Plays

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Lazarus, Nahida Ruth

In 1891 Nahida Ruth Lazarus published The Jewish Woman, a product of her fundamental interest in both feminism and Judaism, which aroused enormous interest. It was and remains an important source book for women’s studies, used and cited by countless female and male authors.

Shulamit Lapid

One of Israel’s best-known contemporary writers of fiction, drama and poetry, Shulamit Lapid was born in Tel Aviv in 1934. Her father, David Giladi (b. 1909), was one of the founders of the daily Ma’ariv newspaper. She studied Middle Eastern studies and English literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 1956 to 1957, but did not complete a degree. She is married to journalist Joseph (Tommy) Lapid (b. 1931), who from 1999 to 2005 was a member of Lit. "assembly." The 120-member parliament of the State of Israel.Knesset (Israeli legislature).

Else Lasker-Schüler

“I was born in Thebes, Egypt although I came into the world in Elberfeld in the Rhineland.” This is how Else Lasker-Schüler characterized her background, indicating the separation between imagination and reality, artistic and bourgeois existence that marked her life. To speak for her she created the persona of Jussuf, Prince of Thebes, her alter ego who appears in her writings and drawings and with whose name she often signed her letters. This figure has an important Jewish component. Her Egyptian Jussuf is in fact the biblical Joseph with whom Else Lasker-Schüler identified already as a child. He is Joseph the dreamer and poet, ridiculed by his brothers, betrayed and sold.

Gertrud Kolmar

In a letter of July 1941, Gertrud Kolmar writes to her sister Hilde: “I am a poet, yes, that much I know; but I never want to be a writer.” The German-Jewish author considered poetry a more spiritual and superior form of writing that allowed for a revelation of spiritual beliefs and personal growth.

Rashel Mironovna Khin

Given her role in late-nineteenth century Russian society, Rashel Mironovna Khin might be cast as Eastern Europe’s “salon Jewess.” Like her counterparts in the West—Rahel Varnhagen, Dorothea Mendelssohn Schlegel and others of eighteenth-century Berlin—Khin presided over a coterie of women and men, Jews and gentiles, gathered together for a social and intellectual event.

Beatrice Kaufman

Regarded as one of the wittiest women in New York during the 1930s and 1940s, Beatrice Kaufman edited important works of modernist poetry and fiction, published short stories of her own in the New Yorker, and saw several of her plays produced on Broadway. Her life demonstrated that a perceptive, ironic, and acculturated Jewish woman could become a valuable contributor to New York’s literary subculture.

Fay Kanin

Over a sixty-year career as a writer, actor, coproducer, and activist, Fay Kanin was awarded several Emmys and Peabodys, the ACLU Bill of Rights Award, the Crystal Award from Women in Film, the Burning Bush Award from the University of Judaism, and nominations for Oscar and Tony awards. She served as President of the Motion Picture Academy for an unprecedented four terms (1983-1988).

Miriam Kainy

“Men have been running this world for thousands of years. Obviously in a lousy fashion. Now it’s our turn.” These words are typical of Miriam Kainy, winner of the Israel Prime Minister’s Literary Prize in 1997, who regards herself as the “big mamma” of Israeli women playwrights—a claim which is difficult to contest.

Anna Maria Jokl

“Man vergisst nichts, nichts” (One forgets nothing, nothing, Essenzen, 106), says Anna Maria Jokl in her book Essenzen (1993), when, in her seventies, she looks back at her life—a life that struggles against forgetting, a life shaped by persecution, exile and repeated new beginnings in different places.

Helen Joseph

An internationally renowned puppeteer and author on marionettes, Helen Haiman Joseph made a career entertaining and educating audiences of all ages with the performance of puppetry.

Janie Jacobson

Combining her Jewish background with her skill and penchant for writing, Janie Jacobson succeeded as a biblical playwright. The children’s plays she authored were performed nationally.

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.”

Holocaust Literature

Studies of women and the Holocaust, or gender and the Holocaust, are part of a dynamic, evolving field. As part of literary studies, their approaches draw upon the many other fields and methodological approaches, such as history of the Holocaust, gender history, psychology, trauma theory, literary theory, life writing, women’s studies, religious studies and gender theory.

Judith Herzberg

Judith Herzberg has created an extensive body of work during the more than thirty years that she has been active. She has written poems, essays, plays, film scripts and television dramas, and has many translations and adaptations to her name. Judith Herzberg made her debut as a poet at the beginning of the sixties. During the seventies she began to write for the stage, stimulated by the Institute for Theater Research of Nederland.

