This online collection contains reminiscences of a variety of recently deceased American Jewish women who made a difference in their community and beyond.
Having never heard of Sephardic music before her first exposure to it in the late 1970s in a Renaissance music group to which she belonged, she plunged headlong into an enduring passion to bring this music and the richness of its heritage to a greater audience.
Pam's approach to work mirrored her approach to life. She was direct and comforting. If something did not work out, try another door—another avenue. Be calm, yet be persistent. Look people in the eye and let them know they are valued.
Waldman's activism manifested itself in her Jewish identity... She believed that the experience Jews had had in the world gave a very powerful link to work for tikkun olam, for social justice and peace, and fighting oppression. Though she considered herself a secular humanist and never belonged to a synagogue, she had a very strong network in the grassroots of the Jewish community and really believed in the power and beauty of Jewish culture and experience.
…She chose action over passivity. She chose to reform rather than to conform. Her diverse background and interests led her down many paths. As a renowned feminist, filmmaker, psychologist, educator, author, and activist who fully invested herself in every fiber of her work-literally, physically, metaphorically-Joyce touched the lives of many.
Wasserstein observed that she was often told by producers and others that her plays were 'too New York,' which she understood as being a euphemism for 'too Jewish.' As Wasserstein recounted, when people asked her whether The Sisters Rosensweig with its three Jewish sisters, 'a hit in New York [could] play around the country,' she replied 'Well, you know this is something I've heard … People have sisters. Now maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they don't have them in Ohio. I could be wrong, but I've heard … they have sisters there.'
My mother was no shrinking violet. After a few weeks at home following the wedding, she got a job at the Gary Welfare Department, where she went on home visits and discovered Gary’s devastatingly impoverished African-American community. I am sure that this was a pivotal moment for her—and she never turned back.
Naomi sometimes described herself as a female Lenny Bruce. But she was not an imitation anything. She was pure Naomi.
Judy Wilkenfeld brought people together, made everyone with whom she came into contact better, and became a close and trusted friend, confidante, mentor, and role model to so many people with whom she worked.
She and Howard opened a third store and managed all three, while she translated her theatrical training and love of fashion into show-stopping window displays.
Willis brought lucidity and style to the most controversial and baffling cultural issues — her thought was a beacon of clarity. For those of us fortunate enough to have been her comrades, anticipating her insights was part of what kept us returning to meetings month after month, year after year.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "We Remember." (Viewed on February 19, 2019) <https://jwa.org/weremember/toc/W>.