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An American Jew in Israel

Teach about Israeli Independence Day (Yom Ha’Atzmaut) through the lively and engaging letters of Zipporah “Zippy” Porath. Through the letters of this young American woman who was studying at Hebrew University in 1947, we will explore the joy and the heartbreak that led up to Israel’s statehood and examine the role that gender played in one woman’s Zionist experience.

Birth of Florence Melton, Innovator in Jewish Adult Education

November 6, 1911

Florence Melton wanted others to "spend some, save some, and share some."

Rabbah Sara Hurwitz

The Rabba Revolution Continues

by  Elana Sztokman

Three years ago this month, Rabba Sara Hurwitz made history in the Jewish world by becoming the first publicly ordained female rabbi in the Orthodox community. Since then, the 35-year-old mother of three has been working as Dean of Yeshivat Maharat, an institution dedicated to training women Orthodox clergy, as well as working as Rabba at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, which this June will graduate the first three women with the title of Maharat — an acronym for “Religious, spiritual, Torah leaders” — marking yet another important milestone for women in Orthodoxy. Rabba Hurwitz explained to "The Sisterhood" what this all means.

Table and Chairs

How I Came to My Table

by  Vanessa Zoltan

I was seated at one of those grand, heavy, deep brown mahogany tables in a beautiful room with two walls of windows. To my left, sat my mother, visiting for a few days from Los Angeles. Then to my right, and all the way around the table sat 10 classmates and my professor. We were talking about my favorite topic: How do you do good?

Topics: Schools, Theology
Heather Booth and Fannie Lou Hamer, 1964

Tikkun Olam in a Mississipi Freedom School

by  Doreen Rappaport

On February 1, 1960, four black students in Greensboro, North Carolina, sat down at a race-segregated lunch counter in Woolworth’s and asked for service. When the waitress refused to serve them, they remained seated. This act of passive resistance launched a mass Civil Rights Movement involving tens of thousands of black southerners demanding equality and an end to the hideous system of racial segregation. I was a vocal music teacher in junior high school in the Lower East Side of Manhattan then, and not that much older than these students. Their courage and dignity in the face of constant violence fired my heart and mind.

Image of an Afghani Girl

In the Name of Allah: What a Young Afghani Woman Has Taught Me

by  Samantha Wood

Tell someone a story, and you don’t know what will happen next.

Last summer I was lucky to study at the Jewish Women’s Archive’s Institute for Educators. We spent five intense days learning the Living the Legacy curriculum with top scholars in social activism, Jewish feminism and history. In the coming months, I will be using Living the Legacy to teach a series of social justice workshops to teens in western Massachusetts.

But something else happened because of what I learned at the Jewish Women’s Archive.

Judith Rodin, first woman named president of Ivy League university

December 17, 1993

This date marks two “firsts” for Judith Rodin—the first Penn graduate to serve as president of the University of Pennsylvania and the first woman to become president of an Ivy League institution.&n

Rachel Rosmarin on Workmen's Circle

My Surrogate Jewish Grandmas

by  Rachel Rosmarin

You know those heartwarming chick flicks where women with seemingly little in common are forced together by circumstance, bond over something like quilting, beekeeping, small-town politics or a Jan

Topics: Schools

Shulamith Soloveitchik Meiselman, 1912 - 2009

She was born into a family of great rabbis and scholars; if she had been born a boy, her path would have been clear. Having been born a girl, she had to find her way. She did so with great success in her public and private lives, and did so with wisdom and grace.

"Thank G-D for creating me according to your will"

by  Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez

Three years ago I had the opportunity to visit the rare books room at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) library. I saw many interesting things, but one that would change my life forever.

Dr. Evelyn Handler killed at 78

by  Kate Bigam

Amidst the cheery holiday hustle and bustle surrounding the holiday season, tragedy struck in Bedford, NH late last month,  claiming the life of Dr. Evelyn Handler (nee Sass), former president of Brandeis University. The 78-year-old Handler, a cell biologist who served as Brandeis’s first (and so far only) female president, was killed in a pedestrian accident while crossing the street with her husband on December 23rd.

