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Politics and Government: Organizations and Institutions

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Orit Adato

Adato enlisted in the IDF in 1973 and in due course served successively as commander of the two central Women’s Corps training bases (1994–1997), commander of the Women Teacher-Soldiers unit, and commander of the women in Nahal, where she directed the assistance given to immigrants from Ethiopia and the USSR. In 1997, she was promoted to the position of head of the Women’s Corps as a brigadier general at a time when the corps was in the process of being radically reorganized.

Helen Goldmark Adler

Helen Adler helped her husband establish the first model tenements at Cherry Street as well as the first free kindergarten in America, called the Working Man’s School, and later the Ethical Culture School at Fieldston. She took an active part in the visiting nurses’ service for the poor at the DeMilt Dispensary, the oldest clinic in the city, which Felix had initiated in 1877. With the assistance of a Dr. Koplik, she helped cut the infant death rate by having milk bottled safely at the Laboratory Department for Modified Milk for Tenement Babies, which Koplik and Adler founded in 1891.

Racie Adler

Adler devoted much of her energy to specifically Jewish causes. She served for many years as the president of the Hebrew Sunday School Society of Philadelphia and on the local Jewish Welfare Board. Perhaps her most significant contribution was as one of the founding leaders of the Women’s League of the Conservative Movement [Women’s League For Conservative Judaism], which was established in 1918 by Mathilde Schechter, wife of the scholar Solomon Schechter.

The Second Graduating Class of the Bais-Yaakov in Lodz, Poland, 1934

Agudat Israel: Interwar Poland

Agudat Israel, the world movement of orthodox Jewry, was founded in May 1912 at a conference held in Kattowitz, Upper Silesia (now Katowice, Poland). The movement’s founders, mostly from the separatist orthodox community of Frankfurt am Main, wanted to enlist the large masses of orthodox Jews in Eastern Europe and their spiritual leaders in the struggle against Zionism and other secular ideologies.

Miriam Albert

At the time of her death, Albert was marking her thirtieth anniversary as a member of the staff of B’nai B’rith Women. Her affiliation with B’nai B’rith began as a volunteer when she joined the B’nai B’rith Youth movement in Chicago in 1940. She rose through the ranks to become the first national president of B’nai B’rith Young Women, at that time a B’nai B’rith youth group, in 1946.

Ruth Aliav-Klüger

She was the only woman among the early members of the Mosad, which smuggled Jews out of Europe and into Palestine in an attempt to circumvent the aliyah restrictions of the British Mandatory authorities. Late in World War II Aliav-Klüger was among the first representatives of the Yishuv to meet with Holocaust survivors on European soil and come to the aid of the she’erit ha-pletah (surviving remnant). In early 1949 Aliav-Klüger returned to Israel and, like many of her Mosad comrades, joined the Zim national shipping company. In 1974 she was selected as Woman of the Year by the National Council Of Jewish Women in the United States in honor of the release of her book, The Last Escape, describing her activities with the Mosad le-Aliyah Bet between 1938 and 1941 (published originally in English and translated into Hebrew).

Anna Marks Allen

Allen was one of a group of Philadelphia Jewish women who established and ran the first independent Jewish charitable societies in the United States. She was treasurer of the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society (founded 1819) for forty years and, for a time, its director as well. In 1838, along with Rebecca Gratz, she founded the first Hebrew Sunday school in America, and in 1855, she started the Philadelphia Jewish Foster Home and Orphan Asylum, serving as its president until 1867.

Alliance Israelite Universelle, Teachers of

In 1860, six French Jewish intellectuals, inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment and motivated by a genuine sentiment of solidarity, set out to “regenerate” the Jews of the world—vocationally, linguistically, morally and spiritually. By the eve of World War I, the international organization they founded, the Alliance Israélite Universelle, had attracted more than thirty thousand members.

Hedva Almog, August 5, 2011

Hedva Almog

During her term of office, Almog stressed the importance of appropriate training for new recruits and established the base at Julis for absorbing them. The number of annual officer courses was increased, a training course for women officers in the Operational Branch was established, new occupations, such as airborne doctors, were opened for women officers and institutional posts increased.

Rose Haas Alschuler

Rose Haas Alschuler

Alschuler was a prolific writer, lecturer, and educator, and in the later part of her life, she contributed to the development and growth of the State of Israel.

