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Annie Nathan Meyer

Annie Nathan Meyer promoted women’s higher education; chronicled women’s work; dramatized women’s status in plays, novels, and short stories; raised funds for Jewish and black students; wrote hundreds of letters to the editor; published art, drama, and music criticism; and championed physical activity and the outdoors.

Hunter College

Long known as the “Jewish Girls’ Radcliffe,” Hunter College of the City University of New York was founded in 1870 as the Normal College of the City of New York. It was a public, tuition-free secondary and teacher-training school that admitted students solely on the basis of academic merit, determined by competitive examination, and by residency in the city. Over the years, it became a haven for academically advanced students unable to afford more costly schools or to gain admission to institutions with more restrictive admissions criteria. Women who were considered “socially undesirable”—African Americans, Catholics, and Jews, especially those from Eastern Europe—attended Hunter in disproportionate numbers. Hunter’s student body, therefore, differed significantly from that of other women’s colleges in America. From 1900 to the end of World War II, decades when many institutions of higher education implemented policies of selective admissions specifically designed to deflect minority students, Hunter gladly welcomed these same women. Hunter educated scores of intellectually gifted and professionally talented women whose skills and achievements amply repaid the city’s largesse.

Frances Horwich

Frances Rappaport Horwich was born on July 16, 1908 in Ottawa, Ohio, and was the daughter of Samuel (b. c. 1868) and Rosa (Gratz, b. c. 1869) Rappaport. Samuel immigrated to the United States in 1884 from Austria and Rosa in 1885 from Russia. They had five children: Henry (b. c. 1895), Mary B. (b. c. 1898), Maggie F. (b. c. 1903), Joseph N. (b. c. 1905), and Frances (b. 1908). After completing high school in her hometown, Horwich earned her bachelor’s degree in 1929 from the University of Chicago. She received her M.A. from Teachers’ College at Columbia University in 1933 and her doctorate in education from Northwestern University in 1942.

Bessie Abramowitz Hillman

Bas Sheva Abramowitz (“Bessie” was created by an Ellis Island immigration officer) was born on May 15, 1889, in Linoveh, a village near Grodno in Russia. She was one of ten children born to Emanuel Abramowitz, a commission agent, and Sarah Rabinowitz. In 1905, Bessie, who spoke only Yiddish and some Russian, joined an older cousin in immigrating to America. Most 1905 immigrants fled czarist oppression and anti-Jewish violence, but Bessie reported that her aim in leaving home was to escape the services of the local marriage broker.

Melissa Hayden

Melissa Hayden was born Mildred Herman, April 23, 1923, in Toronto, Canada. Neither of her parents, Kate Weinberg and Jacob Herman, who had immigrated from the region surrounding Kiev in Russia, had any artistic talents. Her father operated a successful wholesale fruit and vegetable business. Her sister Leola was eight years her senior; her sister Annette was three years younger. Hayden started her ballet training fairly late, at age fifteen, with Boris Volkoff, an influential Toronto teacher. After five years of study with Volkoff, for which, when she was out of high school, she paid by working as a bookkeeper, she decided it was necessary to continue her training in New York.

Working Women's Education in the United States

This article discusses the many types of education Jewish working women received, focusing on the 1910s through the 1930s, the height of the workers’ education movement in the United States.

Women's American ORT

American ORT was founded as a males-only organization in 1922. Women’s American ORT (WAO) was founded October 12, 1927, to assist ORT in providing financial support to the ORT program serving Eastern European Jews.

Nelly Wolffheim

Psychoanalytic pedagogue Nelly Wolffheim trained kindergarten teachers, utilizing her own teaching methodologies that reflected Freudian understanding of child development.

Trude Weiss-Rosmarin

Trude Weiss-Rosmarin was one of the foremost Jewish intellectuals of the twentieth century. She was the editor of the Jewish Spectator, author of many books, and a woman of intense passions and commitment to Jewish life, with very strong and often provocative opinions. A dynamic speaker backed by broad-ranging Jewish scholarship and a prodigious memory, she was a popular lecturer at synagogues and Jewish centers across the United States and a foremost critic of American Jewish life and institutions.

