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Marion Simon Misch

Marion Misch participated in a great number of volunteer activities through her lifetime, all the while running a successful business following the death of her husband. Her primary interests centered on education and Judaism, and her volunteerism reflected her concern for these issues.

Mexico: Education

The first immigrants to arrive in Mexico during the early decades of the twentieth century from Eastern Europe, Syria and the Balkan countries were profoundly concerned with the formal education of their children. At that time, part of the controversy in the community was whether Mexico should be an “in transit” country to the United States or a place in which to settle permanently, in which education would play an important role as part of the socializing process.

Fania Metman-Cohen

Fania Metman-Cohen set up the first Hebrew kindergarten in Odessa in 1899 and ran a Zionist school in 1902–1903, at which Chaim Nachman Bialik taught. She was active in the local B’not Zion organization for the education of Zionist women and—together with her husband—set up the Army of Rebirth Association that sent educators, physicians and other professionals to Palestine.

Minnie Dessau Louis

Minnie Dessau Louis was one of the most active and important Jewish communal workers on the American scene from the 1880s through the early 1900s. Born in Philadelphia on June 21, 1841, the second daughter of Fannie (Zachariah) and Abraham Dessau, Minnie moved to Georgia with her family when she was four months old. She returned north to attend Brooklyn’s Packer Collegiate Institute in 1857 and 1858, and in 1866 married businessman Adolph H. Louis.

Judith Berlin Lieberman

In her contribution to the book Thirteen Americans: Their Spiritual Autobiographies, Judith Berlin Lieberman wrote that her goal was to “elevate the teaching of Bible and the traditional commentaries to their rightful place in the curriculum for girls,” to help them “acquire a knowledge of and love for the Hebrew tongue” and of Eretz Yisrael.

Sara Lee

Sara Lee, a Jewish educator who combines charisma with caring and vision with realism, has become a central figure in the effort to ensure Jewish continuity. In recent years the American Jewish community has recognized both the critical need for and the difficult challenge of providing all Jews with an excellent, compelling Jewish education.

Rachel Mordecai Lazarus

In 1815, Rachel Mordecai Lazarus, a twenty-six-year-old North Carolina schoolteacher, met a “Shylock.” Dishearteningly, he was a character in her favorite writer’s latest novel. Even worse, the malicious London coachmaker of Maria Edgeworth’s The Absentee (1812) was named Mr. Mordicai. The sting festered, and Rachel wrote to Edgeworth, a best-selling Irish writer of fiction and progressive educational guides, requesting an explanation. Rachel’s genteel, principled criticism moved and shamed Edgeworth, who not only begged pardon but set out in her next tale to unveil antisemitism’s irrational roots. So began an epistolary friendship that continued until Rachel Mordecai Lazarus’s death, though few knew of it. Adhering closely to social strictures on women—to be widely known was to risk one’s virtue—she refused ever to have her name publicly linked to Edgeworth or to the apologetic novel she inspired, Harrington (1817).

Rebekah Bettelheim Kohut

Rebekah Bettelheim Kohut made her mark on the American Jewish community in the areas of education, social welfare, and the organization of Jewish women. Grounded in her Jewish identity as the daughter and wife of rabbis, Kohut had a public career that paralleled the beginnings of Jewish women’s activism in the United States.

Esther Loeb Kohn

“The great need today is for social inventions for the prevention of destitution and illness.” This statement, made in 1938, illustrates two of the primary interests of Esther Loeb Kohn’s life—social reform and medical social work. A thirty-year resident of Hull House, the famous Chicago social settlement founded by Jane Addams, Kohn was also an active volunteer and financial supporter of Jewish charitable organizations in Chicago.

Kindergartens in Palestine: First and Second Aliyah (1882-1914)

Today, it is impossible to conceive of a proper educational system that does not include kindergartens. But this was not the case in the late nineteenth century, when the earliest pioneers reached Palestine, began to establish agricultural settlements and laid the cornerstone for the country’s earliest educational institutions.


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Schools." (Viewed on March 17, 2018) <>.


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