Jewish History

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Birth of Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Barbara W. Tuchman

January 30, 1912

Early in her career, Barbara Wertheim’s job was clipping and filing newspaper articles for The Nation magazine.  The fact that her father had bought the publication to keep it from go

Flames

Rosa Parks and Hanukkah: Why Ignorance Isn't Always Bliss

by Etta King Heisler

On the Thursday night before Hanukkah began, I attended an event called A Sip of Eser, an introductory session to the ten-part young adult learning program Eser (meaning 10) run by Hebrew College in nearby Newton, MA. Amidst the tumult of a Boston bar, and alongside several dozen people I had never met, I heard rabbinical student, Seth Wax, tell a Hanukkah story none of us had ever heard.

Triangle Factory Fire Victims at the 26th Street Pier Morgue, 1911

Why history is not just about the past

by  Judith Rosenbaum

A fire blazes through a garment factory. The building has too few exits and not enough fire escapes. Fire equipment cannot reach the fire. More than 100 people—many of them young women—die. Bodies, burnt beyond recognition, line the floor of a government building, awaiting identification.

If you’re thinking, “I know that story—it happened at New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Company in 1911,” think again. Though the details fit the Triangle tragedy, the scene I’ve just described is the deadly fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, this past Saturday night.

Tackling Text

Browse a variety of ideas for adapting text-based primary sources for learners of all ages and abilities.

Understanding Primary Sources

What is a primary source? How can you use primary sources in your teaching to engage and inspire students? Learn more about these important resources and how to use them effectively to enhance your teaching.
Bess Myerson, 1957

Esther to Bess: We are Crowned by Fate

by  Deborah Fineblum Raub

Sixty-seven years ago today, Bess Myerson was crowned Miss America, the only Jewish woman ever to be so honored.

Sally Ride Rocket Ship

First is the...worst?

by  Gabrielle Orcha

Sally Ride died on Tuesday at the age of 61. First American woman to go into outer space. The first. The very first. American. Woman. Astronaut.

Meat

Overturn the World

by  Susan Reimer-Torn

On July 2, 1965 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) began its work for women's equality, enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which among other things prohibited employment discrimination within labor unions. This week, we take a glimpse even farther back, to the turn of the century, to the roots of women organizing for fair prices.

Mollie Weinstein in France, July 1945

War, Motherhood, & A Little Cheesecake

by  Cyndee Schaffer

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to work with your mother and learn about her life and in doing so discover a completely different person?

Israeli Flag

Poetry, storytelling, and multiple truths on Israel's Independence Day

by  Judith Rosenbaum

As a historian, I spend a lot of time thinking about stories -- what stories we tell about ourselves and the world, what stories aren't told, how our narratives change depending on context, mood, timing.

Judith Rosenbaum

From Margin to March: What to make of Women's History Month

by  Judith Rosenbaum

Here’s a not-so-secret little secret about me: I’m a major women’s history geek. I can go on about the stories of women’s lives for hours. Want to know about Emma Goldman?

Debbie Friedman

The Lives They Lived: Jewish women to remember in 2011

by  Leah Berkenwald

“[Debbie Friedman] emphasized the value of every voice and the power of song to help us express ourselves and become our best selves. As she wrote for JWA's online exhibit Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution: 'The more our voices are heard in song, the more we become our lyrics, our prayers, and our convictions.' The woman who wrote the song that asks God to 'help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing' herself modeled for us what that looks like.”—Judith Rosenbaum.
Learn more >>

Rose Schneiderman

Her Hat Was In The Ring: New site shares stories of women in politics before 1920

by  Leah Berkenwald

Kristen Gwinn, Wendy Chmielewski, and Jill Norgren, students of women's history, had a goal: To explore whether women ran for elective office in substantial numbers before ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. Thanks to their work, we now know THEY DID. The fruits of their research are now available in a database on a new, free website: www.herhatwasinthering.org.

