Online History Courses

JWA presents virtual courses with scholars of Jewish women’s history, delving into the lives, challenges, choices, and innovations of Jewish women who changed our story. Each course is centered on a unique theme and consists of four to six sessions facilitated by experts in the field. Sessions are designed to stand alone, so participants can attend as many evenings as they'd like. No advanced reading or preparation required.

See past courses below. Please email to request access to course recordings.

Jewish Women in the Medieval World

November 2023

  • November 2: Sarah Ifft Decker, Capable Wives and Working Widows: Jewish Women’s Lives in the Medieval World
  • November 9: Elisheva Baumgarten, Men's Instructions, Women's Deeds: Gender and Religious Practice in Medieval Ashkenaz
  • November 16:Sara Gardner, Women’s Domestic Culture in Iberia
  • November 30: Renée Levine Melammed, Women’s Voices as Reflected in the Cairo Genizah

Beyond the Gender Binary (co-sponsored by Keshet)

June 2023

  • June 8: Confronting the Gender Binary with Tobaron Waxman. What is the gender binary? What does it mean to challenge/transcend/ignore it? How can archives and archival work expand our thinking on this?  
  • June 15: Destabilizing the Gender Binary with Sarah Imhoff. What assumptions do we make when we talk about the gender binary, whether in preserving it or going beyond it? What is the Jewish history of the gender binary in America?  
  • June 22: The Future of the Nonbinary Past with Max Strassfeld. How are nonbinary and trans Jews today claiming space in Jewish history and theology? What is the future of the field? 

Women and Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto (in partnership with POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews)

April 2023

  • April 18: Warsaw Ghetto Through Women’s Eyes, with Katarzyna Person
  • April 25: Rachela Auerbach at the Frontline of the Struggle, with Karolina Szymaniak
  •  May 2: Dorka Goldkorn and other Communists in the Ghetto, with Joanna Ostrowska  
  • May 9: The Interwar Roots of Military Resistance of Jewish Women in the Ghetto, with Katarzyna Czerwonogóra 
  • May 16: Herstories of Resistance, with Zuzanna Hertzberg  

Jewish Women in Film and Television

June 2022

  • June 2: Judy Holliday: Jewish Assimilation and 1950s Hollywood: Dr. Elyce Helford will explore Holliday's approaches to navigating antisemitism and sexism in midcentury Hollywood, along with the way her Jewishness manifested in select roles.
  • June 9: Big Mouths and Quiet Revolutionaries: Jewish Women in Film, 1970s-2010s: Focusing on Jewish women directors, Dr. Helene Meyers will examine key films from the 1970s to the 2010s, tracing continuity and change in the representation of Jewish women and gender relations.
  • June 16: Beyond the Cliché: Changing Images of Jewish Women on Television: Dr. Joyce Antler will explore how the portrayal of Jewish women has changed across American television history.
  • June 23: Penelope's Journey: Haredi Women on Israeli TV: Dr. Shayna Weiss will delve into what the portrayal of Haredi women in Israeli television can teach us about gender, culture, and religion in Israel.

Women in the Rabbinate (co-sponsored by Central Synagogue)

March 2022

  • March 2: Rabbi Carole Balin speaks with Rabbi Sally Priesand about her groundbreaking ordination in 1972, its impact on the rabbinate, and the women who influenced her along the way.
  • March 10:  Dr. Karla Goldman and Rabbi Laura Geller discuss Regina Jonas, the first woman known to have been ordained as a rabbi in 1935, who was nearly forgotten after her death in Auschwitz in 1944.
  • March 24:  Sara Gardner and Sigal Samuel will discuss Oznat Barzani (also spelled Asnat Barazani), a highly educated and respected Torah scholar and yeshiva leader in seventeenth-century Kurdistan.
  • March 31:  Rabbi Angela Buchdahl of Central Synagogue and Dr. Judith Rosenbaum of JWA discuss the long history of Jewish women's religious leadership and Rabbi Buchdahl’s own pioneering path as the first Asian-American rabbi.

The Hidden History of Jews and Reproductive Rights in America

December 2021

  • December 2: JWA CEO Dr. Judith Rosenbaum on the fight for birth control in New York City's immigrant community in the 1910s.
  • December 9: JWA Director of Programs Dr. Betsy More on how Jewish feminists in the 1960s and 70s organized and fought for national child care centers.
  • December 16: Dr. Rachel Kranson, Director of Jewish Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, on Jews and the politics of abortion after Roe v. Wade.
  • December 23: Dr. Samira Mehta, Professor of Women and Gender Studies and of Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado, on Jewish reaction against birth control in the face of second wave feminism.

Forgotten Lives (co-sponsored by Central Synagogue)

June 2021

  • June 3: Doña Gracia Nasi, with Miriam Bodian, Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
  • June 10: Stella Heinsheimer Freiberg, with Sarah Berman, Rabbi and Director of Adult Education at Central Synagogue in New York City.
  • June 17: Miriam Karpilove, with Jessica Kirzane, Editor-in-Chief of In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies and translator of Miriam Karpilove’s Diary of a Lonely Girl.
  • June 24: Leslie Feinberg, with Sasha T. Goldberg, who holds a PhD in Gender Studies at Indiana University and an MA in Judaism from The Graduate Theological Union.

Jewish Women, Race, and Ethnicity in America

March 2021

  • March 4: Multiracial Jews in the Early United States, with Laura Arnold Leibman, Professor of English and Humanities at Reed College.
  • March 11: Latina Jews in the United States, with Laura Limonic, Associate Professor of Sociology at SUNY Old Westbury.
  • March 18: Sephardic Women in America, with Devi Mays, Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan.
  • March 25: Black Jewish Women in Contemporary America, with Tema Smith, a diversity advocate, writer, and Jewish community builder.

Jewish Women's Activism in the United States

October 2020

  • October 1: Jewish Women in the Labor Movement, with Annelise Orleck.
  • October 8: Jewish Women and the Birth Control Movement, with Melissa Klapper.
  • October 15: Jewish Women in the Civil Rights Movement, with Debra Schultz.
  • October 22: Jewish Feminism, with Joyce Antler.
  • October 29: Jewish Women and LGBTQ Activism, with Marla Brettschneider.
  • November 5: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Legal Feminism, with Alison Lefkovitz.

Jewish Women You Thought You Knew (or Never Knew!)

August 2020 

  • August 6: Golda Meir, with Francine Klagsbrun.
  • August 13: Bertha Pappenheim, with Marion Kaplan.
  • August 20: Sarah Schenirer, with Naomi Seidman.
  • August 27: Bella Abzug, with Leandra Zarnow.

Leading through Crisis and Change: Jewish Women at the Turn of the 20th Century

June 2020

  • June 4: Jewish Housewives and the Kosher Meat Boycott, with Judith Rosenbaum.
  • June 11: Henrietta Szold, with Karla Goldman.
  • June 18: Jewish Women and the Suffrage Movement, with Carole Balin.
  • June 25: Emma Lazarus, with Rebecca Kobrin.


JWA’s online history courses were established with help from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of NEH.


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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Online History Courses." (Viewed on February 29, 2024) <>.