Jewish History

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Yugoslavia

Little has been written about the history of women in former Yugoslavia and even less is as yet known about the history of Jewish women in the Balkans.

Barbara W. Tuchman

From a young age, Barbara W. Tuchman was engaged with contemporary international affairs. Her passion for research and engaging writing style won her two Pulitzer Prizes for her popular histories The Guns of August and Stilwell and the American Experience in China.

Selma Stern-Taeubler

American-Jewish academe has largely undervalued Stern-Taeubler’s contribution to Jewish history over the course of her lengthy and productive career as historian and archivist.

Spain

Written histories of the Jews in Spain have rarely included women. When dealing with Jewish women in Spain, the available sources range from poems, letters, and rabbinic literature to Latinate wills, court records and Inquisition documents.

Barbara Miller Solomon

Barbara Miller Solomon, educator and pioneer in women’s history, suggests the transformative role that education could play in individual women’s lives, a theme that also shaped much of her writing.

Emily Solis-Cohen

Emily Solis-Cohen was a prominent poet, historian, and philanthropist. As a community leader, she conducted American Jewish historical research and used this knowledge to publish both poetic and nonfiction works that celebrated the lives of Jewish Americans, and especially Jewish women.

Mexico

In Mexico the organizational and cultural models created throughout the period of Jewish immigration determined the status of women both within the Jewish community and in Mexican society at large.

Paula E. Hyman

Distinguished historian Paula Hyman was engaged deeply in Jewish feminism and wrote extensively on the history of Jewish women in an effort to integrate their experience into the Jewish historical narrative. A role model for many, she challenged sacrosanct beliefs and stereotypes with vigor and knowledge and left behind a myriad of scholarly contributions and a profound vision for Jewish women.

Leni Yahil

Leni Yahil was a German-born Israeli scholar and pioneer of Holocaust research in the decades following the Second World War. Working closely with Yad Vashem, she was among the first to emphasize Jewish primary sources, explore the importance of Jewish resistance, and document the Jewish experience in Northern Europe during the Holocaust.

Annette Wieviorka

Annette Wieviorka, born in Paris on January 10, 1948, is undoubtedly the best-known of French historians of the Holocaust born after World War II.

Poverty: Jewish Women in Medieval Egypt

The documents recovered from the Cairo Genizah give insight into the lives of Jewish women in poverty in medieval Egypt. Without husbands, women were often left without any means of earning a living, though the Jewish community assumed responsibility for providing for widows.

Post-Biblical and Rabbinic Women

In post-biblical Jewish antiquity women were not viewed as equal to men or as full Jews. In this, Jews were no different from their various Greco-Roman, Semitic or Egyptian neighbors. The difference lies in the explanation Jews gave to their views.

Poland: Interwar

Like every other historical analysis of interwar Polish Jewry, the story of Jewish women is a story interrupted tragically by the destruction of Polish Jewry in the Holocaust. Many of the trends discussed above had just begun to make their mark on the nature of that three million strong community. Nevertheless, they are still deserving of scholarly attention. Unless and until the missing fifty-two percent of Polish Jews are factored into the historical narrative, that story will remain incomplete.

Poland: Early Modern (1500-1795)

Polish Jewish Women played a complex role in their society and culture during the early Modern Period. This role was usually gender segregated, but upon a closer look, was more gender flexible than one might think.

Rivkah Perelis

As a historian, Perelis strove for moral principles, accuracy and the utmost openness, without sacrificing the personal emotional motivation behind her work. She struggled with the inevitable dilemma of every historian when dealing with the Holocaust—the dichotomy between the sense of personal-emotional commitment and the professional obligation to maximum objectivity—and learned to live within this contradictory space.

Deborah Dash Moore

Deborah Dash Moore is a leading scholar of American Jewish history. Her influential work has focused on both urban and visual Jewish history in locales from New York to Miami to Los Angeles. A prolific interpreter of Jewish and American culture, Moore has played a key role in making American Jewish history a recognized subfield in the academy.

Hélène Metzger

Hélène Metzger was a French historian of chemistry and philosopher of science, whose work has remained influential to this day.

Mariamme I The Hasmonean

Mariamme was the daughter of Alexander, Aristobulus II’s son, and Alexandra, Hyrcanus II’s daughter. Her grandfathers were the two rival Hasmoneans who invited Rome to intervene in Judaean internal affairs and eventually brought about the downfall of the Hasmonean kingdom. Abraham Schalit calculates that her father and mother could have been married only between 55 and 49 B.C.E., after Alexander’s revolt against Rome was crushed and before his own execution at the hands of the Romans (Ant. 14:125). She was thus probably born in 54 B.C.E.

Kurdish Women

The history of the community began well before the destruction of the First Temple and continued for many generations. Ancient tradition has it that Jews were settled in Kurdistan 2,800 years ago, part of the Ten Tribes dispersed by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser. Kurdish Jews identify themselves as amongst those described in the Prophets: “…the king of Assyria captured Samaria. He deported the Israelites to Assyria and settled them in Halah, at the [River] Habor, at the River Gozan…” (2 Kings 17:6), places which are in fact within the Kurdistan region.

Judaic Studies in the United States

When the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) was established in 1969 as the professional organization of scholars in the interdisciplinary field of Judaic studies, there were no women among its founders. In 2005–06 women comprised 41% of the AJS membership. Within the past generation a field that was traditionally dominated by men has gradually witnessed the emergence of a significant number of women scholars.

Jewish Women's Archive

Founded in 1995 on the premise that the history of Jewish women—celebrated and unheralded alike—must be considered systematically and creatively in order to produce a balanced and complete historical record, the Jewish Women's Archive took as its mission “to uncover, chronicle and transmit the rich legacy of Jewish women and their contributions to our families and communities, to our people and our world.”

Jewish Museums in the United States

Jewish women play prominent roles as founders, directors, curators, artists, and patrons of Jewish museums in the United States. While women have rarely played an exclusive role in the creation of either small community or larger museums, their work as creators and developers of these repositories is critical.

Marie Grunfeld Jastrow

Author of two critically acclaimed books on immigrant life, Marie Grunfeld Jastrow was educated in a German school, and lived in Serbia before moving to New York with her family at age ten. Her two memoirs, A Time to Remember: Growing Up in New York Before the Great War and Looking Back: The American Dream through Immigrant Eyes, touched audiences deeply.

Italy, Modern

Jewish women were crucial both to changes in post-emancipation Italian Jewish life and to the overall condition of women in modern Italy. This article reflects on the changes in the role of Jewish women in modern Italy within the Jewish press and institutions, their activism in shaping a secular civil society, and their experiences through the Fascist regime, the trauma of the 1938 Racial laws, emigration, resistance, deportation, survival, and reconstruction.

Historians in the United States

American Jewish women have been prominent within the historical profession. Indeed, many have been on the cutting edge of historical scholarship since the 1960s. In particular, Jewish women were at the forefront of developments within social history and in the creation of women’s history. While women generally, and Jewish women in particular, rarely made careers as historians in the first half of the twentieth century, Jewish women represented a significant proportion of academic historians both in American and European history as discrimination against Jews and prejudice against women lessened in the decades after World War II. Perhaps because of their sensitivity to the situation of powerless groups, most of them focused their attention not on traditional power elites but rather on those social groups traditionally ignored by academic historians: ordinary people, workers, peasants, minority groups, Jews, and especially women. They helped create, and were influenced by, new trends in historical scholarship that favored the study of such groups.

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