Philanthropy and Volunteerism

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Jews of Color Initiative Publishes "Beyond the Count," a Pathbreaking Report on the Lived Experiences of Jews of Color

August 12, 2021

On August 12, 2021, the Jews of Color Initiative (JoCI), an organization dedicated to racial equality within the U.S. Jewish community, published Beyond the Count, a report based on surveys and interviews of over a thousand Jews of color. The report brought to light the often-sidelined experiences of Jews of Color, contributing to the JoCI’s mission to acknowledge and confront racism and exclusion within American Jewish life.

Cecilia Klaften

Cecylia Klaften, a pedagogue and a civic activist from Lvov (Galicia/Eastern Lesser Poland), implemented social reform projects and especially promoted the founding of vocational schools for women in interwar Poland. In the 1920s she was one of the founders of the Jewish Women’s Association and the WIZO Jewish Women’s Organization for Pro-Palestinian Work in Lvov. In the 1930s she was politically active for Lvov’s City Council.

Dodie Altman-Sagan's Bubbe's Lion of Judah Pin

Exploring My Identity with My Bubbe's Lion of Judah Pin

Dodie Altman-Sagan

My Bubbe’s Lion of Judah pin is a reminder for me of my grandmother: a strong, feminist leader.

Founding of the B'nai B'rith Girls (BBG)

April 22, 1944

B’nai B’rith Girls was founded by Anita Perlman.

Anita M. Perlman

Anita M. Perlman was a feminist visionary, leader, and philanthropist who founded the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG) -- the young women’s division of BBYO.

Composite Image of Lillian Wald and Slyvia Bloom

Symmetry: Sylvia Bloom and Lillian Wald

Marjorie N. Feld

When I heard last week about the extraordinary multimillion dollar donation by Sylvia Bloom, who died in 2016, to Henry Street Settlement, the word that immediately came to mind was the one I wrote to my Settlement friends: “there is a real symmetry there,” I told them.

Enid Shapiro, 1925 - 2017

Enid Shapiro lived tikkun olam. She was an early feminist, a devoted Jew, an unceasing learner, and she made a difference in countless people’s lives through her devotion to repair the world and her commitment to kindness and care that came from a place of profound integrity.

Susan Goodman Headshot

Acting Our Age with Susan Goodman

Abby Richmond

While her life’s work is a testament to her commitment to helping people grow older with dignity, respect, and independence, Susan Goodman’s latest project is remarkable in both its scope and specificity. Currently, in order to be interviewed on Susan’s blog Acting Our Age, you must be a woman 85 or older.

Rising Voices Fellow Abby Richmond with her Grandmother Cropped

Not Your Average Grandma

Abby Richmond

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.

Polly Cowan and Dorothy I. Height, 1964

How Do We Use Our Privilege?

Jordyn Rozensky

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

From the Rib

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.

Aliza Greenblatt

Deep love for the Jewish people informed the life of Aliza Greenblatt, an American Yiddish poet and Zionist leader in 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, widely published in the Yiddish press, were also set to music.

Religious Zionist Movements in Palestine

Religious Zionism, distinguished from the secular Zionists by its religious nature and from the ultra-Orthodox community by its Zionism, consisted of two major movements in the Yishuv: the Mizrachi and the Ha-Po’el ha-Mizrachi, a trade union. Women created their own organizations within these movements but distinguished themselves from the men through their support of women and their interests.

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 leadership and influence were deeply felt in the broader Jewish community by the countless individuals, young and old, who benefited from her generous spirit.

Edith Somborn Isaacs

Edith Somborn Isaacs made an impact on New York City both through her own volunteerism and by successfully running her husband’s campaigns for public office.

International Council of Jewish Women

The International Council of Jewish Women (ICJW) is a Jewish women's organization established at the beginning of the twentieth century, which evolved with the needs and events over time. As a women’s NGO, ICJW participates in a variety of projects promoting women’s rights and human rights, motivated by its roots in Judaism.

Lina Frank Hecht

Lina Frank Hecht was a prominent figure in the Jewish philanthropic community in late nineteenth-century Boston. Known for the creation of a Jewish Sunday school for new immigrants, Hecht influenced generations of children through her leadership and generosity.

Julia Horn Hamburger

A long-time volunteer, Julia Horn Hamburger was founding president of the New York Children’s Welfare League, which offered health and education services to immigrant children, the founding vice president of the Jewish Theater for Children and founding president of Ivriah, the women’s division of the Jewish Education Association. During WWII she shifted her focus to aiding the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Nazi League.

Hadassah (Spira Epstein)

Hadassah Spira Epstein was a major dance artist of the twentieth century, a performer of Jewish, Hindu, and other ethnic dance forms, and a leading force in presenting the dance of other cultures to the American public. She was a pioneer in bringing Jewish dance to the United States and was recognized as such in the first U.S. Congress on Jewish Dance held in New York City in 1949.

Elinor Guggenheimer

Elinor Guggenheimer first toured New York City day nurseries as a member of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies during the 1930s. Horrified by what she saw, Guggenheimer began a lifelong crusade for improved and standardized child care facilities across the country, in addition to her work promoting women in public office.

Selina Greenbaum

Selina Greenbaum was a philanthropist who created recreational resorts for overworked factory girls. In 1890, Greenbaum became the founding president of the Jewish Working Girl’s Vacation Society, which gave working young women a chance to find relief away from their demanding factory jobs.

Richea Gratz

Born into a wealthy Philadelphia family, Richa Gratz became the first Jewish women to attend college in America. After completing her education, she began her career in social work alongside her husband, supporting her synagogue as well as cultural organizations and aid societies.

Rebecca Gratz

Through the schools, philanthropic societies, and orphanages she established, Rebecca Gratz established a new model of religious education and made it possible for a new generation to identify as both fully Jewish and fully American.

Rebecca Fischel Goldstein

The quintessential rebbetzin [rabbi’s wife], Rebecca Fischel Goldstein was a prime mover in her husband’s drive to build the Institutional Synagogue and make it a center of Jewish life in Harlem. As a consummate volunteer leader, she strove to make women a dominant force in organized Jewish life.

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