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Schools

Minnie Dessau Louis

Minnie Dessau Louis was an essayist, journalist, and poet, but she is best known for her philanthropic work in the Jewish community, largely focusing on women and children. She devoted her life to teaching immigrant Jewish women multiple skills through the many and varied schools she ran and her involvement in the founding of the Hebrew Technical School for Girls and the National Council of Jewish Women.

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.

Helene Khatskels

In its commitment to socialism, diaspora Jewish nationalism, and Yiddish secular education, the life of the Yiddish pedagogue and writer Helene Khatskels closely reflects the history and ideals of the Jewish Labor Bund, which she actively supported. Her unfaltering devotion to her pupils, evident from both her own writings and writings about her, makes her stand out in the charged atmosphere of East European Jewish politics in the early twentieth century.

Chaile Raphael Kaulla

“Here rests a woman who was outstanding among her people and in her fatherland” is written on the gravestone of “Madame Kaulla” in the Hechingen Jewish cemetery. This refers to her charity as a wealthy and pious Jewish woman and to her significant achievements in serving the Grand Duke (later King) of Wuerttemberg and the imperial army (Reichsarmee). Chaile Raphael Kaulla was the most influential Jewish woman entrepreneur and one of the last Court Jews in eighteenth-century Germany.

Regina Kaplan

“Woman of valor” and “a tiny dynamo”—these phrases describe Regina Kaplan (nicknamed Kappy), nurse, teacher, hospital administrator, and health care innovator.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Schools." (Viewed on December 17, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/schools>.

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