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Civil Rights

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.

Pearl Willen

Pearl Willen was a social and human welfare activist and communal leader with a love for Jewish heritage. She had a lifelong record of service for such causes as civil rights, women’s rights, and the rights of workers.

Virginia Snitow

Virginia Levitt Snitow was a multifaceted woman who was a teacher, political activist, pre-Second Wave feminist, poet, writer and founder of US/Israel Women to Women.

Ottilie Schönewald

In her autobiography, Ottile Schönewald wrote, “The German Women’s Movement had the greatest influence on my life.” Deeply involved in several women’s and Jewish organizations, Schönewald was a feminist activist who became a politician to advance her causes.

Angiola Sartorio

In approximately 1918 Angiola Sartorio had an opportunity to see a performance by the father of European modern dance, the Hungarian Rudolf von Laban (1879–1958). This proved a striking and fateful experience for her. She was later able to attend the classes of Laban teacher Sylvia Bodmer (1902–1989) and received her diploma from Laban himself.

Eugenia Goodkind Meyer

A prominent civic leader in Westchester County, New York, Eugenia Goodkind Meyer was a longtime advocate of civil rights.

Gill Marcus

Gill Marcus, who never married, was born in Johannesburg in 1949. Her grandparents were from Lithuania but her parents, Molly and Nathan, were born in South Africa. Both her parents were members of the South African Communist Party and from an early age Gill was made aware of the iniquities of apartheid; the Marcus home, open to people across the color line, was very different from that of the average white South African household.

Alice Springer Fleisher Liveright

A woman from an affluent background who devoted her life to the underprivileged, Alice Springer Fleisher Liveright was part of a new generation of female professionals who helped to transform reform work from a pastime for middle-class women into a livelihood. This sense of professionalism, combined with left-leaning ideals of social justice and an outspoken manner, led her to work for equal rights for women and African Americans, and social welfare for children and poor adults.

Jacqueline Levine

Jacqueline Levine is an outstanding example of female activist leadership in American Jewish life. In over five decades of service to the Jewish community, she has combined her powerfully deep liberal political beliefs and activities, which benefit the poor and disadvantaged, with her concern for the vast needs of specific Jewish communities.

Yehudit Karp

Yehudit Karp is widely acknowledged for her determined pursuit of truth and justice. Throughout her career as a lawyer she has acted with grit in the Israeli and international spheres, to preserve moral standards and to ensure human rights in general and women’s rights, children’s rights and victim’s rights in particular. She has received awards from the Israeli Bar Association for her special contribution to the advancement of the status of women in Israel and from the National Council for the Child for her contribution to the status and welfare of children in Israel.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Civil Rights." (Viewed on May 26, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/civil-rights>.

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