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Dorothy Franco Muscatel

A vibrant social organizer, Dorothy Franco Muscatel was born in Seattle in 1917 to parents who, in 1910, were among the first Sephardic Jews to immigrate to Seattle from Rhodes, Greece. Her parents and grandmother were instrumental in creating important Seattle Jewish institutions, including the Sephardic cemetery. Dorothy learned from their example. Her achievements include helping form Seattle chapters for The City of Hope and Guide Dogs for the Blind; and service as president of the Seattle Sephardic Sisterhood and Sephardic Bikur Holim Ladies' Auxiliary. Married to Jack Muscatel and mother of three, Dorothy continued to shine the light of her family and herself on Seattle’s Jewish and secular communities until her death on December 26, 2003.

Leni LaMarche

A gifted student, teacher, and comedienne, Leni LaMarche has shared her love of Sephardic culture with Seattle’s Sephardic community for over sixty years. Born in Seattle to immigrants from the island of Rhodes, Greece, Leni has lived most of her life in Seattle. She has one daughter from a first marriage, and after several challenging years as a single mother during the early 1940s, Leni remarried and had three sons. While raising her family, Leni engaged in a variety of paid and volunteer work. Leni also writes a column entitled Bavajadas de Benadam [people’s foolish little words] for her synagogue’s newsletter. Leni is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to Sephardic history, language, and customs, and laces her wisdom and stories with delightful humor.

Ventura Franco Israel

A native of Seattle, Ventura Israel was
born in 1915, two years after her parents immigrated from Turkey. Forged as a strong woman by the deaths of men in her family-her father’s in 1928, her first husband’s in 1970, and her second husband’s in 1989-she helped support her family during the Depression, and as a twenty-five year employee of Union Federal Savings and Loan. Both her first husband, Maurice Franco, and her second husband, Morris Israel, were born in Rhodes, Greece, and Ventura spent her religious life in Seattle’s Sephardic community. The mother of two, and a vibrant community member, Ventura currently volunteers at the Caroline Kline Galland home and at her synagogue, Congregation Ezra Bessaroth.

Esther Eggleston

Widowed at age 36, Esther Eggleston managed single motherhood and work as the first female executive administrator of Temple de Hirsch Sinai, serving three rabbis and a growing membership of almost 1,000 families during her 23 years of service. Born in St. Louis in 1905, Esther’s family moved to Seattle in 1912. In her working life she felt useful and accomplished, underappreciated and unacknowledged-the tangle of rewards and disappointments experienced by working women in mid-century. Devoted to her daughter and her volunteer causes, Esther received the first Esther Eggleston Outstanding Service Award from Women’s American ORT in 1993, now awarded annually in her honor.

Carolyn Blumenthal Danz

A Seattle native of Ashkenazic-German descent, Carolyn Danz grew up in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. She was a lifelong member of Temple De Hirsch Sinai, the oldest Reform Congregation in the Pacific Northwest. Carolyn graduated in 1939 from the University of Washington with a BA in Fine Arts, married Jerry Taylor in 1940, and had two children. Jerry, diagnosed with MS early in their marriage, died in 1959. Carolyn supported her family by opening and running a dressmaking business. A skilled seamstress, she and her talented African American assistant, Maude, made beautiful clothing.

Shifra Bronznick

There was no territory that our feminist imaginations and visions could not discover, recover, or transform.

Heather Booth

Jane ultimately served over 10,000 women before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in 1973.

Ways to Spend Your Privilege

Jordyn Rozensky
jacqui shine

As a white, cis female, I’m aware of my privilege. As a Jew, I’m especially aware of how we as a people and community have had first hand experience with more than our share of both privilege and persecution. Perhaps it is because I am so aware of my own privilege and so motivated to move beyond feelings of helplessness that Jacqui’s writing so moved me.

Volunteer Expeditions Group in New Orleans

Interview with Patricia Vile, Founder and President of Volunteer Expeditions

Gabrielle Orcha

Hurricane Katrina, one of the most destructive and costliest natural disasters in U.S. history, slammed into New Orleans on this day in 2005.

Clara Schiffer, 1911 - 2009

She faced discrimination overtly as a Jew and less overtly as a working woman... Those experiences sensitize people to what fair treatment is. We knew that to be fair was important, to work for improving the world an essential task.

