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Schools

Higher Education in Central Europe

Many more Jewish men than Jewish women received a higher education in Central Europe before the Nazi era, but once Swiss, and later Austrian and German, universities began admitting women, the proportion of Jewish women among the female student population remained at least twice as high as the proportion of Jewish men among male students.

Lina Frank Hecht

Born in 1848 in Baltimore to wealthy Bavarian immigrants, Lina Frank Hecht received a private education and moved in Baltimore’s elite Jewish circles. In 1867, she married Jacob Hecht (born 1834), who had immigrated to America in 1848, established a wholesale shoe business with his family in California, Baltimore, and Boston, and who, by the time he met Lina, was already a wealthy man. The couple moved to Boston and became leading members of the German Jewish philanthropic community. Uniquely in her time and society, Lina Hecht established her independent identity as a female philanthropist and social reformer.

Hebrew Teachers Colleges in the United States

During the early waves of immigration to the United States, Sephardi and German Jews established full-time schools in large population centers. Rabbis, clergy and predominantly European-trained male teachers provided religious instruction in private-school settings, often sponsored by and housed in synagogues.

Marion Hartog

Marion Hartog, editor of the first Jewish women’s periodical in history, was born in Portsmouth, England, the fourth of twelve children of Joseph Moss (c.1780–c.1840), profession unknown, and Amelia (c.1780–c.1850). Amelia Moss was the granddaughter of the founder of Portsmouth Jewish Congregation and the daughter of Sarah Davids, the first Jewish child born in Portsmouth.

Hadassah School of Nursing: First Graduating Class

Nursing was not recognized as a profession until 1918, when the American Zionist Medical Unit, which later became the Hadassah Medical Organization, opened a nursing school. The group of young women accepted for the first class included women from various areas and population groups in the country: immigrants from Eastern Europe and native-born women, daughters of orchard farmers, founders of the first moshavot and pioneers who, together with men, drained swamps and built roads. These new women students decided to learn a profession that would allow them to live independent lives and contribute to the country.

Habsburg Monarchy: Nineteenth to Twentieth Centuries

The experience of Jewish women under the Habsburg Monarchy differed greatly according to the part of this large and extremely diverse country in which they lived. The Habsburg Monarchy was a dynastic state, whose territory had been acquired over many centuries and whose inhabitants spoke a wide array of languages, practiced many different religions, and constructed many different ethnic, national and cultural identities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Marjorie Guthrie

Marjorie Guthrie is remembered for her several careers. She was first a dancer and then a teacher. She founded the Woody Guthrie Children’s Fund and Archive (in 1956) to preserve her husband’s works for future audiences. Finally, during the last fifteen years of her life, she became a national advocate for basic biomedical research on the diseases of the chronically ill.

Rivka Guber

Rivka Guber (née Bumaghina) was born in Novo-Vitebsk in the Ukraine and went to high school in Yekaterinoslav (Dnipropetrovsk) intending to continue her studies at university. The outbreak of the revolution disrupted her plans and forced her to return to Novo-Vitebsk where she worked as a teacher. In 1920 she married Mordecai Guber, who was born in 1893 in the town of Gorodik near Bialystok. They immigrated to Palestine in 1925. The couple settled in Rehovot, where Mordecai taught Hebrew. They were among the founders of Kefar Bilu (1933), later leaving to join Kefar Warburg, where they raised their two gifted sons, Ephraim (b. 1927) and Zvi (b. 1931).

Rebecca Gratz

Rebecca Gratz believed that with an “unsubdued spirit” she could overcome all of life’s difficulties. A pioneer Jewish charitable worker and religious educator, Gratz established and led America’s first independent Jewish women’s charitable society, the first Jewish Sunday school, the Philadelphia Orphan Asylum, and the first Jewish Foster Home in Philadelphia. She surmounted the grief caused her by the deaths of many family members and loved ones, confronted Christian evangelism, and became a civic leader. Gratz’s accomplishments grew out of her own indomitable spirit and her commitments to both Judaism and America.

Bessie Goldstein Gotsfeld

Bessie Goldstein Gotsfeld’s name is synonymous with American Mizrachi Women (known today as Amit), the religious organization she helped to form. For thirty years, Gotsfeld was the Palestine (later Israel) representative for the organization. She supervised the establishment of vocational schools, children’s villages, and farms for religious youth, and forged a connection between women in the United States and children in Israel.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Schools." (Viewed on December 4, 2016) <https://jwa.org/topics/schools>.

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