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Philanthropy and Volunteerism

Not Your Average Grandma

Many people view grandmothers as sweet, docile old ladies, whose sole purposes are to bake cookies and knit sweaters for their grandchildren. While it’s true that my Grandma Brenda does greatly enjoy spoiling and feeding her grandchildren, there’s so much more to her story.

How Do We Use Our Privilege?

The struggle for social justice involves going beyond what is easy, taking actions that are often risky.  I find it helpful to have role models to remind me of the work that needs to be done and often is done by people of privilege. The Jewish Women's Archive website is brimming with just such role models—hundreds of examples of women who did not let their privilege positions keep them from taking courageous action. JWA gives us a look at how our foremothers reconciled the complicated relationship between privilege and activism.

Elizabeth Scharpf's DIY Aid project: keeping African girls in school with affordable pads

There was a really interesting article in The New York Times last week by Nicholas D. Kristof about individuals who are, in effect, creating foreign aid on their own. He writes about various people who, feeling passionately about helping the world, got up, changed their lives, and simply, did it. He tells a few stories, highlighting the fact that many of the members of the “Do-It-Yourself Foreign Aid Revolution” are women.

Hannah Greenebaum Solomon

Hannah Greenebaum Solomon founded and served as the first president of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW). Solomon brought both leadership and ideological vision to the NCJW, helping it become the premier Jewish women’s organization of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Aliza Greenblatt

Deep love for the Jewish people informed the life of Aliza Greenblatt, an American Yiddish poet and an early, committed leader in Zionist and Jewish women’s organizations. Greenblatt was among the first to organize the American Jewish community and raise funds toward the establishment of a Jewish national home. Many of her poems, which were widely published in the Yiddish press, were also set to music and recorded.

Religious Zionist Movements in Palestine

Within the Yishuv society of pre-state Israel, there developed a unique sector with a complex ideology: a religious Zionist society that included two main movements—Mizrachi (1902) and Ha-Po’el ha-Mizrachi (1922).

Irma Rothschild Jung

Irma Rothschild Jung, a native of Randegg, Baden, Germany, was born on July 1, 1897, and until her death close to a century later, dedicated her substantial energies to pioneering Jewish communal programs in aid of the needy. Her maternal family, the Langs, had a written code of ethics, based upon observance and practice of Judaism, which served as a blueprint for family behavior in the public and private sectors. This code would guide Jung’s service to others for her entire life.

Edith Somborn Isaacs

She was born in New York City on June 18, 1884. After graduating from Barnard College, in 1910 she married Stanley M. Isaacs, with whom she had two children, Myron (b. 1911) and Helen (nicknamed Casey, b. 1913). When Stanley Isaacs ran for office (he served as Manhattan borough president from 1938 through 1941, and later as Republican minority leader on the City Council), Edith Isaacs ran his campaigns. She described her work as writing clever jingles for him, “corralling and instructing volunteers, drafting letters to constituents, working with experts on newspaper articles and advertising, and after the election, writing letters of thanks to all who helped.”

International Council of Jewish Women

The International Council of Jewish Women (ICJW) is an umbrella organization for forty-nine affiliates representing some two million women in forty-six countries. The head office rotates according to the place of residence of its current chairwoman, who is elected for a period of three years. Plans for future actions are decided on by a team of directors at international triennial conventions which take place in various countries. Each affiliate organization of the ICJW retains its own name and has its own projects. The ICJW is an entirely voluntary organization based on the good will of women motivated by their belief in the humanitarian duty rooted in in Judaism, in the vocation of the Jewish woman or mother, or simply in a sense of Jewish solidarity. Established in the early twentieth century and reconstituted immediately after World War II, ICJW never ceased its development throughout the vicissitudes of the past century.

Lina Frank Hecht

Born in 1848 in Baltimore to wealthy Bavarian immigrants, Lina Frank Hecht received a private education and moved in Baltimore’s elite Jewish circles. In 1867, she married Jacob Hecht (born 1834), who had immigrated to America in 1848, established a wholesale shoe business with his family in California, Baltimore, and Boston, and who, by the time he met Lina, was already a wealthy man. The couple moved to Boston and became leading members of the German Jewish philanthropic community. Uniquely in her time and society, Lina Hecht established her independent identity as a female philanthropist and social reformer.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Philanthropy and Volunteerism." (Viewed on January 16, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/philanthropy-and-volunteerism>.

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