Memoirs

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Tara Metal Reads "The Boston Girl"

Announcing the JWA Book Club

by Tara Metal

Chances are, no two people reading this post have the same favorite book. From month to month, I don’t even have the same favorite book—my tastes range from nonfiction crime thrillers to mid-century poetry, and hit quite a few unusual notes in between. I seek out novels I can get lost in. I like all kinds of mythology and the occasional graphic novel. Choosing what to read next can be overwhelming and generally, I need a little guidance.

Susan Stamberg

In 1972 Susan Stamberg became America’s first female full-time anchor of a national nightly news broadcast as one of the original co-hosts of NPR’s All Things Considered.

Joan Rivers, 1933 - 2014

&ldquo;Comedy is power,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;The only weapon more formidable than humor is a gun.&rdquo;</p>

Vladka Meed

Freedom fighter Vladka Meed smuggled dynamite into the Warsaw Ghetto to aid the Jewish uprising and helped children escape by hiding them in Christian homes.

Alice Babette Toklas moves in permanently with Gertrude Stein.

September 9, 1910
Alice Babette Toklas heard distinct chiming when she met Gertrude Stein.

Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin made history in 1986 as both the youngest actress to win an Academy Award for Best Leading Actress and the first deaf person to win the award.

Long-lost poem by war heroine Hannah Szenes is found.

September 2, 2012

A poem by WWII hero Hannah Szenes was discovered 68 years after her death.

Theresa Serber Malkiel

Theresa Serber Malkiel fought for workers’ rights, becoming the first female factory worker to rise to leadership in the Socialist Party.

Malka Lee

Malka Lee’s lyrical Yiddish poems won over both critics and general American Jewish audiences, but it was her work dedicated to the family she lost in the Holocaust that had the most lasting impact.

Nora Ephron / Lena Dunham

Writer-Directors

Putting Women Onscreen and in the Director's Chair

Hedy Lamarr / Mayim Bialik

Actress-Scientists

Stars of STEM and Screen

Helena Rubinstein

Selling face cream to Depression–era housewives and teaching makeup tricks to film vamp Theda Bara, Helena Rubinstein built a global beauty empire. Rubinstein worked as her father’s bookkeeper and studied medicine before immigrating to Australia in 1902.

Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham became the first woman to win a Director’s Guild Award for Outstanding Director for a Comedy Series for her HBO series Girls, for which she writes, directs, produces and plays the lead character.

Leandra Medine

Through her fashion blog, Man Repeller, Leandra Medine argues that fashion should be about what women find interesting and exciting to wear, not just attracting a man.

Dr. Ruth Westheimer

Ruth Westheimer balanced unabashed practical advice about sexual health and safety with a playful sense of humor to educate the public and break down social taboos against discussing sex.

Hedy Lamarr

Hailed by director Max Reinhart as “the most beautiful woman in Europe,” actress Hedy Lamarr also patented what would become a key component of wireless technology.

Ruth Laredo

Ruth Meckler Laredo’s astonishing piano performances caused one New York Times reporter to write, “Her hands sometimes appear to hover over the keys, a blur to the eyes if not the ears…But what hummingbird ever packed such power?“

Sarah Kussy

With seemingly limitless energy, Sarah Kussy helped found and lead a variety of major Jewish organizations like Hadassah, the United Synagogue’s Women’s League, and Young Judea.

Ruth Klüger

Through her scholarship and her memoir about her experiences in the Holocaust, Ruth Klüger challenged popular assumptions about history, memory, and the role of women in society.

Gerda Weissmann Klein

Gerda Weissmann Klein used her experiences in the Holocaust to write children’s books that helped children grapple with difficult subjects.

Allegra Kent

Ballerina Allegra Kent danced almost all the principal roles choreographed by George Balanchine in her remarkable career, which lasted far beyond when most dancers retired from the stage.

Lyalya Kaufman

The daughter of the acclaimed writer Sholom Aleichem and the mother of celebrated novelist Bel Kaufman, Lyalya Kaufman was revered in her own right for her thousands of vignettes and short stories in Yiddish.

Marie Grunfeld Jastrow

It took until she was eighty-two for Marie Grunfeld Jastrow to find a publisher for her autobiographies, but her two compelling memoirs of coming of age as a Jewish immigrant in New York touched audiences deeply.

Laura Z. Hobson

Laura Zametkin Hobson’s unconventional life became fuel for her remarkable novels, including the highly popular Gentleman’s Agreement in 1947.

Theresa Helburn

Called the “'Top Man' on Broadway” by the New York Woman, Theresa Helburn created a venue for great American playwrights as director of the Theatre Guild and played a key role in the history of the modern American musical.
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