Memoirs

Content type
Collection

Esther Dischereit

Esther Dischereit’s poetry, essays, operas, and radio plays incorporate her experiences as “other,” growing up Jewish in post-war Germany.

Ruby Daniel

Ruby Daniel’s memoir of her life in India revealed not only the rich culture of her childhood but also her experiences as a Jewish woman in the Indian Navy, serving alongside Muslim and Hindu men.

Maxine Kumin, 1925 - 2014

Among those of us who have been traveling in her wake for decades, she was and is a model of how to live, as well as how to write, courageously and sanely, with artistic craft and generosity, out of a profound love of our shared life.

Hayuta Busel

As a widowed pioneer and young mother, Hayuta Busel fought to expand options for women in Palestine.

Melissa Gilbert

After a highly successful decade as the lead on Little House on the Prairie, Melissa Gilbert defied the odds for child actors by becoming a Hollywood power-broker as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 2001–2005.

Hemdah Ben-Yehuda

Hemdah Ben-Yehuda collaborated with her husband, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, to revive ancient Hebrew and make it a truly functional living language.

Sara Azaryahu

In hopes of creating a place where neither her religion nor her gender would make her a second-class citizen, Sara Azaryahu dedicated herself to founding a Jewish state, but was disappointed by the sexism that remained in her society.

Myriam Anissimov

Joking that she is a Yiddish writer working in French, novelist Myriam Anissimov has been celebrated for her portrayal of the difficulties faced by children of Holocaust survivors.

Helen Yglesias

In her many novels, Helen Yglesias returned to the themes of her own life: women defying convention and finding the courage to start over.

Bessie Thomashefsky

With suffragist spirit and comedic skill, Bessie Thomashefsky adapted great American and British plays for Yiddish-speaking audiences, from Uncle Tom’s Cabin to Oscar Wilde.

Nechama Tec

Nechama Tec’s experiences as a child in the Holocaust led to her career highlighting nontraditional stories of the Holocaust, and inspired the movie Defiance.

Kate Simon

Kate Simon’s raw, honest account of her life in her three-volume memoir was hailed by the New York Times Book Review as “a classic of autobiography.”

“The Factory Girl’s Danger” published in The Outlook

April 15, 1911

“No, we've got to keep on working, no matter what the danger.  It's work or starve.  That's all there is to it."

Jamaica Kincaid

Jamaica Kincaid’s writing captures the tensions of mother-daughter relationships and the displacement of the immigrant experience.

Katya Gibel Mevorach

In her most famous book, Black, Jewish and Interracial: It’s Not the Color of Your Skin but the Race of Your Kin and Other Myths of Identity, anthropologist Katya Gibel Mevorach (nee Azoulay) explored identity politics, “passing” as white, and other social constructs of race.

Grace Seixas Nathan

Although her writing was never published in her lifetime, Grace Seixas Nathan’s poetry and letters showed her passion for her country, her family, and her religion.

Death of writer Sarah Brandstein Smith, “Queen of the shundroman"

April 29, 1968
“Sarah B. Smith is the most beloved Jewish newspaperwoman, the first who ever served as a reporter on a Jewish paper, and the one who has triumphantly overcome the misgivings of editors who mistrusted the abilities of a mere woman writer.”

Debut of "The Sarah Silverman Program"

February 1, 2007

“People are always introducing me as ‘Sarah Silverman, Jewish comedienne.’" 

Betty Ross

At the cutting edge of journalism for her time, Betty Ross travelled the globe in search of stories and was one of the first journalists to experiment with radio interviews.

Chelsea Handler is named to Time’s 100 Most Influential People.

April 18, 2012
"A handful of years ago no one in entertainment had heard of her.” Chelsea Handler

Emily Hughes

Emily Hughes showed great promise as an Olympic figure skater, but retired young to pursue the possibilities of a career in business.
"The Girl From Human Street," by Roger Cohen

Book Review: The Girl From Human Street

by Pamela Rothstein

In November, 2009, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen titled his column “A Jew in England.” It describes his time as a student during the late 1960’s at Westminster, a leading British private school. Cohen related being “occasionally taunted as a ‘Yid’—not a bad way to forge a proud Jewish identity as a nonreligious Jew.” Five years later, he devoted an essay to his mother’s treatment for depression in an English sanatorium: “My mother was a woman hollowed out like a tree struck by lightning. I wanted to know why.” 

Topics: Memoirs

Roz Chast

Roz Chast has spent decades mining the craziness of her life and her imagination as one of the most popular staff cartoonists of the New Yorker.

Aline Kominsky-Crumb

Aline Kominsky-Crumb helped reshape the role of women in comics with autobiographical stories that challenged both the conventional image of women as trophies and the feminist image of women as idealized heroines.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27, 2015

JWA features many stories of the Holocaust era, those who were lost, those who survived, and those who aided people in peril. 

Subscribe to Memoirs

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

Can We Talk?

listen now

Get JWA in your inbox