Jewish History

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Top 11 Labor History Landmarks in New York City

Labor History Landmark: No. 1 The Forward Building

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

The "Top 11" Landmarks in Jewish Women's Labor History

Leah Berkenwald

Physical places add an important dimension to our understanding of history. This was the impetus behind JWA's effort to put Jewish women "On the Map." This month, we have been commemorating the centennial of the Triangle factory fire, which took the lives of 146 garment workers. The history of the labor movement in the U.S. is inextricably linked with this watershed event.

Triangle Fire Chalking Ceremony, March 25, 2010

The Triangle Fire: 100 Years of Coming Together on the Lower East Side

Yenta Laureate of the Lower East Side

On March 25, 1911, in the span of 20 minutes, 146 people lost their lives to a fire that swept through one of New York’s largest garment shops. Almost all of the victims were young women, some literally just girls. Most who died were greenhorns, new immigrants, who didn’t know better or have any choice but to work there. Typically they worked with relatives or people from their hometowns (landsleit) who had recruited them. Two-thirds were Jewish; the other third were Italian and, of course, all who worked there were poor.

Top 10 Jewish Women in Labor History

10 Things You Should Know About Bessie Abramowitz Hillman

Leah Berkenwald

Born in 1889, Bessie Abramowitz Hillman grew up in the Russian empire, in the city of Grodno, now part of Belarus. When she was 15, she immigrated to America “to escape a marriage broker,” she later said. She settled in Chicago, where she had distant relatives. She was soon involved in the fight for better wages and working conditions.

Annie Sprinsock

Discovering My Grandmother's Triangle Fire Story

Eileen Boisen Nevitt

Three years ago, my knowledge of my paternal grandmother, born Annie Sprinsock, was at best sketchy. A Russian-Jewish immigrant to New York City, she lived a tragically truncated life marked by recurrent bouts of melancholia until her death at the young age of 34 in 1929. My father, deeply pained by her untimely death, rarely spoke of her to my brother and me when we were children -- except to say that she had been at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory on the day of the infamous fire.

What Do Academy Awards Have to Do With Women’s History Month?

Gloria Feldt

No, I’m not talking about Melissa Leo’s use of that other-than-feminism “f-bomb” last night. I want to compare two of this year’s Oscar winners and how they illustrate the way women’s history is told—or not.

Topics: Jewish History, Film
Top 10 Jewish Women in Labor History

The Top 10 Jewish Women in Labor History

Leah Berkenwald

Though we at JWA celebrate women’s history all year round, March brings us the great opportunity of Women’s History Month.

New "Triangle Fire" film: What was missing

Ellen K. Rothman

Next Monday, February 28, 2011, PBS will broadcast a new American Experience documentary, Triangle Fire, about one of the most horrific, and most consequential, workplace disasters in American history. A variety of special programs—gallery exhibitions, musical performances, conferences, even an HBO movie—are taking place over the next month to mark the centennial of the fire that left 146 workers dead. (A full listing of events is online at www.rememberthetrianglefire.org.)

Trina Robbins' "Big Sister Little Sister"

Graphic Details: Interview with Trina Robbins

Leah Berkenwald

Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women is the first museum exhibit to explore this unique niche of autobiographical storytelling by Jewish women. The touring exhibit, sponsored by The Forward, features the work of 18 Jewish women artists. The Jewish Women's Archive is interviewing each of the artists about their work and their experience as a female, Jewish graphic artist. This week's interview is with Trina Robbins, a writer and "herstorian" who has been writing comics and books for over 30 years. A pioneer in the field, Trina Robbins played an important role in opening the doors for women in comics.

Tikva Frymer-Kensky, 1943 - 2006

As a scholar, Dr. Frymer-Kensky challenged her students to study deeply and obtain mastery of their subjects; any less was insufficient. In her writing, she modeled both rigor and relevance…. She wrote in order to bring us the ancient and to create a more just present.

May designated Jewish American Heritage Month

April 20, 2006

In 2005 Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania introduced a resolution to designate a month to honor Jewish American culture and heritage.

Play a role in mapping Jewish women's history

Leah Berkenwald

There exists no guide to physical landmarks in Jewish women's history--until now.

Yesterday was an exciting day at the Jewish Women's Archive because yesterday we literally put Jewish women "on the map."  A user-generated map hosted on jwa.org, On the Map showcases significant places in Jewish women’s history, including sites both marked and unmarked, familiar and obscure. You can put your own stamp on history by clicking on a location and adding a photo and description of the new landmark. 

Topics: Jewish History

Putting Jewish Women On the Map

Leah Berkenwald

Today marks the beginning of Women's History Month. The official theme of Women's History Month 2010 is "Writing Women Back into History," which I find somewhat amusing since that is the official theme of every day at the Jewish Women's Archive. Not to be contrary, but we at JWA have been working on a different theme for this month: "Putting Jewish Women on the Map."

Topics: Jewish History

Keeping history and sharing stories

Leah Berkenwald

On November 6th, the Museum of Jewish Heritage will open the Keeping History Center, providing an interactive experience for New York visitors that allows them to record and add their own stories to the historical record.  This project is near and dear to us at the Jewish Women's Archive, since we have worked since our start 13 years ago to record the untold and unheard stories of American Jewish women -- stories like the one shared in this podcast.

Topics: Jewish History

20 Questions to Ask the Important Women in Your Life

Want to interview a Jewish woman in your life, but not sure where to begin? JWA created a list of 20 questions (more, if you’re counting!) to help you get started.

In Our Own Voices

In Our Own Voices, published in 2005, is a how-to guide for conducting life history interviews with American Jewish women. This comprehensive resource and workbook includes introductory essays by leading scholars of Jewish women’s history, frameworks for understanding the multiple and intersecting spheres of women’s lives, and hundreds of sample questions to choose from.

Basic preservation tips for family papers and personal archives

Remember the day you became a Bat Mitzvah? The day you graduated from high school? Did you save your exams from college? Did you ever keep a diary? Write letters home from camp?

How-To: Preserving Memory

"Everyone has a story," the renowned anthropologist Barbara Myerhoff taught us, and these stories "told to oneself and others can transform the world." At the Jewish Women's Archive, we believe th

Celebrating 350 years of Jewish women in America

October 18, 2004

The Jewish Women's Archive joined with National Women's Philanthropy of the United Jewish Communities for an historic celebration of 350 years of American

9/11

September 11, 2001

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks touched and devastated every community in the United States.

Birth of conservative intellectual Gertrude Himmelfarb

August 8, 1922

Gertrude Himmelfarb, who was born on August 8, 1922, has made her career as an intellectual historian, but she has perhaps made her larger ma

Pioneering women's history summer institute

July 18, 1979

In the summer of 1979, a fifteen-day conference (July 13-29), co-sponsored by Sarah Lawrence, the Women's Action Alliance and the Smithsonian Institution, was held at Sarah Lawrence College.

Barbara Tuchman delivers Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities

April 24, 1980

Barbara Tuchman, who was born in 1912, never earned a graduate degree in history, but her best-selling books made history come alive for

Paula Hyman discusses publication of "The Jewish Woman in America"

April 20, 1976

When Paula Hyman, Charlotte Baum, and Sonya Michel published The Jewish Woman in America in 1976, it was a groundbreaking work.

Historian Deborah Lipstadt is vindicated in libel suit brought by Holocaust denier

April 11, 2000

When Emory University professor Deborah Lipstadt published Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory in 1994, she

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