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Dame Myra Hess

One of Great Britain’s most famous classical pianists, Dame Myra Hess had the idea of setting up lunchtime concerts at London’s National Gallery during the Second World War. The success of those concerts made Hess an international star, and the honor of Dame of the British Empire was conferred upon her in 1941.

Deborah 2: Midrash and Aggadah

Deborah, one of the most extraordinary women in the Bible, is presented as an extremely righteous and praiseworthy woman in rabbinic literature. Though some traditions criticize her pride, perhaps wary of how she transgressed gender norms, most of the rabbinic texts about Deborah are filled with praise.

Brachah Zefira

Brachah Zefira was a seminal figure in the world of Israeli song and among its most colorful and influential personalities in the pre-State period. She toured the world performing with her husband, pianist Nahum Nardi, and the duo played an influential role in ethnic integration in Palestine. In Zefira’s footsteps, an entire wave of Yemenite women singers arose. 

Yaffa Yarkoni

Yaffa Yarkoni was a talented and influential Israeli singer who recorded over 1,400 songs throughout her career. Known for her deep and throaty voice, her music spanned an impressive array of styles and rhythms and marked a shift in Israeli popular music.

Maria Winetzkaja

Maria Winetzkaja was a rebellious and independent woman whose international opera career spanned twenty years. As a leading mezzo-soprano and excellent dramatic actor, Winetzkaja toured the world with several opera companies, taught voice at the Juilliard School, and raised two sons. Winetzkaja was a powerful force who desired equality for women throughout her life. 

Edith Weiss-Mann

Edith Weiss-Mann’s distinguished career as a concert artist, music journalist, and teacher led to universal acknowledgment of her tremendous influence on new music in Germany during the interwar period. Along with other musicians, Weiss-Mann pioneered the revival of the harpsichord and baroque music in particular.

Wendy Wasserstein

In 1989, Wendy Wasserstein won the Pulitzer Prize for The Heidi Chronicles and was the first woman playwright to win a Tony Award. After graduating from the MFA program at the Yale School of Drama, in which she was the only woman, Wasserstein wrote countless dramas, three musicals, various comedy skits for television, and a series of essays published in the New Yorker, Esquire, and Harper’s Bazaar.

Jennie Tourel

Opera singer Jennie Tourel’s subtle and expressive performances made each song she sang into a miniature tone drama that she shaped as closely as possible to the composer’s intention.

Julie Taymor

Julie Taymor is an award-winning theater, opera, and film director best known for being the first woman to win a Tony Award for directing a Broadway Musical: The Lion King.

Florine Stettheimer

Florine Stettheimer's paintings are lively, diarylike accounts of her life and acute examinations of upper-class ways in New York between the wars. Her decorative style offered an alternative to prevailing modes of contemporary modernist painting. Through her work, she criticized the high-mindedness of modern art and the course of modern life. 

Teresa Sterne

Teresa Sterne had two great careers in music, first as a child prodigy pianist, then as one of the first women record producers in the United States. As the first woman in America to guide the destinies of a prominent record label, Sterne transformed American musical life as the director of Nonesuch Records by being open to new artists and new repertory and making innovative recordings.

Michal Smoira-Cohn

One of Israel’s best-known musicologists, Michal Smoira-Cohn was involved in innumerable musical features and events and was a leading figure in Israel’s cultural life.

Tess Slesinger

Novelist and Hollywood screenwriter Tess Slesinger was born in New York on July 16, 1905. She published several works, including: The Unpossessedand Time: The Present. Slesinger died of cancer at age thirty-nine before the premiere of one of her final works, the acclaimed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Naomi Shemer

Naomi Shemer was a prolific singer and composer who built a unified Israeli cultural consciousness through her beautiful melodies. From the 1950s to the 1990s, Shemer wrote music that was performed throughout the country, including “Jerusalem of Gold” and “Lu Yehi.” In 1983, she was awarded the Israel Prize, and she continued to write new music until her death in 2004.

Vivienne Segal

A talented singer/actor and superb comedian, Vivienne Segal enjoyed a lengthy career. She was best known for her role as Vera Simpson, the older woman in love with the “heel,” Joey (played by Gene Kelly), in the 1940 Rodgers and Hart musical Pal Joey.

Ernestine Schumann-Heink

Ernestine Schumann-Heink was a prominent opera singer whose career spanned from the time she was seventeen into her 70s. Born in Lieben in 1861, Schumann-Heink rose to fame at the Hamburg Opera, and became a Metropolitan Opera star with a repertory of 150 roles. She was known as “The Nation’s Beloved Mother” for singing on weekly radio programs, while raising 7 children. 

Martha Schlamme

Martha Schlamme was an internationally known singer who rose to prominence after the Second World War due to her phenomenally large repertoire and ability to sing in multiple languages. Schlamme studied piano in Austria before the war and had a successful post-war career in England, singing on BBC radio, before immigrating to the United States and singing in nightclubs and concert halls across the country.

Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman

Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman was a Yiddish author, poet, editor, educator, graphic artist, folklorist, songwriter, Yiddish territorialist, and community activist. Schaechter-Gottesman bridged the old world and the new as an award-winning modern writer of Yiddish poetry.

Pnina Salzman

Renowned classical pianist Pnina Salzman was the first Israeli pianist to conquer concert stages in Europe and Asia in the early 1940s, before the establishment of the State of Israel. She also enriched the local music scene with her premieres of Israeli composers, who wrote for her knowing that their work would receive superb interpretation. She won the Israel Prize for her musical achievements.

Regina Resnik

Regina Resnik, world-famous opera singer and leading lady at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, reinvented herself multiple times in her career, taking on unexpected new roles. She toured through the United States and internationally before her first performance at the Met in 1944 and becoming the Met’s leading soprano.  In the 1970s she successfully began directing operas.

Antonietta Raphaël

Painting and sculptor Antonietta Raphaël rose to fame in the 1950s. Her paintings were seen for the first time in Rome in 1929; during World War II, she took up sculpting, and in the 1950s, she rose to prominence and exhibited her works worldwide.

Daniella Rabinovich

Following decades of intensive work in management of Israeli music institutions, Daniella Rabinovich became a leading figure in the field in Tel Aviv in the 1980s and 1990s, serving as director of the Tel Aviv Conservatory.


The Palmah was the elite fighting brigades of the underground paramilitary force Haganah, active between 1941 and Israel’s founding in 1948. Women were active in the Palmah, but were they considered equal to men?

Betty Olivero

One of the most admired Israeli composers of the early twenty-first century, Betty Olivero developed her musical career in Italy, returning in 2001 to Israel where she became known for her expressions of Jewish and Israeli cultural and national identity in music.

Jewish Women in New Zealand

Although New Zealand’s Jewish community is small, “Kiwi” Jewish women have punched well above their weight and account for a significant number of the country’s “historic firsts” and remarkable achievements.


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