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Helene Weigel

Helene Weigel was an actress and director known for her maternal roles in Bertolt Brecht’s plays and her incredible kindness and generosity. Weigel married Brecht in 1922 and they fled Germany during the war, returning to East Germany after the war. Weigel was known for her strength, energy, diplomacy, and good humor as she managed an acting career and dealt with many challenges in her lifetime. 

Dora Wasserman

Dora Wasserman created a place for Yiddish theater in Canada by founding a theater and adapting great works of Yiddish literature for the stage. After World War Two, Wasserman immigrated from the Soviet Union to Montreal, formed the Yiddish Drama Group, and produced plays and musicals. She was the first to demonstrate that a theater of diversity could survive and flourish in Canada, and she did so with an all-consuming selfless dedication to her art.

Wendy Wasserstein

In 1989, Wendy Wasserstein won the Pulitzer Prize for The Heidi Chronicles and was the first woman playwright to win a Tony Award. After graduating from the MFA program at the Yale School of Drama, in which she was the only woman, Wasserstein wrote countless dramas, three musicals, various comedy skits for television, and a series of essays published in the New Yorker, Esquire, and Harper’s Bazaar.

Zoe Wanamaker

Zoë Wanamaker is one of Britain’s most enduringly popular and talented actors. The recipient of numerous awards for both her stage and television work, she is known to millions of cinemagoers worldwide for her role as Madam Hooch in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001).

Salka Viertel

Salka Viertel was an influential actress, writer, and organizer of Jewish European immigrants in Hollywood. Viertel co-wrote screenplays for several Greta Garbo films. Her Hollywood salon welcomed émigrés such as Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Fred Zimmerman, Arnold Schoenberg, and Reinhardt.

Julie Taymor

Julie Taymor is an award-winning theater, opera, and film director best known for being the first woman to win a Tony Award for directing a Broadway Musical: The Lion King.

Yemima Tchernovitz-Avidar

Yemima Tchernovitz-Avidar was a passionate educator and author of Hebrew literature. Her creative works became classics of modern Hebrew children’s literature, and she has been awarded numerous accolades for her contributions to Jewish literature.

Eva Sopher

Eva Sopher was a Brazilian-Jewish theater manager and cultural entrepreneur in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, where she worked for 41 years. Sopher is recognized for her leadership in the renovation of the world-renowned São Pedro Theatre and her contributions to Brazilian theater, art, and culture.

Simone Simon

Simone Simon was a prolific international film star, known for her iconic appearance and voice. Simon spent her childhood in Marseilles and Madagascar and attended schools in Berlin, Budapest, and Turin before making her film debut in 1931. She became popular in France and Hollywood for her mysterious, vulnerable, and seductive acting style, and made over thirty-eight feature films in her career. 

She'erit ha-Peletah: Women in DP Camps in Germany

Family played an important role in the lives of Holocaust survivors in DP (displaced persons) camps – in 1947, the birth rate in DP camps was one of the highest in the world. Women served as teachers and eager students, and they were active in the effort to open immigration to Palestine.

Vivienne Segal

A talented singer/actor and superb comedian, Vivienne Segal enjoyed a lengthy career. She was best known for her role as Vera Simpson, the older woman in love with the “heel,” Joey (played by Gene Kelly), in the 1940 Rodgers and Hart musical Pal Joey.

Hanna Rovina

Called the "High Priestess of the Hebrew theater," Hanna Rovina was awarded the Israel Prize for Theater Arts for her contributions to the Habimah stage and her commitment to reviving the Hebrew language. Acting with the Habimah theater, she played many different parts over the course of six decades. A year before her death, Habimah named its large auditorium after her.

Lillian Roth

Lillian Roth, a singer-actor whose career met with early success but was eventually sidetracked by alcoholism and mental illness, wrote an autobiography that became an international bestseller. At fourteen Roth landed a part in the Shubert show Artists and Models; by seventeen, she was in Ziegfield’s Midnight Follies. She moved to Hollywood for a successful film career before her life fell apart due to mental health challenges and alcoholism. 

