In Our Own Voices

Front cover of Jewish Women's Archive's In Our Own Voices: A Guide to Conducting Life History Interviews with American Jewish Women. Edited by Jayne K. Guberman, photographs by Joan Roth, and introduction by Joyce Antler. (Jewish Women's Archive, 2005)

Conducting Life History Interviews with American Jewish Women

Jayne K. Guberman, Editor

In Our Own Voices is a how-to guide for conducting life history interviews with American Jewish women. Designed for use by individuals, as well as community groups, the guide invites readers to become "makers of history" by using oral history to capture and preserve the stories of their mothers and grandmothers, teachers and colleagues, community members and friends.

In Our Own Voices features:

  • a step-by-step guide for creating professional quality interviews
  • ten frameworks for understanding the multiple and intersecting spheres of women's lives
  • introductory essays by leading scholars of Jewish women's history
  • hundreds of sample questions
  • inspiring excerpts from JWA's oral history collections
  • sample forms for all aspects of the interview process
  • bibliographic resources on American Jewish women's history

JWA's 10 Frameworks for Women's Life History Interviews:

  • Family: Essay by Paula E. Hyman
  • Education: Essay by Pamela S. Nadell
  • Work: Essay by Hasia Diner
  • Community Service: Essay by Dianne Ashton
  • Jewish Identities: Essay by Karla Goldman
  • Home and Place: Essay by Jenna Weissman Joselit
  • Leisure and Culture: Essay by Riv-Ellen Prell
  • Health and Sexuality: Essay by Beth Wenger
  • Women's Identities: Essay by Joyce Antler
  • History and World Events: Essay by Regina Morantz-Sanchez

Sample forms and selected bibliographic resources on American Jewish women's history provide additional tools for novice and experienced oral historians alike.

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What people are saying about In Our Own Voices

"In Our Own Voices is a remarkable tool in the service of a history that has gone mostly unrecorded. There is no time to mourn for the triumphs and losses, jokes and wisdom that have been lost. So hurry. Open this book and get to work. Let us not waste another moment."
—Anita Diamant, author of The Red Tent

"If ever there was a document that spoke to the truth that every human being, male and female, is created in the image of God, this is it. The sample questionnaires, the jewel-like essays by learned scholars, the delicious vignettes, the evocative Joan Roth photos, the practical tips for interviewing—each piece of In Our Own Voices joyously celebrates the depth and variety of women's lives."
—Blu Greenberg, author of On Women and Judaism: A View From Tradition

"In Our Own Voices is a helpful and heartwarming guide to preserving the history of "important" American Jewish women. The editors have wisely understood that "importance" comes in many sizes, shapes, and forms. They have produced a tool that will help readers record the personal history of these women and understand the transformative role they have played in all our lives."
—Deborah Lipstadt, author of Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory

"Those who follow this guide will create deeply textured and professional interviews for oral history documentation and preservation according to the high standards set by the Jewish Women's Archive—and enjoy every minute of the process."
—Mary Marshall Clark, Director, Columbia University Oral History Research Office

"Based on the oral history projects of the Jewish Women's Archive, this booklet provides professional guidance for conducting interviews with American Jewish women.… Whether one is interviewing for an oral history project or for private use, this guide can help uncover rich veins of memory and experience."
Reform Judaism Magazine, Fall 2007


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I would like to write my family history for my grandchildren.

I am interested in obtaining information about my mother and father's lives in Ridgewood, Queens and their experiences at Newtown High School (1925-29) and my mother's experiences at Hunter College (1929-33). I am writing a memoir of their parents, who emigrated to New York City from what is now Belarus (city of Slonim) in 1904 and who opened a laundry first on the lower east side and then in Ridgewood--The White Star Laundry--around 1921.

In reply to by Ruth Brennan

We have no specific genealogical information here. You might try looking at the archives of the cities in which your parents lived for records, and by asking on genealogicl sites for friends, relatives, etc.


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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "In Our Own Voices." (Viewed on May 19, 2024) <>.