Miriam Rosenberg Roček as Steampunk Emma Goldman, Cropped

JWA's Greatest Hits: Meet Steampunk Emma Goldman

by  Kate Rafey

One of my favorite aspects about being Jewish is mixing tradition with the present.

"The Debt," 2010

"The Debt": Mothers and daughters, secrets and truths

by  Susan Reimer-Torn

When is the last time you saw an action-packed film with a mature woman who must reckon with her own history as the main protagonist? This sort of screenwriting doesn’t come around too often.

Dill Pickles

Eating Jewish: Pickling Dill Pickles

by  Katherine Romanow

The idea for this post came as I was reading Jane Ziegelman’s fascinating book 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement.

Gertrude Weil Poster

Jewesses for Suffrage

by  Leah Berkenwald

On August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibiting any citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex was ratified. Today, 91 years later, we take a look back at the Jewish women who dedicated their lives to women's suffrage in America and around the world. This is by no means a comprehensive list; so many Jewish women fought for suffrage, this is merely a sample of the stories we know.

How many more stories have yet to be told?

Sharon Freed and Lottie Nilsen at JWA’s Institute for Educators

Sharing stories, inspiring change: Lessons from the Institute

by Etta King Heisler

Ask any one of my friends or family members: in the weeks leading up to JWA’s Institute for Educators, I was a mess. As the dishes piled up on my desk at the office and my eyeballs crossed from looking at spreadsheet after spreadsheet of catering orders and flight information, a battle between stress and excitement raged in my mind.

Julie Rosewald

Julie Rosewald: America's first woman cantor

by  Judith S. Pinnolis

She wrote a book. She was an actress. She sang opera. She became a professor. She toured the world by herself. She paid her own way. She was a musical superstar.

"Miss Etta and Dr. Claribel," by Susan Fillion

Miss Etta and Dr. Claribel: A new look into the lives of the Cone sisters

by  Ellen K. Rothman

Growing up in Baltimore in the 1950s and 60s, we got our doses of high culture at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Birth of Selma Stern-Taeubler, pioneering archivist

July 24, 1890

Selma Stern-Taeubler was born in Kippenheim bei Lahr in southern Germany on July 24, 1890. The first girl accepted to her local school, she graduated with honors in 1908.

Registration for the 1954 TABS Conference with B'nai B'rith Girls at Freedom House

Joan Krizack wins Champion of Freedom Award for the Documenting Diversity Project

by  Ellen K. Rothman

In 1998, Northeastern University announced that it had received a two-year federal grant to “identify, locate, secure, and make accessible the most important and at-risk historical records of Boston’s African American, Chinese, gay and lesbian, and Latino communities.” Later that year, I met Joan Krizack, Northeastern’s University Archivist and Head of Special Collections, who had conceived the “Documenting Diversity Project.”  I could see immediately that this diminutive woman (who has been a member of the Jewish Women’s Archive Technical Advisory Committee since 2006) had a “tiger by the tail” and was not about to let it go.

Top 11 Labor History Landmarks in New York City

Labor History Landmark: No. 11 The Lower East Side Tenement Museum

by  Leah Berkenwald

The Top 11 Labor History Landmarks in New York City is a blog series on Jewesses with Attitude created in honor of Women's History Month and the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Waist Factory fire. Learn more about the series here, or check out JWA's online walking tour.

Top 11 Labor History Landmarks in New York City

Labor History Landmark: No. 10 The Henry Street Settlement

by  Leah Berkenwald

The Top 11 Labor History Landmarks in New York City is a blog series on Jewesses with Attitude created in honor of Women's History Month and the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Waist Factory fire. Learn more about the series here, or check out JWA's online walking tour.

Labor History Landmark: No. 9 The Metropolitan Opera House

by  Leah Berkenwald

The Top 11 Labor History Landmarks in New York City is a blog series on Jewesses with Attitude created in honor of Women's History Month and the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Waist Factory fire. Learn more about the series here, or check out JWA's online walking tour.

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