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Mothers

Kim Chernin

Through poetry, fiction, and memoir, Kim Chernin powerfully reimagined her personal history and her Jewish identity.

Gay Block

Gay Block’s photography allowed her to explore surprising facets of her subjects, from girls at summer camp to Holocaust survivors to her own mother.

Sarah Thal

Sarah's husband had brothers living in Milwaukee who sent home glowing reports of the conditions in America. Intrigued, Sarah and Solomon immigrated to America in 1882.

Fanny Jaffe Sharlip

Fanny Sharlip was born in the small town of Borosna, Russia. In her memoirs written in 1947, she characterizes herself as a child "always hungry for knowledge. I asked too many questions. I was told over and over again that it was not healthy to know too much. I could not be harnessed by telling me that children don't have to know. That only made me more curious." Fanny loved school and was an excellent student. "I was very happy as only a child my age could be; I lived and breathed school.

Fanny Brooks

Fanny Bruck was born in 1837, in the small village of Schweidnitz, Germany, one of six children. Fanny was well educated and graduated with high honors. She was only 16 years old when she met Julius Brooks, a young man who had been lured to America by stories of the Gold Rush in 1847 and who had returned after five years to visit his family. They married in Breslau, Germany, on August 18th, 1853, and journeyed to America.

Hannah Greenebaum Solomon

In creating the first national association for Jewish women, Hannah Greenebaum Solomon redefined the roles they could play in American society.

All of the Above: Refusing to Choose

There was a moment in my late twenties when I seriously considered rabbinical school. I was changing careers, trying to figure out what my next step would be, and becoming a rabbi would have allowed me to blend my love of Jewish ritual, my intellectual curiosity, and my passion for helping people into a calling. It made sense, on a deep level. But the more I talked about it with friends who were already rabbis and rabbinical students, the more they cautioned me, “As a woman, if you become a rabbi and you’re not married yet, you need to accept that you’ll probably never marry. Men don’t want to date women who are authority figures; it’s too emasculating.” I wanted to be a rabbi. But I also wanted marriage and children. When I believed that I needed to choose between them, I couldn’t bear the thought of never having children of my own. I quietly turned my focus to other graduate programs.

Dr. Ruth Finkelstein

A beloved doctor for generations of Baltimore women, Dr. Ruth Finkelstein promoted women's health and reproductive rights over a career that spanned half a century.

Althea Diesenhaus Stroum

Born in 1922 in New York City, Althea
moved to Seattle with her family at age 14 in 1936. Married for 58 years to Samuel N. Stroum, they had two children, and together dedicated their lives to philanthropy and community service. Althea received the Israel Bond Woman of the Year award in 1980. In 1991, the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle honored her by creating the Althea Stroum Woman of Distinction Award. In 2000 she received an honorary doctorate from Brandeis University. She is a member of many community and national boards, serving both the Jewish and larger communities with her energetic devotion.

Bernice Mossafer Rind

A child virtuoso on harp and long-standing champion of the Seattle Symphony, Bernice Rind’s musical career began at age seven. At age 11 she debuted professionally and retired from touring at age 23 when her mother grew ill and Bernice longed for a more "normal" life. A Seattle native whose parents emigrated from the Isle of Rhodes, she attended both Ezra Bessaroth Congregation (Sephardic) cofounded by her father, and the Ashkenazic Reform synagogue, Temple de Hirsch Sinai, (co-founded by the Rind family).

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Mothers." (Viewed on December 17, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/mothers>.

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