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Hephzibah Menuhin

Hephzibah Menuhin was a talented pianist and a dedicated human rights activist. After a successful international career performing with her brother Yehudi, Menuhin worked with her husband to assist the poor, the homeless, and the recently ill and served as president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Emma B. Mandl

Emma B. Mandl immigrated to the United States at age fifteen and helped found the Baron Hirsch Women’s Club, a major Chicago philanthropic organization. Through the club, where she served as president, Mandl created and led vital institutions for Jewish East European immigrants in Chicago, from orphanages to trade schools to tuberculosis wards.

Frieda Lorber

Frieda Levin Lorber made a name for herself as a prominent lawyer in the mid twentieth century and helped other women rise in the profession in New York and worldwide.

Johanna Loeb

Johanna Loeb’s philanthropic work extended to both Jewish and secular charities, such as the Home for Crippled Children, the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society of Chicago, the Home for the Jewish Friendless, and Chicago’s first Jewish Community Center. Her career not only strengthened the safety net for the disadvantaged throughout Chicago, but also illuminated the limitations and the potential that women’s philanthropic groups had in Jewish American society’s previously male-dominated community organizations.

Sadie Loewith

Sadie Loewith was an early twentieth-century teacher, businesswoman, active Republican Party worker, chairperson, organizer, and politician of high repute.

Sophie Irene Simon Loeb

At a time when widowed mothers often had no way to support their children, Sophie Irene Simon Loeb helped create support systems for needy children and their mothers. Loeb was one of many women to enter the political arena through reform work, using her life experience and a personalized approach.

Linda Lingle

Linda Lingle was only the second Jewish woman to be elected a United States governor when she became governor of Hawaii in 2002. Previously serving on the Maui County Council and as Maui’s mayor, Lingle became Hawaii’s first woman and Jewish governor when she was elected.

Irma Levy Lindheim

Irma Levy Lindheim was a colorful American Zionist millionaire, fund-raiser, and educator. Called “the grandmother” of the kibbutz for helping found and sustain multiple kibbutzim, Irma Levy Lindheim also made phenomenal contributions to fundraising and organizational efforts to create and maintain the fledgling State of Israel.

Adele Rosenwald Levy

Adele Rosenwald Levy used her affluence to promote public-spirited philanthropy and Jewish causes in the years surrounding World War II.

Jennie Davidson Levitt

Jennie Davidson Levitt, daughter of Jewish philanthropists Saul and Mary (Cohen) Davidson, continued her family’s tradition of activism and philanthropy with her work for Jewish organizations. She helped rescue Jewish children during the war, and later lobbied for better medical and psychiatric services.

Adele Lewisohn Lehman

Adele Lewisohn Lehman was a significant figure in the history of New York City philanthropy who was primarily involved in causes benefiting disabled people and children. A donor and fund-raiser, she also served as an administrator or board member for many agencies, including the East Side Free School for Crippled Children and the New York Board of Charities.

Sara Landau

Sara Landau was an accomplished twentieth-century economist who paired her scholarship with inexhaustible volunteerism in local and national organizations. Throughout her career in academia and service, Landau exemplified a category of economically independent middle-class Jewish women in America who both developed their own careers and devoted their energy to volunteer efforts, especially on behalf of their fellow Jews.

Ilona Kronstein

Ilona (Ili) Kronstein was an artist and graphic designer. In the 1930s she focused on her artistic training, working first as a graphic artist, before working in her own studio. Her work, which was not exhibited in her lifetime, was rediscovered in the late 1990s and exhibited in Vienna at The Jewish Museum.

Rebekah Bettelheim Kohut

Rebekah Bettelheim Kohut made her mark on the American Jewish community in the areas of education, social welfare, and the organization of Jewish women. Grounded in her Jewish identity as the daughter and wife of rabbis, Kohut had a public career that paralleled the beginnings of Jewish women’s activism in the United States.

Esther Loeb Kohn

Esther Loeb Kohn helped bridge the gap between Chicago’s volunteer and professional social workers and spent thirty years running the Hull House settlement whenever founder Jane Addams was away on her frequent travels.

Carol Weiss King

Carol Weiss King was one of the outstanding practitioners of immigration law during the period bounded by the Palmer Raids and the McCarthy era. In her thirty-year career, she represented hundreds of foreign-born radicals threatened with deportation in administrative proceedings in the lower courts and in the Supreme Court.

Juedischer Frauenbund (The League of Jewish Women)

Founded in 1904, The League of Jewish Women pursued secular German feminist goals while maintaining a strong sense of Jewish identity. The League supported vulnerable women through practical social reforms while fighting for political power within the German Jewish community. It saw employment opportunities as essential to women’s economic, psychological, and emotional independence.

Geri M. Joseph

Geri M. Joseph, a pioneer in the acceptance of women in journalism and politics, was a prize-winning newspaper reporter, an American Ambassador to the Netherlands during the Carter administration, and the first woman to be elected to several business boards in Minnesota.

Jewish Museums in the United States

American Jewish women have played an outsized role in the foundation of Jewish museums all over the country. Barred from traditional spaces of power in the early twentieth century, many women—adjacent to power as Rebbetzins, philanthropists, and secretaries of libraries and other Jewish organizations—leveraged their connections to found new kinds of cultural institutions: museums.

Florence Heller

An important benefactress of Brandeis University, Florence Grunsfeld Heller made her mark as one of the first women to run a general Jewish organization, the Jewish Welfare Board. She also founded the Florence Heller Graduate School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare at Brandeis in 1959.

Hadassah: Yishuv to the Present Day

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA) has a lengthy history of activity in the Yishuv and Israel, going back to 1913, about a year after it was founded in New York, and continuing to this day. This activity, outstanding in its scope, continuity, stability, and diversity, encompasses efforts in the sphere of health and medical services and in the welfare of children and youth.

Bracha Habas

Bracha Habas was an educator and one of the first professional women journalists in Erez Israel. She was a member of Davar’s editorial board and the co-founder of its children’s newspaper, Davar le-Yeladim. Enumerating on Habas’s 48 publications, Rahel Adir described her as “the recorder of Yishuv history.”

Rose Gruening

Rose Gruening created a number of social assistance organizations to aid immigrant families, offering practical help that included childcare, funding for college educations, and even a summer camp.

Rivka Guber

Through her work as a soldier, writer, teacher, and volunteer supporting immigrants, Rivka Guber exhibited selflessness for her neighbors and for the young State of Israel as a whole, earning her the title “Mother of the Sons” and the respect of the nation.

Elisabeth Goldschmidt

Elisabeth Goldschmidt was the founder of genetic studies as a research and teaching discipline at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She saw in the mass immigration of Jewish communities to Israel a unique opportunity for genetic research that might also contribute to the welfare of society, and in consequence founded the systematic research in human genetics and genetic counseling services in Israel.


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