Social Science

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Collection

Anita Brenner

Anita Brenner, an anthropologist, journalist, and art historian, was born in Aguascalientes, Mexico, to Jewish immigrants from Latvia and grew up in Mexico and Texas. She was an important part of the Mexican Renaissance cultural scene, and the internal tension she experienced as Mexican, American, and Jewish provided her with insight into both Mexican and Jewish identity.

Jewish Women and Intermarriage in the United States

Marriages between Jews and people of other faiths have long fascinated scholars, clergy, and communal leaders, who often considered the choice of a Jewish spouse as an indication of the strength of ethnoreligious identity and commitment to perpetuating Judaism and the Jewish people. However, many Jewish women who intermarry in the United States continue to identify Jewishly, engage in the Jewish community, and raise Jewish children.

This entry uses gender as category of analysis and change over time to illuminate the experience and meaning of interfaith marriage for Jewish women in America. It describes how women navigated their ethnoreligious identities when they married Gentile men, the influences of feminism, the rise of ethnic consciousness, and parenthood.

Mimi Levin Lieber

Mimi’s achievements were legion. She was a pioneer in opinion research relating to consumers and was at the forefront of shifting the thinking from what manufacturers make, to what consumers want. Her ground-breaking work in the transformation of sociology as a tool for studying people in general into a tool for the study of people as consumers helped to formulate many of what became widely-adopted methods of surveying public opinion and doing consumer research.

Mary Doria Russell

An experimental writer who often grapples with religion in her writing, Mary Doria Russell has found inspiration in historical events from WWII to the OK Corral.

Hanne Blank

Both as a historian and as a fiction writer, Hanne Blank has questioned how we relate to our bodies and our sexuality, from gender norms to fat-shaming.

Katya Gibel Mevorach

In her most famous book, Black, Jewish and Interracial: It’s Not the Color of Your Skin but the Race of Your Kin and Other Myths of Identity, anthropologist Katya Gibel Mevorach (nee Azoulay) explored identity politics, “passing” as white, and other social constructs of race.

Barbara Seaman / Miriam Perez

Women's Health Activists

Putting Women's Health in Their Own Hands

Death of Ruth Fredman Cernea, cultural anthropologist of Jews in Myanmar and Washington, DC

March 31, 2009

Ruth Fredman Cernea said, "Jewish humor is not silly, but it is absurd absurdity. It is the opposite of deep seriousness."

Listen and Tell: Oral History Projects

Learn about tools and techniques that will make oral history projects more engaging for both you and your students. Get oriented to various online resources that will help you collect and share stories in your classroom or community. Finally, explore how oral histories can be used as “Jewish texts” that teach students about Jewish history, identity, and community.

Gertrude Wishnick Dubrovsky, 1926 - 2012

To the credit of the nuns, my Jewish search was encouraged, my questions were never cut short, and a patient effort was made consistently to answer me.

Adina Back, 1958 - 2008

While always ready to challenge Jewish convention when necessary, she also honored those traditions that didn’t need changing. Indeed, numerous friends across Adina’s wide community bake challah because Adina taught them—a tradition she learned from her own mother, Toby.

Suzanne Keller, 1927 - 2010

"Like 'The Man Who Came to Dinner,' I was the woman who came to Princeton."

Frances Feldman, 1912 - 2008

Frances Feldman's life and work are a testimony to the highest standards of social work scholarship. They reflect compassion, systematic understanding, and relentless curiosity. A pioneering spirit, personally and intellectually, she changed the world she lived in and left indelible memories with all who knew her.

Barbara Myerhoff

Myerhoff was a renowned scholar, heading the University of Southern California's anthropology department in Los Angeles where she lived and raised her family. A creative and extremely popular professor, she urged her students to use the tools of anthropology to question and better understand their own lives and the lives of others. But Myerhoff's influence also reached far beyond academia, and she touched a broad audience with her books and films.

Still Jewish: An interview with Keren McGinity

Judith Rosenbaum

Recently, JWA hosted a fascinating webinar with Dr.Keren McGinity on "Gender Matters: a New Framework for Understanding Jewish Intermarriage Over Time." Keren is the author of Still Jewish: A History of Women and Intermarriage in America, and is the Mandell L. Berman Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Contemporary American Jewish Life at the University of Michigan's Frankel Center for Judaic Studies.

Judith R. Shapiro inaugurated president of Barnard College

October 27, 1994

Judith R. Shapiro, a widely respected cultural anthropologist who has done pioneering research on gender differences, was inaugurated as president of Barnard College on October 27, 1994.

Birth of conservative intellectual Gertrude Himmelfarb

August 8, 1922

Gertrude Himmelfarb, who was born on August 8, 1922, has made her career as an intellectual historian, but she has perhaps made her larger ma

Sociology in the United States

Jews have made a disproportionate contribution to the field of sociology, despite discrimination and exclusion. Because sociologists are not identified by religion, it is difficult to know which American women sociologists are Jewish. Therefore, the first challenge in understanding the contribution and experience of American Jewish women sociologists is to identify them.

Barbara Myerhoff

An award-winning anthropologist and feminist scholar, Barbara Myerhoff emphasized the importance of storytelling and studying one’s own community. Myerhoff’s work pioneered the study of elderly Jews and highlighted the role of women in religion, which had been previously neglected by the scholarly world.

Paula E. Hyman

Distinguished historian Paula Hyman was engaged deeply in Jewish feminism and wrote extensively on the history of Jewish women in an effort to integrate their experience into the Jewish historical narrative. A role model for many, she challenged sacrosanct beliefs and stereotypes with vigor and knowledge and left behind a myriad of scholarly contributions and a profound vision for Jewish women.

Hannah Thon

Hannah (Helena) Thon was a social worker, journalist and editor, a student of Israel’s ethnic communities, and one of the leading figures in the women’s voluntary social-welfare organizations during the Yishuv (pre-State) period in Israel.

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.

Sociodemography

Over the last several decades, Jewish women attained significant achievement in the socio-economic sphere and played a leading role in maintaining Jewish continuity. In general, Jewish women are educated and participate in the labor force at higher rates than their non-Jewish counterparts.

Judith Tannenbaum Shuval

Judith Shuval is one of the main scholars in the field of the sociology of health in Israel. Her research on migration and health, inequality in health, self-care in health, the doctor-patient relationship, and the processes of professional socialization has been based in concrete life in Israel and has broader implications for such topics cross-culturally.

Marjorie Shostak

Despite a lack of formal training as an anthropologist, Marjorie Shostak wrote one of the most popular life histories in the field, Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman, in 1981. A recounting of interviews between Shostak and a woman she met in the Kalahari desert, Nisa has become a touchstone for feminist anthropological studies.

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