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Women's Studies

Dafna Nundi Izraeli

Izraeli was Professor of Sociology and former Chairperson of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Bar Ilan University, Israel. At the time of her death, she was Chair of the Interdisciplinary Program in Gender Studies and head of the Rachel and J. L. Gewurz Center for Research on Gender at Bar Ilan, which she endowed in the name of her parents. The Bar Ilan Program, which she initiated, is one of only two M. A./Ph. D. Gender and Women’s Studies programs in Israel.

Ruth Gruber

Ruth Gruber was born on September 30, 1911, in Brooklyn, the fourth of five children of David and Gussie (Rockower) Gruber, Russian Jewish immigrants who owned a wholesale and retail liquor store and later went into real estate. She graduated from New York University at age eighteen and in 1930 won a fellowship to the University of Wisconsin, where she received her M.A. in German and English literature. In 1931, Gruber received a fellowship from the Institute of International Education for study in Cologne, Germany. Her parents pleaded with her not to go: Hitler was coming to power. Nevertheless, she went to Cologne and took courses in German philosophy, modern English literature, and art history. She also attended Nazi rallies, her American passport in her purse, a tiny American flag on her lapel. She listened, appalled, as Hitler ranted hysterically against Americans and even more hysterically against Jews.

Doris Bauman Gold

Doris Bauman Gold was motivated by her long participation in Jewish organizational life to found Biblio Press, dedicated to educating Jewish women about their own history and accomplishments. Through Biblio Press, Gold has published more than twenty-seven general audience books that address and illuminate the culture, history, experiences, and spiritual yearnings of Jewish women.

Carol Gilligan

Carol Gilligan has broken new ground in psychology, challenging mainstream psychologists with her theory that accepted benchmarks of moral and personal developments were drawn to a male bias and do not apply to women. Gilligan proposed that women have different moral criteria and follow a different path in maturation. A psychologist who taught at Harvard and Cambridge, Gilligan brought a feminist perspective to challenge Freud and new life to the statement “The personal is political.”

Barbara Dobkin

Barbara Berman Dobkin is the pre-eminent Jewish feminist philanthropist of the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first century. Her vision, dedication, generosity and financial commitment have contributed significantly to changing the landscape of Jewish women’s organizations and funding in both North America and Israel. In her central pursuit of the full equality and integration of women and women’s issues into every aspect of Jewish life, Dobkin co-founded Ma’yan: The Jewish Women’s Project and has served as the chair of The Jewish Women’s Archive and the ten million dollar Hadassah Foundation. She has also been a pioneering donor-activist on Jewish gay and lesbian issues, in progressive Israeli organizations, and in the U.S. women’s funding movement, and has garnered a national reputation as a speaker on issues of women’s philanthropy and leadership.

Dorothy Dinnerstein

Since its publication, Dorothy Dinnerstein’s The Mermaid and the Minotaur: Sexual Arrangements and Human Malaise (1976) has been recognized as one of the most important contributions to modern feminist thought. The book, translated into at least seven languages, is widely used in women’s studies courses and is an influential text outside academia as well. Comparing Dinnerstein’s book to Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, one reviewer declared that this seminal essay not only belongs in “every feminist library” but in the “library of every well-educated person.”

Florence Levin Denmark

The existence of two autobiographies and two biographies attest to the importance of Florence Denmark’s contributions to American psychology. However, none of these published materials mention the fact that she is Jewish, probably because she has never felt that her Jewish heritage is particularly salient to her. Nevertheless, like the work of other Jewish women of her generation, Denmark’s contributions to psychology have been socially activist in nature. She is a founder of the field of the psychology of women, and has contributed much to its legitimization in terms of both scholarship and organizational leadership.

Natalie Zemon Davis

Natalie Zemon Davis is a leading European historian, a pioneer in feminist studies, and one of the first women to assume a senior position in academic life. In 1987, when she served as president of the American Historical Association, the largest professional organization of historians in the United States, she became only the second woman ever to hold that post. Davis’s work has enriched historical understanding by challenging the boundaries of scholarly inquiry and broadening the scope of the historical profession.

Annette Daum

“Feminists can and should have a significant role in promoting understanding and respect between Christians and Jews.” These words of Annette Daum highlight her devotion to two causes: interfaith dialogue and feminism.

Rose Laub Coser

In a life devoted to studying how social structure affects individuals, sociologist Rose Laub Coser made contributions to medical sociology, refined major concepts of role theory, and analyzed contemporary gender issues in the family and in the occupational world.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women's Studies." (Viewed on December 5, 2016) <https://jwa.org/topics/womens-studies>.

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