Jean Rosenthal

Jean Rosenthal was a pioneer in theater lighting design, finding new aesthetics for dance performances and theater productions. Rosenthal did the stage lighting for a number of well-known Broadway plays and musicals, such as West Side Story (1957), Becket (1960), Hello, Dolly! (1964), Hamlet (1964), Fiddler on the Roof (1964), The Odd Couple (1965), and Cabaret (1966). She is most famous for her unconventional lighting of dance and opera performances. 

Romanian Yiddish Theater

Romania was a wellspring of the Yiddish theater, as there were Jewish theater troupes in the major Romanian cities and acting troupes traveled throughout the country performing dramas, comedies, musicals, and operettas. Women played a significant role in performing and shaping Romanian Yiddish theater and became known internationally for their work on the Yiddish stage.

Sarah Reisen

Sarah Reisen was both a gifted Yiddish writer in her own right and a respected translator of great literature into Yiddish for children and adults. Recognized by contemporaries for her humane literary sensibility, she brought to Yiddish literature not only her own creative works but also her translations, which introduced readers of all ages to world literature.

Rachel (Eliza Rachel Felix)

One of the most famous Jews in nineteenth-century France, the actress Rachel was celebrated for her unparalleled talent and is credited with reviving classical French tragedies in the era of Romanticism. Throughout her life, she remained faithful to her family and Judaism. Rachel was unusually adept at managing her career, and she became an international star on foreign tours. 

Orna Porat

Orna Porat was a leading actor at the Cameri Theater who also performed at the Habimah, the Beer-Sheva Municipal Theater, Beit Lessin, and the Yiddish Theater. After immigrating to Israel from Germany, Porat struggled to learn Hebrew and break into the theater world, but ultimately she was successful. She is known for serving on the Cameri’s administrative board and founding the Cameri Children’s Theater.

Martha Morton

As a female playwright, Martha Morton faced adversity within the male-dominated New York theater world. Despite repeated rejection, she achieved fame and prosperity. Resisting expectations of women writers, Morton took a firm hand in production, often casting and directing her own work.

Elinor Morgenthau

Elinor Morgenthau’s accomplishments were largely invisible, as she helped her husband, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., rise to great heights in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration. Because of her sharp political and social skills, she often filled in for her husband, and eventually she became Eleanor Roosevelt’s assistant in the Office of Civilian Defense.

Meredith Monk

An innovator in mixed-media forms, Meredith Monk uses music, dance, drama, and film in her theater pieces. Acting as composer, choreographer, librettist, and performer, Monk creates diverse works that have been widely exhibited and have received many awards and honors.

Tanya Moiseiwitsch

Regarded as one of the foremost designers in twentieth-century theater, Tanya Moiseiwitsch was an innovative designer of costumes, sets, and stages, responsible for over two hundred productions in England, Canada, and the United States. She made an impact in the male-dominated world of stage design.

Ariane Mnouchkine

Director Ariane Mnouchkine is acclaimed as a major figure in French contemporary theater. She is known for founding the Théâtre du Soleil, which popularized contemporary fair-style theater, and for transforming an abandoned property in Paris into one of France’s most popular theaters.

Bette Midler

Bette Midler went from canning pineapples at a factory in Honolulu to starring in over 20 films, releasing two dozen records, and touring the world with record-breaking live concert performances. Midler got her start at a gay bathhouse in New York, where she developed the campy and confident persona “The Divine Miss M.” Her career in show business spans decades, old and new media, and musical genres.

Hanna Meron (Marron)

Hanna Meron began her long acting career as a four-year-old child prodigy, appearing in children’s theater, radio plays, and films. In 1945 she joined the recently founded Cameri Theater. She helped shape the company by becoxming active in management and as a member of the repertory committee, while also rising to prominence as one of Israel’s greatest actors.


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