Rosa Zimmern Van Vort

A member of Virginia’s first generation of trained nurses, Rosa Zimmern Van Vort devoted her career to the training and education of nurses.

Turkey: Ottoman and Post Ottoman

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, far-reaching changes took place in the Ottoman Empire in the political, social and geopolitical spheres.

Anna Ticho

From her first small, hesitant sketches to her forceful renditions in her own special earthy coloration, Anna Ticho’s art, like Jerusalem itself, hovers between symbol and reality.

Sarah Thon

As a child in Galicia, her father ensured that Sarah Thon would receive a good education despite the family's poverty. As an adult in Palestine, she established a network of lace-making schools around the country to provide a source of livelihood to hundreds of girls from destitute families.

Hasya Sukenik-Feinsod

Hasya Sukenik-Feinsod, one of the first kindergarten teachers in Palestine and among the earliest to fight for equal rights for women in the Yishuv, received her professional training in Berlin and devoted all her time and energies to the development of kindergartens in Palestine.

Rahel Straus

Rahel Goitein Straus, one of the pioneering women medical doctors trained in Germany, can serve as a model precursor to the “New Jewish Women” of the twentieth century. Successfully combining a career as a physician with marriage and motherhood, she adhered to traditional Jewish values, while also embracing feminist and Zionist ideals.

Bessie Cleveland Stern

Bessie Cleveland Stern is most recognized for her work as statistician for the Maryland Board of Education. She collected and interpreted data about the Maryland school system from 1921 through 1948, and school officials turned to her for information to support appropriations measures and proposed changes in state laws relating to the schools.

Lina Solomonovna Stern (Shtern)

The eminent physiologist and biochemist Lina Solomonovna Stern's curriculum vitae is testimony to her vigor and her incredible energy and immense working ability.

Dora Spiegel

Dora Spiegel rendered distinguished service in many fields: in the organization of league sisterhoods, in education, and in publications that stimulated women’s loyalty to the synagogue and the Jewish home. She helped found the Women’s Institute of Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and influenced the lives of countless Jewish women and children.

Soloveitchik, Rabbi Joseph Dov

Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveitchik (1903–1993) was the undisputed rabbinic leader and leading ideologue of American Modern Orthodoxy for much of the twentieth century.

Chava Slucka-Kesten

As a writer from the perspective of a politically engaged woman, Slucka-Kesten offers a unique glimpse into pre- and post-war Jewish life in Poland’s cities and villages, as well as into the early years of the State of Israel; there are few such women’s voices.

Ida Siegel

One of the most indefatigable and effective volunteer leaders in the history of the Toronto Jewish community, Ida Siegel either herself founded or participated in the establishment of many of the community’s most significant Zionist and welfare institutions.

Chana Shpitzer

Although not well-known outside Jerusalem, Chana Shpitzer was an important figure in the history of Israeli education and a pioneer in the field of Jewish education for girls.

Alice Hildegard Shalvi

Well known as a public speaker and a social activist, Alice Hildegard Shalvi’s contribution to Jewish education, to Israeli culture and to Jewish feminism has been widely recognized.

Second Aliyah: Women's Experience and Their Role in the Yishuv

The question of women’s identity in Jewish society in general and Yishuv society in particular has attracted some scholarly attention. The majority of the studies offer an approach that depicts the adoption of masculine characteristics by the new Hebrew woman and the excessive admiration for masculine labor as opposed to feminine labor.

Miriam Finn Scott

Miriam Finn Scott, a child diagnostician and specialist in parent education, advocated that “the soil of a child’s life was his home” and that parents could ensure the proper growth of their children if only they transformed their homes into “gardens.” Scott’s belief that good parenting was not instinctual fueled her desire to provide advice to parents in child rearing.

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