Topics: Schools

Reconsidering Jewish sororities must involve a systematic reconsideration of Greek life

by  Chanel Dubofsky

They seemed like they were everywhere, since where my friends and I lived on campus was known for its Greek population.

Top 10 Jewish Women in Labor History

10 Things You Should Know About Fannia Cohn

by  Leah Berkenwald

Her life offers evidence of the possibilities and limitations of women’s activism in the American labor movement.”

Top 10 Jewish Women in Labor History

10 Things You Should Know About Lillian Wald

by  Leah Berkenwald

Lillian Wald was born in Cincinnati, OH in 1867. Like many German Jews, her parents had emigrated from Europe soon after the revolutions of 1848. Her father, an optical goods dealer, moved his family to Rochester, NY in 1878. The Walds valued culture as well as formal education. Lillian remembered her parents’ home as a place overflowing with books. She went to a school in Rochester that taught in French as well as English.

Rosalie Silberman Abella speaks on "Identity, Diversity, and Human Rights" at Harvard

March 1, 2010

In a talk at Harvard University on "Identity, Diversity, and Human Rights," Canada Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella shared her family's Holocaust story and explained how it informs he

Mattie Levi Rotenberg, 1897 - 1989

One <em>Erev Pesach</em> my grandmother demonstrated physics at the University of Toronto for three hours, went to the radio studio to tape a live broadcast, taped two more broadcasts for the upcoming days of <em>Yom Tov</em>, and came home to make <em>seder</em>.

Unit 3, Lesson 3 - Growing tensions II: Affirmative Action

Assess Jewish attitudes towards Affirmative Action as an example of how individuals and communities try to manage competing priorities.

Unit 3, Lesson 2 - Growing tensions I: Black-Jewish Relations

Analyze how underlying rifts in the relationship between African Americans and Jews brought these groups into more overt conflict in the late 1960s, with a focus on the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school crisis and a poetry slam activity.

Unit 2, Lesson 4 - Community Organizing I: Freedom Summer

Explore the role of community organizing, Jewish values, and moral conviction in the lives of young civil rights activists as you imagine yourself a participant in Mississippi Freedom Summer.

Happy Birthday, Hebrew School

by  Susan Sklaroff

Today marks the 172nd anniversary of the First Hebrew Sunday School in the United States, founded in 1838 in Philadelphia.  You can read about it at JWA's This Week in History. It was an audacious undertaking which required the special talents of an unusual woman.

Lillian Wald

Lillian D. Wald was a practical idealist who worked to create a more just society. Her goal was to ensure that women and children, immigrants and the poor, and members of all ethnic and religious groups would realize America's promise of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Henrietta Szold

Henrietta Szold enlisted generations of American Jewish women in the practical work of supporting Jewish settlement in Palestine and Israel. As an essayist, translator, and editor, she became one of the few women to play a foundational role in creating a meaningful American Jewish culture.

Mazel Tov, Martha Minow, New Dean of Harvard Law!

by  Jordan Namerow

Great news! Yesterday, Martha Minow, the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard, was appointed dean of Harvard Law School. A long-time friend, supporter, and founding board member of the Jewish Women's Archive, and member of the Law School faculty since 1981, Minow is a distinguished legal scholar with interests ranging from international human rights to equality and inequality; from religion and pluralism to managing mass tort litigation; from family law and education law to the privatization of military, schooling, and other governmental activities. She is also a widely admired teacher who chaired the Law School's curricular reform efforts of recent years and was recognized with the School's Sacks-Freund Award for Teaching Excellence in 2005.

Topics: Schools, Teachers, Law

Death of author, educator, and Zionist pioneer Jessie Sampter

November 11, 1938

Jessie Sampter was an influential Zionist educator, a poet, and a Zionist pioneer. She died at Kibbutz Givat Brenner on November 11, 1938.

Rebekah Kohut honored for fifty years of communal activism

November 21, 1935

U.S. Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, NYC Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, Rabbi Stephen S.

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