Journalism

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Top 10 Jewish Women in Labor History

10 Things You Should Know About Pauline Newman

Leah Berkenwald

Born in Kovno, Lithuania, in 1890, Pauline Newman was barred from the local public school because she was Jewish. As a girl, her opportunities for a Jewish education were limited. Her father tutored well-to-do boys in Talmud; he eventually allowed her to attend Sunday classes, where she learned to read and write both Yiddish and Hebrew. The obstacles she faced in getting an education motivated her to fight for gender equality later in her life.

TIME will tell: The most powerful Jewesses of the past century

Kate Bigam

The venerable TIME Magazine, known in part for its "top" lists – everything from the best inventions to the best TV shows – just published a new list of particular interest. As its name indicates, "The 25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century" lists 25 powerhouse women from the U.S. and beyond, including three Jewish dynamos - four, if you count Madonna (though I'm never sure whether I should!). Here, an overview of the Jewesses who made TIME’s cut:

Topics: Journalism

Lani Silver, 1948 - 2009

She liked to tell me that she started out in life as conservative but that she did a full political turn when she traveled to South Africa at l9 and observed first hand the awful effect of apartheid. When she returned to San Francisco, she became active in the Jewish community and with liberal and social justice causes and campaigns.

Helen Yglesias, 1915 - 2008

...her protagonists come from the variable Jewish life of New York. ... these women are assimilated but concerned with utilizing the morals of the Jewish past and its prophetic ethic—a concern for justice and dignity.

Ruth F. Brin, 1921 - 2009

Ruth Brin was an essential part of the fabric of Minnesota's Jewish community, teaching classes on immigrant literature, American Jewish writers and Judaism at the University of Minnesota and Macalester, shaping the Jewish arts scene with contributions of time, energy and critical funding, writing book reviews . . . up until her death, and raising distinguished and engaged children. . .

Rebecca Lipkin, 1960 - 2009

Acclaimed journalist Rebecca Lipkin's colleagues and friends have penned glowing tributes about her storied career, consummate professionalism, and supreme news savvy. But it's obvious that she's equally revered for her warmth, inherent goodness, and sense of fun and adventure.

Frances Feldman, 1912 - 2008

Frances Feldman's life and work are a testimony to the highest standards of social work scholarship. They reflect compassion, systematic understanding, and relentless curiosity. A pioneering spirit, personally and intellectually, she changed the world she lived in and left indelible memories with all who knew her.

Rosetta Reitz, 1924 - 2008

The obituary for Rosetta Reitz in the New York Times portrayed her as a champion of black jazz artists, while the one in the Villager featured the feminist Rosetta who wrote the ground-breaking book on menopause. For me, Rosetta Reitz under her maiden name of Toshka Goldman will always be memorable as the founder of the Four Seasons Bookstore in Greenwich Village.

Mattie Levi Rotenberg, 1897 - 1989

One Erev Pesach my grandmother demonstrated physics at the University of Toronto for three hours, went to the radio studio to tape a live broadcast, taped two more broadcasts for the upcoming days of Yom Tov, and came home to make seder.

Sheilah Graham, 1904 - 1988

By the time she left England in 1933 to try her fortune in America, [Sheilah] had earned a modest reputation as a freelance journalist. She had also written two unsuccessful novels, a credential that allowed her to bluff her way into jobs as a New York staff reporter, getting scoops and writing eye-catching features such as 'Who Cheats Most in Marriage?' a breezy inventory of the men of Western nations.

Ellen Willis, 1941 - 2006

Willis brought lucidity and style to the most controversial and baffling cultural issues—her thought was a beacon of clarity. For those of us fortunate enough to have been her comrades, anticipating her insights was part of what kept us returning to meetings month after month, year after year.

Hilda Silverman, 1938 - 2008

Whether Hilda was sharing her moral outrage, her prodigious memory of historical events, handing out leaflets, or vigiling with Women in Black, she was for me a courageous and passionate teacher and activist.

Bert Milstone Cohen Hirshberg, 1919 - 2008

She cared passionately about the arts, Boston, literature, politics, and her family and friends… She was one of those Jewish women who helped pry the door open continually so that others less assertive than she could follow.

Carolyn Goodman, 1915 - 2007

On various occasions Carolyn met with young people, urged them to take on world challenges, ran essay contests for them and celebrated the winners enthusiastically, spoke in different settings about the importance of supporting the next generation and encouraging them to be involved in healing the world.

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.

Muriel Cohen, 1920 - 2006

She gave her editors indigestion, but she won them a Pulitzer, too, guiding the <em>Globe</em>'s coverage of the pain and the chaos that greeted court-ordered busing to achieve desegregation of Boston's public schools.

Selma Jeanne Cohen, 1920 - 2005

Despite the difficulty of translating the evanescent nature of dance into words, Selma Jeanne Cohen believed that dance, as much as painting, music and literature, deserved a history of its own. She spent a lifetime creating the structures necessary to making the recording of that history possible&hellip;.

We Remember Those the New York Times Won't

Ellen K. Rothman

I admit it: I am a third-generation compulsive reader of obituaries.

Topics: Journalism

The Jewish Press Must Not Kowtow to Religious Homophobia

Leah Berkenwald

On October 4, the New Jersey Jewish Standard published an apology for printing a same-sex wedding announcement. In that apology, the paper’s editor, Rebecca Boroson, made it clear that the decision to stop running same-sex wedding announcements, and the apology, was in response to pressure from the so-called "traditional/Orthodox" Jewish community. Thanks to the internet, the outrage felt at this editorial decision was felt across the nation.

Suspicious of forced tonsillectomies, Jewish mothers riot

June 27, 1906

Immigrant Jewish mothers in the early 20th century were hardly inclined to trust officials to protect their children.

Unit 3, Lesson 2 - Growing tensions I: Black-Jewish Relations

Analyze how underlying rifts in the relationship between African Americans and Jews brought these groups into more overt conflict in the late 1960s, with a focus on the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school crisis and a poetry slam activity.

Unit 3, Lesson 4 - Moving Inward: bringing liberation movements into the Jewish community

Act out, through tableaux vivants, the ways Jews took what they had learned from the Civil Rights Movement and other liberation movements and used these insights to change the Jewish community.

The "Women's Pages": Then and Now

Leah Berkenwald

Recenytly, Ruth Rosen wrote in the Ms. Magazine blog that the "women's pages" of the 1950s and 60s have been reincarnated on the internet. While she acknowledges the differences in content between those women's pages (society, cooking, and fashion) and today's "women's pages" (analytical coverage of events, trends or stories overlooked by mainstream news), she argues that the designation of separate women's sections keeps us tied to the assumption that women's stories don't belong on the front page.

Topics: Feminism, Journalism

Household hints from the "American Jewess"

Leah Berkenwald

Take a look at these "household hints" published in American Jewess in January, 1896. Published between April 1895 and August 1899, The American Jewess was the first English-language publication directed to American Jewish women. I wonder what household hints American Jewesses would share today?

Topics: Journalism

Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman dedicated her life to the creation of a radically new social order. Convinced that the political and economic organization of modern society was fundamentally unjust, she embraced anarchism for the vision it offered of liberty, harmony and true social justice. For decades, she struggled tirelessly against widespread inequality, repression and exploitation.

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