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Jewish Education

Miriam Markel-Mosessohn

Miriam Wierzbolowska was born in 1839 in Volkovyshki (Vilkaviskis), a town in SW Lithuania. Like her biblical namesake, the girl had two brothers, Yosef and Shemuel (though she also had a sister, Devorah). From early on, their parents, Hayyah and Shimon—a wealthy merchant—introduced their children to the study of Hebrew.

Judith Pinta Mandelbaum

Judith Pinta Mandelbaum was an important part of the Mizrachi Women’s Organization of America (American Mizrachi Women) from the 1930s until shortly before her death in 1977, by which time the organization was known as Amit. She also achieved professional acclaim as an outstanding teacher and is remembered fondly as a woman with a wonderful sense of humor and a rich family life.

Tehilla Lichtenstein

In 1951, the New York–based Society of Jewish Science published a small pamphlet entitled “What to Tell your Friends About Jewish Science.” Written by the society’s leader, Tehilla Lichtenstein, the pamphlet sought to clarify the differences between the religions of Jewish Science and Christian Science. Portraying Christian Science as the outgrowth of a Christian philosophy of denial, Lichtenstein defined Jewish Science as the positive application of Jewish teachings to everyday life. She elaborated on this idea in over five hundred sermons delivered between 1938 and 1972, becoming the first Jewish American woman to serve as the spiritual leader of an ongoing Jewish congregation. While the society, which continues to exist, never sought formal affiliation with any of American Judaism’s major religious movements, it retains strong historical and theological ties to classical Reform Judaism.

Elma Ehrlich Levinger

Active in an array of Jewish women’s and youth organizations, Elma Ehrlich Levinger was also the author of over thirty books for children and several for adults—all of which emphasize the importance of maintaining Jewish identity in America. Levinger used both drama and the short story as a means of educating young people and women about Jewish history and traditions, hoping to encourage them to participate in Jewish social life.

Sara Lee

Sara Lee, a Jewish educator who combines charisma with caring and vision with realism, has become a central figure in the effort to ensure Jewish continuity. In recent years the American Jewish community has recognized both the critical need for and the difficult challenge of providing all Jews with an excellent, compelling Jewish education.

Learned Women in Traditional Jewish Society

The long-standing idea that women are either not fit to be educated or do not need to be educated has deep roots in Jewish history. Beginning with the Hebrew Bible, the primacy of men is a given and women’s status is closely related to their childbearing function. There are, however, some exceptions. Both Deborah and Huldah were prophets and therefore presumably knowledgeable in the law. The matriarchs, although not equal to their husbands, displayed assertive behavior and did not hesitate to manipulate events to fit their own interpretations of God’s will.

Annie Edith Landau

Hannah Judith (Annie Edith) Landau was born on March 20, 1873, in London, where her father, Marcus Israel (Mordecai, 1837–1913), worked as a clerk for the Jewish community. Annie’s mother, Chaja Kohn (b. Bavaria, Germany 1853–d. 1923), was his second wife. He had five children by his first marriage and during the forty years of his marriage to Chaja a further thirteen were born. Of these, Annie was the eldest. Her parents were of the opinion that girls should receive as fine an education as boys, but there was no sufficiently good school for religious girls in London. Thus, at the recommendation of her mother’s uncle, Moses Weisknopf, she was sent to the Orthodox Samson Raphael Hirsch School in Frankfurt am Main, where her teacher was Mendel Hirsch (1833–1900), the son of Samson Raphael (1808–1888). Returning to London, she studied at Greystoke College, a teacher training institution. After completing her studies there in 1892, she took up a teaching position at the Jews Free School, which she held until 1898.

Sarah Kussy

Sarah Kussy was a versatile and accomplished leader of American Jewry who devoted her educational training and organizational skills to the community throughout her long life. She was a founder and leader of a constellation of significant Jewish organizations, including Hadassah and the United Synagogue Women’s League, both of which named her an honorary national vice president. Through her many associations, Kussy worked to change the face of Jewish education, Zionist activities, and women’s participation in Jewish American communal life. Her energy, erudition, and leadership inspired Jewish women and educators across North America.

Frances Krasnow

In 1917, Frances Krasnow graduated from Barnard College with a bachelor of science cum laude, from Columbia University with a master’s degree, and from the Teachers Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary. Krasnow would eventually receive recognition for being a pioneer in both science and Jewish education.

Julia Koschitzky

An activist, philanthropist, and leader of Canadian and world Jewry, Julia Koschitzky was born in Cardiff, Wales, the daughter of Max Podolski (b. Posen, now Poznan, 1904, d. Toronto, 1986) and Elli (Moses) Podolski (b. Berlin, 1908, d. Toronto, 2002).

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Education." (Viewed on February 25, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/jewish-education>.

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