Shabbat at Planned Parenthood

Chanel Dubofsky

The people awake at 7:15 a.m., when I left the house this past Saturday morning, were walking their dogs, washing off the streets in front of their stores and picking up a bite to eat.

June Salander, 1908 - 2010

June took the opportunity to study Torah with the rabbi and five other women and, at age 89, became the oldest woman in Rutland to celebrate her bat mitzvah.

Synagogue Sanctuary

Is the shul a place for political activism?

Kate Bigam

I spent last Friday night celebrating Shabbat at Temple Ohabei Shalom in Brookline, Mass., a Reform synagogue I’d never before visited. I was in awe of the chapel’s breathtaking, brightly colored stained glass windows, and I was fascinated by Rabbi John Franken’s take on Parshat M’tzora, which drew unexpected parallels between, of all things, skin diseases and marketing (all with a Jewish bent, of course). But it was a bright green insert in the Friday night program that struck me most.

Top 10 Jewish Women in Labor History

10 Things You Should Know About Emma Lazarus

Leah Berkenwald

Emma Lazarus was born in 1849 to Moses and Esther Nathan Lazarus, descendants of the pioneering group of Spanish and Portuguese Jews who settled in New Amsterdam in the mid 1600s.

Top 10 Jewish Women in Labor History

10 Things You Should Know About Belle Moskowitz

Leah Berkenwald

Born in Harlem in 1877, Belle Moskowitz (née Lindner) enjoyed a successful career as a reformer, settlement worker, and labor mediator before becoming a force in Democratic politics in the 1920s. A close advisor to New York governor and presidential candidate Alfred E. Smith, by the 1928 elections she was the most powerful woman in the Democratic Party.

Esther Hautzig, 1930 - 2009

She encouraged people of all ages, especially young people, to keep a journal and record their stories. She believed that all stories were unique to the individuals writing them and each life story important in its own way.

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.

Beatrice Holtzman Schneiderman, 1904 - 1996

Her courage was more than physical: she had the courage of her convictions. Passionate about social justice, she did not stand on the sidelines. If a cause mattered to her, she dove in wholeheartedly, attending rallies, volunteering for Board service, arranging meetings, and organizing fundraisers.

Polly Spiegel Cowan, 1913 - 1976

The legacy that my mother left went beyond the immediate family. She was part of a great movement that profoundly changed American society. On a personal level, the legacy of her commitment inspired the succeeding generations of our own family. We, her children and grandchildren, remain committed to the beliefs of prophetic Judaism: to help the poor and the needy and to seek justice.

Lois Levin Roisman, 1938 - 2008

Lois' life was centered on the inherent goodness of humans and inherent humor of life. Everything she did was based on the principle that if you could make people laugh about the human condition, then you could make them do something to improve it.

Unit 3, Lesson 5 - Civil Rights and Social Justice Today

Consider what contemporary civil rights and social justice issues matter to us today, and how Jews and African Americans determine their priorities and responsibilities to effect social change.

Hannah Greenebaum Solomon

Hannah Greenebaum Solomon dared to go out into the world and establish the first national association of Jewish women. A superb organizer, Solomon emphasized unity, and orchestrated agreements among Jewish, gentile, and government groups on local, national, and international levels.

Justine Wise Polier

An outspoken activist and a "fighting judge," Justine Wise Polier was the first woman Justice in New York. For 38 years she used her position on the Family Court bench to fight for the rights of the poor and disempowered. She strove to implement juvenile justice law as treatment, not punishment, making her court the center of a community network that encompassed psychiatric services, economic aid, teachers, placement agencies, and families.

Rebecca Gratz

As the founder and secretary of Philadelphia's earliest women's philanthropic organizations, Rebecca Gratz helped define a new identity for American women. She devoted her adult life to providing relief for Philadelphia's underprivileged women and children and securing religious, moral and material sustenance for all of Philadelphia's Jews.

Shoshana Cardin becomes first woman to lead a major national Jewish organization

November 15, 1984

After over two decades of building a reputation as a passionate and generous member of the Jewish community through her activism and volunteer work, Baltimorean Shoshana Cardin was elected as the first woman president of the Council of Jewish Federations on November 15, 1984.

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