Jewish History

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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.

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.

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

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

Yugoslavia

The Jewish community of Yugoslavia was small, vibrant, and diverse, with waves of immigrants arriving from the 16th through the 19th centuries. Like many Jewish communities in Europe, the Yugoslav community was decimated by the Nazis, and only a few Jews remain in Yugoslavia today.

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

Originally a historian and researcher in Heidelberg and Berlin, Selma Stern-Taeubler settled at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinatti after fleeing Nazi Germany. She became the first archivist of the American Jewish Archives at the college and later wrote books of fiction and nonfiction. Despite her contributions to Jewish history, American-Jewish academe has largely undervalued Stern-Taeubler’s work, which continued until her death in 1981.

Medieval Spain

Written histories of Jews in medieval Spain rarely include women, so one must seek alternate sources. Marital status was the frequent topic of rabbinic responsa. Some Jewish women made their own income as merchants and moneylenders. Inheritance laws were problematic for Jewish women – disputes were settled in both Jewish and non-Jewish courts.

Barbara Miller Solomon

Barbara Miller Solomon was not only an educator but a pioneer in the field of women's history. Named the first female dean of Harvard College in 1970, she laid the groundwork for the formal establishment women’s studies there. Her scholarship on the history of immigration and women's history remains influential today.

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

The communal culture developed by Mexican Jewry emphasized unity, harmony, and consensus regarding groups, politics, and gender. Mexican-Jewish women participated widely in and contributed to the vibrant community’s cultural, artistic, social, and educational endeavors. They continue to redefine their role in Jewish community spaces amidst the new organizations, profiles, and activities of the twenty-first century.

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 (b. 1948) is a major French historian of the Holocaust. Her work highlights the specificity of the Shoah in the context of Nazi and Vichy crime generally.

Post-Biblical and Rabbinic Women

IIn antiquity, the treatment of women drew from patriarchal biblical traditions. Despite a few notable exceptions, women had minimal legal rights but were active participants in alternative Jewish sects and could hold office. As rabbinic material was codified, control over women increased, although the literature was not exclusively restrictive towards women.

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.

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