Plays

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Jo Sinclair

Jo Sinclair’s works explore the repercussions of oppression in many forms: self-denial and self-destruction, antisemitism and Jewish self-hatred, continued psychic pain due to childhood suffering and dysfunctional family relations, repression of women’s sexual energy and sexual orientation, racism and the internalization of prejudice, poverty, and other forms of marginalization. Her work looks to self-knowledge as a means of emerging from one’s internalized ghetto.

Joan Micklin Silver

With the release of her critically acclaimed film Hester Street in 1975, Joan Micklin Silver established herself as one of the country’s premier independent film directors.

Joan Rivers

In revues, nightclub acts, and concert halls, and to a vast new audience via television in the 1970s and 1980s, Joan Rivers popularized and perfected a genre of comedy that challenged reigning social conventions.

Cecilia Razovsky

Cecilia Razovsky was a remarkably active woman who spent her life striving to assist immigrants in adapting to life in the United States and other countries.

Ayn Rand

The life and work of Ayn Rand, the novelist and philosopher who promoted an ethics called “Objectivism,” provide ample evidence for those who believe that human beings are inherently self-contradictory and illogical.

Marge Piercy

Grounded in feminism, political activism, and Jewish spirituality, more than thirty volumes comprise Piercy’s oeuvre.

Bertha Pappenheim

Bertha Pappenheim was the founder of the Jewish feminist movement in Germany. In 1904, she founded the League of Jewish Women. Pappenheim believed that male-led Jewish social service societies underestimated the value of women’s work and insisted on a woman’s movement that was equal to and entirely independent of men’s organizations.

Cynthia Ozick

There is simultaneously something very young and something decidedly hoary about the persona of writer Cynthia Ozick. She herself recognizes this duality.

Annie Nathan Meyer

Annie Nathan Meyer promoted women’s higher education and founded Barnard College, New York’s first liberal arts college for women. She also chronicled women’s work, dramatized women’s status in plays, novels, and short stories, and raised funds for Jewish and black students to attend Barnard.

Lillian Hellman

Controversial both during and after her life, Lillian Hellman was one of the leading women of letters of mid-century America and a pioneer woman playwright. Hellman displayed courage not only in writing powerful plays like The Children’s Hour but also in her public refusal to name colleagues to the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Miriam Shomer Zunser

Miriam Shomer Zunser, journalist, playwright, and artist, was an important promoter of Jewish culture in America during the period before World War II. Born in Odessa in 1882, Zunser left a strong legacy in the Yiddish literary world and in the world of Jewish activism and organization.

Shelley Winters

Shelley Winters’s acting career ranged from a fairy in a local pageant at age four to the eccentric Grandma Harris on television’s Roseanne. She performed in over one hundred movies, fifty stage plays and countless television programs, and won two Academy Awards and an Emmy.

Bertha Wiernik

Writer and translator Bertha Wiernik was born to Hirsch Wolf and Sarah Rachel (Milchiger) Wiernik in Vilna, Lithuania, on March 21, 1884.

Wendy Wasserstein

In 1989, with her play The Heidi Chronicles, she won a Pulitzer Prize and became the first woman to receive the Tony Award for Best Play.

Muriel Spark

While many of her critics marginalize Spark as a “Catholic writer,” it is clear that the wit, intelligence and subversiveness of her fiction are driven not by an unchanging morality but by a radical singularity.

Dora Shulner

Dora Shulner was a Yiddish writer who vividly evoked for her readers life in the Pale of Settlement before, during, and after the Russian Revolution and Civil War. She candidly portrayed women in their most intimate relationships with men, revealing the complexity of their disappointments and aspirations.

Esther Shumiatcher-Hirschbein

In December 1918, while he was on a speaking tour which brought him to Calgary, Esther Shumiatcher met and married Peretz Hirschbein (1880–1948), a leading playwright in New York’s Yiddish theater. Encouraged by her husband, Shumiatcher, who had previously written but apparently not published poetry in English, now turned to Yiddish.

Rose Shoshana

Rose Shoshana began her acting career in the Yiddish theater world, playing Manke in Got fun Nekome in 1908. She went on to perform across Europe, America, and Asia. When she arrived in New York in 1946, she began a career as a novelist, writer, translator, and journalist at the Forverts.

Viola Brothers Shore

While attending New York University, Viola Brothers Shore began her career as a writer in a range of disciplines. Her short stories, many about Jewish American lives of the day, were collected in The Heritage and Other Stories (1921).

Yente Serdatsky

Proud, independent, enterprising, and contentious, Yente Serdatsky exemplifies the enormous difficulties experienced by Yiddish women writers in achieving recognition. Her long-neglected work has consequently engaged the attention of contemporary Jewish feminist literary critics.

Nathalie Sarraute

A Russian Jew by birth, French by education and European by culture, Nathalie Sarraute was always intensely aware of and resistant to the reductive powers of categorizing language: she refused to be described as a “woman writer,” and would equally refuse the label “Jewish writer.” Growing up in Paris in the highly cultured milieu of her free-thinking father, Sarraute never felt any sense of difference in status between men and women, and Jewishness was never an issue.

Diana Raznovich

Diana Raznovich is an Argentinean playwright and graphic artist. A participant in Teatro Abierto, or Open Theater, against the dictatorial government of Argentina (1976-83), she sought exile in Spain, where she has lived since 1993 and where she prospered in her career as a dramatist and as a graphic artist specializing in humorous feminist cartoons.

Dorothy Rothschild Parker

Dorothy Rothschild Parker became a staff writer at Vanity Fair magazine, and quickly distinguished herself there with her cutting and well-turned humor.Parker’s stories, like her poetry, resonate with heartache and disenchantment, and reflect her obsessions: incessant alcohol consumption, spoiled romance, social injustice, and the follies of the rich.

Martha Morton

As a female playwright, Martha Morton faced adversity within the male-dominated New York theater world. Despite repeated rejection, she achieved fame and prosperity. Morton not only got her plays produced, but also directed and cast them herself, completely defying the theater industry’s expectations or vision of women’s involvement.

Clara Lipman

Clara Lipman based her long and successful career as an actress and playwright on her ingénue performances and her gift for light comedy. She wrote or co-wrote twenty-two plays, such as the 1912 hit Elevating a Husband, and was also active in the women’s suffrage movement.
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