Volunteers

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Lillian Simon Freehof

Lillian Simon Freehof (1906-2004) was a leader in developing transcription services for people with visual impairments and blindness, working with Sisterhood volunteers at Rodef Shalom Congregation in Pittsburgh, PA, and, at the national level, with the Federation of Temple Sisterhoods (now WRJ).  She also wrote books and plays for children and young adults and books on needlework and Jewish festivals for adults. She was the wife of Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof.

Helene Hines on her handcycle

This Year, Resolve to Be More like This Badass Woman

Madisen Siegel

Whenever she heard ‘no,’ Helene Hines pushed back—and proved everyone wrong.

Frances Rosenthal Kallison

Frances Elaine Rosenthal Kallison was a horsewoman and historian, a cofounder of the Texas Jewish Historical Society, and the only Jewish woman in the National Museum and Cowgirl Hall of Fame.  A regional leader of the National Council of Jewish Women, she lobbied to end the poll tax and open pre-natal clinics for the poor. The exhibit she curated on Texas Jewry for the 1968 World’s Fair in San Antonio has been continually updated.

Meyera Oberndorf

Meyera Oberndorf blazed trails in Virginia politics as the first woman and first Jewish mayor of Virginia Beach, the largest city in the Commonwealth. From 1988 to 2008, she stood up to a long-ingrained good old boy network and led the city through difficult issues including racial unrest, all while staying closely connected to her citizens as “the people’s mayor.”

Sally Gottesman

Sally Gottesman, born 1962 in New Jersey and residing in New York, is a non-profit entrepreneur whose leadership and philanthropy have had a major impact on the Jewish feminist and justice landscape.

Bruria Benbassat de Elnecavé

Bruria Benbassat de Elnecavé was an ardent activist who dedicated her life to educate Jewish Argentines in general and Jewish Argentine women in particular about Zionism and the State of Israel. 

Three Jewish Women Participate in Forming of First Girl Scout Troops

March 12, 1912

On March 12, 1912, the first meeting of what would become Girl Scouts of the USA convened at the home of Juliette Gordon Low in Savannah, Georgia.

Flyer for Betty Friedan's 1963 Presentation in Detroit

From the Archives: To Volunteer or Not to Volunteer? The Betty Friedan Conundrum

Robbie Terman

Betty Friedan helped pave the way for women in the workforce, and the world is better for it. But, contrary to her early advice, we should not forget the contributions of volunteers to our society.

Minnah Stein with Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie

A Tale of Two Cities and Their Mayors

Minnah Stein

Getting to intern with the mayor of Sarasota, Shelli Freeland Eddie, has been one of the best experiences of my life. I want to have a career that allows me to help people, and working with the mayor has enabled me to learn from the best. I’m so proud that our city has a strong woman as mayor who young girls in my community can look up to.

I’ve learned so much from all of the experiences my internship has offered me, but my favorite internship days are the days when after the City Council meetings are over, I trade my notepad and flats for a Girls Inc. t-shirt and sneakers. I leave the City of Sarasota and go to Dream Harbor, the mock city run by the girls at Girls Inc.

Sofia Gardenswartz in "Serving Spoons" Apron

Double-Bound

Sofia Gardenswartz

I am the President of a nonprofit, Serving Spoons, that prepares and delivers healthy, home-cooked meals to families in need. I accepted this leadership position nearly five years ago, and though I expected to encounter challenges due to my age, I felt confident I could convince the other industry professionals to take me seriously if I demonstrated maturity, responsibility, and commitment to my organization. Yet one of the greatest challenges, as I soon discovered, wasn’t my mere fourteen years, but rather my identity as a female.

Topics: Food, Volunteers
Katy Ronkin and Rhoda Nissenbaum

Saturdays with Rhoda

Katy Ronkin

Almost every Saturday for the last five years, I’ve gone to visit my friend Rhoda Nissenbaum. We read together and talk, along with my mother and Rhoda’s aide, Sarah. What started as my Bat Mitzvah project has blossomed into a beautiful friendship.  Fortunately, I was able to record my recent meeting with Rhoda, and we got a chance to talk about her life, all 97 years of it! 

Topics: Activism, Volunteers
Blanche Hart

From the Archives: Blanche Hart, the Jane Addams of Detroit

Robbie Terman

The year Blanche Hart was born, the United States celebrated its 100th birthday. The telephone was patented, Mark Twain published The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and the Transcontinental Express train traveled from New York City to San Francisco in just 83 hours and 39 minutes.

Topics: Volunteers

Benevolent Societies and Tzedakah

Examine different ways that American Jewish women historically—and we today—fulfill the obligation of tzedakah (charity) and gemilut chesed (acts of loving kindness).

Hurricane Katrina: Community Responsibility and Tikkun Olam

Explore Hurricane Katrina as an example of how Jews respond to catastrophe. Gail Chalew, a Jewish reporter from New Orleans, tells the story of Haley Fields, a thirteen year old girl from Los Angeles, who came up with her own unique way of helping those in need.

Ray Frank's Yom Kippur Sermon, 1890

Read the 1890 Yom Kippur sermon by Ray Frank, the first Jewish woman to preach formally from a pulpit, and consider what unites and divides the Jewish people both historically and today.

Pauline Bebe

Pauline Bebe’s struggles to become the first women rabbi to serve in France have made her sensitive to the importance of welcoming people of all backgrounds to participate in Jewish life.

Pauline Bebe

The first woman rabbi in France, Pauline Bebe has worked to reach out to addicts, HIV-positive people, and others who often struggle to find an inclusive community.

Julia Neuberger

Baroness Julia Neuberger holds an unusual double distinction as both a rabbi and a member of the House of Lords.

Karen Sokal-Gutierrez

After recognizing a neglected epidemic causing severe pain to children around the world, Karen Sokal-Gutierrez founded the Global Children’s Oral Health and Nutrition Project (GCOHNP) to improve diet and dental care for children and their families.

Jessica Posner Odede

Jessica Posner Odede first came to Nairobi with dreams of volunteering with a theater program, but her experiences in the slums of Kiberia drew her to co-found Shining Hope for Communities, creating a girls’ school as a hub for social services ranging from medical aid to clean power and water initiatives.

Helen Lieberman

Shocked by the poverty of South Africa during the worst years of apartheid, Helen Lieberman founded Ikamva Labantu (Future of Our Nation) to offer black South Africans access to education and social services.

Jessica Beckerman

In 2005, while still an undergraduate at Brown, Beckerman co-founded Muso, an organization that works to eliminate maternal and child mortality in the developing world through a combination of health care and preventative medicine.

Susan Hess

A lover of animals and the natural world, Susan Hess helped the Louisiana SPCA and City Park raise funds and plan their recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina.

Susan Hess

A lifelong volunteer, Susan Hess used her talents as a fundraiser to help the Louisiana SPCA, City Park, and other organizations mobilize after Hurricane Katrina.

Miriam Waltzer

Miriam Waltzer, a retired judge who had spent her career working to improve the lives of others, found it difficult to be on the receiving end as a refugee in need of aid.

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