This online collection contains reminiscences of a variety of recently deceased American Jewish women who made a difference in their community and beyond.
She found that her feminism conflicted with the synagogue practice of denying women a place on the bimah. Only later did she [find] a sympathetic rabbi and a group of congregants who also believed in women’s equality.
She was born into a family of great rabbis and scholars; if she had been born a boy, her path would have been clear. Having been born a girl, she had to find her way. She did so with great success in her public and private lives, and did so with wisdom and grace.
BJ made an amazing difference in the lives of adopted people, birthparents, and adoptive parents and professionals. She never wavered in her beliefs, and in her stand for human rights in adoption.
We should hear her when we need courage to oppose sexism, whether political, historical, or unconscious; when we strive to balance family commitments with demands of career; and when we seek to follow in her footsteps to chart new paths in making and writing Jewish history.
Beyond her extraordinary artistic accomplishments, Adrienne was a mentor, resource, and role model to so many who have lived, or at least sojourned, in Yiddishland.
There are the doers in this world and there are the passive people who live vicariously through the doers. Thinking and learning is doing, because it makes you active and aware of your life
While always ready to challenge Jewish convention when necessary, she also honored those traditions that didn’t need changing. Indeed, numerous friends across Adina’s wide community bake challah because Adina taught them—a tradition she learned from her own mother, Toby.
Her generosity was boundless; she provided resources or advice, but the recipient had to be willing to listen and follow through. Nothing disappointed her more than someone settling for less than they could do.
She was never conflicted about whether or not to stand up on some issue or for someone who needed her support. She never slogged through some inner debate, yes or no, what shall I do? It was natural for her to just go ahead forcefully and say and do what was right in her eyes.
She always treated everyone the same regardless of race, gender, class, or age. She knew innately that these things were right. It took society a full generation or more to catch up with her.
A civic activist, storeowner, and avid collector of folk art, she was my family’s compass—there for every decision, every change, every milestone.
Vera Saeedpour became an expert on the Kurds because she was a Jew, and she died leaving the world a bit more sensitive to their plight than it was before she was here.
Ultimately, RIA created “an explosion of knowledge” in every aspect of medicine and was used in thousands of laboratories in the United States and abroad.
I know how many thousands of lives Esther has touched and how many Jewish women walk taller for having followed in her groundbreaking footsteps.
She was one of those singular forces of nature, who could move mountains, once thought immovable.
Prominent Boston-area therapist Edna Barrabee Grace enjoyed a long and successful career counseling couples. She helped many save their marriages by teaching them simply to be nice to each other.
She was a pioneer in discovering the purpose of certain areas of the brain, and the implications regarding human behavior. Without Dr. Helen Mahut, modern medicine would have a very different view and understanding of memory, the human brain, and resultant human behavior.
An agitator, rabble-rouser, and working-class Jewish lesbian, Gerry Faier found company and camaraderie among fellow labor organizers, the burgeoning gay and lesbian communities of Woodstock and Greenwich Village, and activists across many generations.
In every organization in which she was involved, she was recognized not only for her effective leadership but for her independence, intellect, hard work and kind heart.
Caryn tenaciously challenged complacency, resignation, and lack of creativity wherever she found it. With her characteristic absence of judgment, she continually modeled for everyone the holding of hope for all those struggling with physical and mental disabilities.
She understood the need for promoting religious pluralism, human rights, and democracy in Israel as fundamental Reform Jewish values. To Ruth, Jewish nationalism expressed in Zionism is a seamless and natural aspect of Reform Jewish identity.
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.
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.
She traveled the world in defense of Jewish rights, meeting with refuseniks and facing commissars in the Soviet Union, and advocating freedom of worship and emigration in front of the leaders of Syria and Egypt. She also defended Israel and the Jewish people in the halls and overseas conferences of the United Nations.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "We Remember." (Viewed on May 24, 2018) <https://jwa.org/weremember>.