreaking feminist book, The Feminine Mystique, which sold millions of copies and helped to provoke a feminist movement in the United States. She was an activist and writer who hoped to improve women’s lives by co-founding the National Organization for Women and other women’s political groups. Her many books focused on women’s rights, the women’s movement, and aging.

Anna Freud

Anna Freud’s life was a constant search for useful social applications of psychoanalysis. Through her studies of children, she shaped the fields of both child psychology and developmental psychology.

Selma Fraiberg

Selma Fraiberg was a psychoanalyst, author, and pioneer in the field of infant psychiatry. Her classic parenting book The Magic Years was the result of her years of research in the field of social work and her experiences as a stay-at-home mother.

Paulette Weill Oppert Fink

After Paulette Fink’s husband, serving in the French Army, escaped capture, Fink and her family fled to the unoccupied zone of France and joined the Resistance, hiding Jewish children and helping them escape. Despite her husband’s death, Fink continued working with the Resistance and the Jewish Brigade. When the war ended, she continued her work with refugees before settling in Minneapolis.

Family During the Holocaust

Although Jewish family life was destroyed and restructured in many ways during the Holocaust, it still often provided strength and a sense of normalcy. In many cases women became the family’s main income earner and were charged with many new tasks and responsibilities. Families were also frequently broken up by deportation, escape abroad, and death.


Emunah was founded in 1935 under the leadership of Tova Sanhedrai-Goldreich. With its headquarters in Jerusalem, the organization aims to strengthen various sectors of the Israeli community. World Emunah aims to strengthen global commitment to Israel in communities abroad.

Friedl Dicker-Brandeis

Friedl Dicker was an artist and educator who studied at the Bauhaus school then led art classes at Terezin.  In the ghetto, Dicker taught drawing to hundreds of children, designed sets and costumes for children’s performances, and made an exhibition of children’s drawings in a basement. She also created her own sketches, many of which were discovered in the 1980s.

Demography: Soviet Union, the Russian Federation and other Successor States

The statistics on Jewish marriage, divorce, fertility, emigration, and aging within the Soviet Union reveal new pockets of history and can shed light on the effects of historical events on Jewish lives.


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