Gertrude Weil

American Birth Control Movement

Jewish women from a range of social and economic backgrounds found common political cause in the American birth control movement and profoundly affected its successes in the early twentieth century.

American Jewish Congress

Women have played an important part in the American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) since the organization was first established after World War I.

Sadie American

Sadie American

From 1893 to 1916, Sadie American and the National Council of Jewish Women were virtually synonymous. As one of the founders of the council, its first corresponding secretary (1893–1905), and later the paid executive secretary of the organization (1905–1914), American functioned as executive director, organizing local sections across the United States, representing the group at national and international meetings, and taking care of the routine work that building the organization required.

The Women’s Mizrachi Federation in America, Detroit Meeting, circa 1960s

AMIT

Established in 1925 to create vocational schools for religious girls in Palestine, AMIT, an American-based religious Zionist organization, has helped shape the educational and social welfare landscape in the State of Israel for eight decades.

Annotated Bibliography and Guide to Archival Resources on the History of Jewish Women in America

This bibliography concentrates on books, chapters in anthologies, and periodical articles on the collective history of American Jewish women and archival resources on individuals and women’s organizations.

Jenny Apolant

An ardent suffragist, Apolant served as a board member of the General Association from 1910 to 1925. In Frankfurt, where she was from 1919 to 1924 one of the first women municipal councillors, representing the Democrats, she initiated innovative institutions such as care for sick people, alcohol-free popular restaurants and, during the inflation, a central location for the sale of privately-owned valuables, a Sick Fund and winter aid.

Shoshana Arbeli-Almozlino

Shoshana Arbeli-Almozlino

Like the biographies of other figures prominent at the time of the establishment of the state of Israel, that of Shoshana Arbeli-Almozlino parallels the history of Zionism and the founding of the state, from her childhood in a traditional Iraqi family and membership in the Zionist underground in Iraq, through her immigration to Palestine and the founding of Kibbutz Neve Or, to her term as a member of the Knesset and her services as Israel’s Minister of Health.

Students of the Mechona with Meyer Berlson in Buenos Aires, 1954

Argentina: Jewish Education

The Jews who arrived in Argentina in the first waves of immigration at the end of the nineteenth century were as concerned about their children’s education as about earning a livelihood and organizing their community.

Argentina: Philanthropic Organizations

The networks of Jewish philanthropic groups, both in the capital and in the interior provinces, supported a wide range of charitable institutions to help keep families together.

A Moroccan-Born Mother with Two of her Argentine-Born Daughters, circa 1929

Argentina: Sephardic Women

The Sephardic communities that settled in Argentina in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries came from various areas in the Sephardi world.

Argentina: Zionist Activities

Argentine Jewish women were important players in the struggle for the Jewish homeland. They participated in women’s committees of Zionist societies, in Zionist parties and in three independent women’s Zionist organizations.

Jeannette Arons

Jeannette Arons served in a variety of roles with the National Council of Jewish Women, including president of the Brooklyn section. Her activism within NCJW ranged from helping juvenile offenders rebuild their lives, to advocating for the rights of people with disabilities, to helping Jewish immigrants become citizens.
Louise Waterman Wise and Justine Wise

Art in the United States

American Jewish women have made major contributions to the art world as artists, photographers, gallery owners, museum curators, art critics, art historians, and collectors at least since the beginning of the twentieth century.

The "Ellis Island Missionaries"

Assimilation in the United States: Nineteenth Century

Scholars have conventionally considered the nineteenth century the German era in the American Jewish history. Between 1820 and 1880, more than two hundred thousand immigrants from German lands arrived in the United States. Besides German Jews, this transatlantic movement also included migrants from ethnically Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Baltic territories that at that time remained under German political control or cultural influence.

The Orthodox Congregation B'nai David Sisterhood of Detroit, Michigan, circa 1950

Assimilation in the United States: Twentieth Century

Jewish women began to assimilate into American society and culture as soon as they stepped off the boat. Some started even earlier, with reports and dreams of the goldene medine, the golden land of liberty and opportunity. Very few resisted adapting to the language and mores of the United States; those who did often returned to Europe. Well over ninety percent stayed, even those who cursed Columbus’s voyage and subsequent European settlement in North America.

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