Hebrew Theater: Yishuv to the Present

From its beginnings early in the twentieth century, Hebrew theater was the province of men. With the exception of a few trailblazers such as Miriam Bernstein-Cohen, who translated and produced plays, it was not until the 1980s that women writers and directors began to work in the Israeli theater. Of all the theatrical professions, only actresses had truly been partners in the enterprise of reviving Hebrew culture. It is therefore appropriate to begin with several of the most important of these and to go on from there to playwrights and directors.

Hebrew Drama: Representation of Women

Since its beginnings in the 1920s, Hebrew theater has been perceived by its audiences as a “high” cultural activity, and the topics it chooses to present have often prompted public controversy and debate. However, what has generally been ignored is the fact that prior to the 1980s there was an almost total absence of women-related topics and women’s voices in Hebrew theater.

Sophie Von Grotthuss

In her extensive unpublished correspondence with Wolfgang von Goethe, Sophie von Grotthuss (born Sara Meyer in Berlin) describes her difficult farewell to Judaism. Her mother, a woman possessed by an unnatural hatred of religion, “married [her] off at the age of fifteen to a wretched creature who for ten years made [her] life a hell.” As she frequently wrote, the marriage in 1778 to the merchant Lippman Wulf completely destroyed her. After Wulf’s death in 1788, she revived, traveled a great deal, particularly to the spas of Bohemia, where in 1795 she became acquainted with Goethe, with whom she corresponded until 1824. In 1799 she married the Livonian Baron Ferdinand Dietrich von Grotthuss, who was soon impoverished and became postmaster in Oranienburg. In her later years she was a prolific author. In an unpublished letter to Goethe, dated August 14, 1824, she refers to a novel, a play and several stories, which she was sending him for approval. Apart from the story, “Sophie ou la difference de l’Education,” two unpublished manuscripts, “Opinions of a German Woman, written in Dresden in the summer of 1814,” and a play, The German Governess, her works appear to have been lost.

Luba Robin Goldsmith

In 1902, Luba Robin was the first woman to graduate from the school of medicine at the Western University of Pittsburgh (later the University of Pittsburgh). Luba Robin’s career combined private medical practice, teaching, writing, lecturing, and active participation in educational, social, and public health work.

Lea Goldberg

Not only did Goldberg work in a vast range of creative areas—as a poet, author of prose for adults and children, playwright, gifted translator, scholar and critic of literature and theater—but in every one of these fields, and certainly in her poetic output, one can discern many and varied “channels”—from diverse poetic genres to surprising and innovative uses of language and form.

Natalia Ginzburg

Arguably the most important woman writer of post-World War II Italy, Natalia Ginzburg was born on July 14, 1916 in Palermo (Sicily), where her Jewish Trieste-born father, Giuseppe Levi, who later achieved fame as a biologist and histologist, was at the time a lecturer in comparative anatomy. Modest and intensely reserved, Ginzburg never shied away from the traumas of history, whether writing about the Turin of her childhood, the Abruzzi countryside or contemporary Rome—all the while approaching those traumas only indirectly, through the mundane details and catastrophes of personal life.

Nora Glickman

Widely recognized as a literary critic, Glickman has published the fruit of her research in over a hundred articles and reviews in major journals and anthologies. A considerable amount of this is devoted to the image of the Jew in Latin American and Brazilian literature.

Rose Franken

Rose Dorothy Lewin Franken was a celebrated Broadway playwright and director, a Hollywood screenwriter and a popular novelist whose fiction touched a sympathetic chord in American women.

Edna Ferber

A dedicated writer for more than fifty years, Edna Ferber was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on August 15, 1885. She celebrated America even as she exposed its shortcomings. Her published work includes twelve novels, twelve collections of short stories, two autobiographies, and nine plays—most in collaboration with other playwrights.

Ruth Fainlight

Ruth Fainlight was born in New York on May 2, 1931, the daughter of a British father and an American mother with Russian-Jewish ancestry. In 1946 she settled in England, where she studied at colleges of art in Birmingham and Brighton. She married the writer Alan Sillitoe in 1959. The couple have one son and one daughter. Although a successful writer of short stories, a dramatist/librettist and translator, she is best known for her poetry, whose modern style blends subtle image-making with toughness of expression.

Phoebe Ephron

Phoebe Ephron was not only a successful playwright and Hollywood screenwriter but also the mother of four daughters, three of whom achieved success in the film industry as well, thereby proving that women could have both a career and a family. Ephron's family life influenced her writing, and the lessons she learned at her job were also taught to her children.
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