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Opening of Barnard College

October 7, 1889

Driven by the effective and fervent lobbying efforts of activist Annie Nathan Meyer (1867-1951), Barnard College opened its doors on October 7

Founding of Women's American ORT

October 12, 1927

In a Brooklyn kitchen on October 12, 1927, Anna Boudin, Mrs.

Birth of "Grand lady of the southwest frontier" in New York City

September 10, 1857

Flora Langerman Spiegelberg, the "grand lady of the southwest frontier" was born on September 10, 1857.

Drisha Institute graduates its first female Talmud scholars

August 18, 1996

On August 18, 1996, Devorah Zlochower, Leora Bednarsh, and Laura Steiner were recognized for completing a three-year program of Talmud study at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education in New York City.

Death of early music pioneer Wanda Landowska

August 16, 1959

Born in Warsaw in 1879, Wanda Landowska studied piano at the Warsaw Conservatory, from which she graduated at age 14. In 1900, she moved to Paris, where she taught piano and performed.

Mizrachi Women meet independently for first time

June 19, 1939

The Mizrachi Women's Organization opened its first independent meeting on June 19, 1939, in Atlantic City.

Birth of Trude Weiss-Rosmarin, editor and commentator on American Jewish life

June 17, 1908

Born in Germany on June 17, 1908, Trude Weiss-Rosmarin became a major commentator on the nature of American Jewish life.

Clara de Hirsch Home for Working Girls opens

May 22, 1899

Funded by a bequest from the British Baroness Clara de Hirsch, the Clara de Hirsch Home for Working Girls opened its doors

Public health pioneer Margaret Arnstein appointed dean of Yale School of Nursing

March 13, 1967

Born in New York City in 1904, Margaret Arnstein grew up in a family deeply involved in social health and welfare projects.

Senda Berenson officiates at first collegiate women's basketball game

March 22, 1893

Senda Berenson, the "Mother of Women's Basketball," officiated at the first women's basketball game on March 22, 1893, at Smith College, in Northa

Vocational Training Schools in the United States

In the years prior to World War I, few institutions enchanted the members of American Jewry’s philanthropic community as much as the vocational training school. Combining education with charity and moral uplift with sociology, these school generally focused on teaching domestic skills. Despite their popularity, they were criticized for their lack of religious education and strictly gendered structure.

Torah Study

Although the obligation of Torah study is one of the most important Jewish commandments, women have long been exempted, or even excluded, from it. Over time, scholars mitigated women’s exclusion by rendering it inapplicable to all content, to all women, or both. Regardless of halakhic rulings, some women have studied Torah in all time periods.

Teaching Profession in the United States

Jewish women in the United States became professional teachers to an extent unprecedently in Jewish history. Through Jewish educational organizations, Jewish schools, and public schools, female Jewish teachers have played an important role in shaping the North American teaching profession.

Helen Tamiris

Helen Tamiris was a leader in forming American modern dance. An acclaimed choreographer and director, she used dance to comment on the social issues of her day, including racism, poverty, and war.

Edith Rosenwald Stern

Edith Rosewald Stern used her family’s wealth for her community’s good. In New Orleans, she helped fund schools to offer her children and their peers a progressive education. Stern also fought to clean up voting rights in the city, organizing voter registration, auditing voter rolls, and bringing voting machines into high schools to educate future voters.

Stern College for Women

Founded in 1954, Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University is the longest-standing college in America for women under Jewish auspices. It has attracted young women from both Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jewish homes interested both in secular university training and high-level Jewish studies. 

Pauline Perlmutter Steinem

Pauline Perlmutter Steinem, like her granddaughter Gloria Steinem, was an ardent activist for women’s rights, especially suffrage. She was also involved in Jewish activism, serving many local Jewish organizations and devoting a considerable amount of her income to send Jews to Israel just before World War II began.

Barbara Miller Solomon

Barbara Miller Solomon was not only an educator but a pioneer in the field of women's history. Named the first female dean of Harvard College in 1970, she laid the groundwork for the formal establishment women’s studies there. Her scholarship on the history of immigration and women's history remains influential today.

Settlement Houses in the United States

Founded beginning in the 1880s in impoverished urban neighborhoods, settlement houses provided recreation, education, and medical and social service programs, primarily for immigrants. Jewish women played significant roles as benefactors, organizers, administrators of, and participants in these institutions.

Felice Nierenberg Schwartz

Recognizing the hurdles that can stop women from achieving, Felice Nierenberg Schwartz founded Catalyst, an organization to help women with children enter the workforce, created a national network of resource centers and programs to enable women to work part time, and advocated for working mothers in her widely published writing.

Science in Israel

In Israel, awareness has grown recently that only through proactive effort can gender equality in scientific fields can be realized. Thorough investigations of inequalities have taken place, and actions are being taken to catalyze policy and systematic action to further women in science and technology.

Sarah Schenirer

Sarah Schenirer, a divorced dressmaker who lived in Krakow, Poland, was the founder of Bais Yaakov, a network of schools for Orthodox girls. By the time she died in 1935, the school she founded in 1917 had grown to hundreds of schools in Poland and beyond.

Alice Salomon

Alice Salomon was an educator, feminist, economist, and international activist who was one of the pioneers of the emerging field of professional social work in Germany in the early 20th century. In 1925 she was among the founders of the German Academy for Women’s Social and Educational Work, and she later served as the first president of the International Committee of Schools of Social Work.

Salonika: Female Education at the end of the Nineteenth Century

Salonika was a vibrant center of Sephardic Jewish life in the Ottoman Empire, at some points even boasting a majority Jewish population. The Alliance Israélite Universelle, a French Jewish educational program, was established to westernize, or in their words “regenerate,” Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewish communities. The Alliance established dedicated girls’ schools to give young Jewish women a secular education.

Mattie Rotenberg

The first woman and the first Jew to be granted a doctorate in physics at the University of Toronto, Mattie Rotenberg also founded Toronto’s first Jewish day school in 1929 to educate her five children. She went on to embark upon a successful second career in journalism.


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