This website is made possible by generous donations from users like you. $18 helps keep JWA online for one day. Please consider making a gift before our June 30 fiscal year end. Thank you!

Close [x]

Show [+]

Philanthropy and Volunteerism

Content type
Collection

Founding of the B'nai B'rith Girls (BBG)

April 22, 1944

B’nai B’rith Girls was founded by Anita Perlman.

Anita M. Perlman

Anita M. Perlman was a feminist visionary, leader, and philanthropist who founded the B’nai B’rith Girls (BBG) -- the young women’s division of BBYO.

Composite Image of Lillian Wald and Slyvia Bloom

Symmetry: Sylvia Bloom and Lillian Wald

by Marjorie N. Feld

When I heard last week about the extraordinary multimillion dollar donation by Sylvia Bloom, who died in 2016, to Henry Street Settlement, the word that immediately came to mind was the one I wrote to my Settlement friends: “there is a real symmetry there,” I told them.

Enid Shapiro, 1925 - 2017

Enid Shapiro lived tikkun olam. She was an early feminist, a devoted Jew, an unceasing learner, and she made a difference in countless people’s lives through her devotion to repair the world and her commitment to kindness and care that came from a place of profound integrity.

Susan Goodman Headshot

Acting Our Age with Susan Goodman

by Abby Richmond

While her life’s work is a testament to her commitment to helping people grow older with dignity, respect, and independence, Susan Goodman’s latest project is remarkable in both its scope and specificity. Currently, in order to be interviewed on Susan’s blog Acting Our Age, you must be a woman 85 or older.

Rising Voices Fellow Abby Richmond with her Grandmother Cropped

Not Your Average Grandma

by Abby Richmond

Many people view grandmothers as sweet, docile old ladies, whose sole purposes are to bake cookies and knit sweaters for their grandchildren. While it’s true that my Grandma Brenda does greatly enjoy spoiling and feeding her grandchildren, there’s so much more to her story.

Polly Cowan and Dorothy I. Height, 1964

How Do We Use Our Privilege?

by  Jordyn Rozensky

The struggle for social justice involves going beyond what is easy, taking actions that are often risky.  I find it helpful to have role models to remind me of the work that needs to be done and often is done by people of privilege. The Jewish Women's Archive website is brimming with just such role models—hundreds of examples of women who did not let their privilege positions keep them from taking courageous action. JWA gives us a look at how our foremothers reconciled the complicated relationship between privilege and activism.

Elizabeth Scharpf's DIY Aid project: keeping African girls in school with affordable pads

by From the Rib

There was a really interesting article in The New York Times last week by Nicholas D. Kristof about individuals who are, in effect, creating foreign aid on their own. He writes about various people who, feeling passionately about helping the world, got up, changed their lives, and simply, did it. He tells a few stories, highlighting the fact that many of the members of the “Do-It-Yourself Foreign Aid Revolution” are women.

Aliza Greenblatt

Deep love for the Jewish people informed the life of Aliza Greenblatt, an American Yiddish poet and an early, committed leader in Zionist and Jewish women’s organizations. Greenblatt was among the first to organize the American Jewish community and raise funds toward the establishment of a Jewish national home. Many of her poems, which were widely published in the Yiddish press, were also set to music and recorded.

Religious Zionist Movements in Palestine

Within the Yishuv society of pre-state Israel, there developed a unique sector with a complex ideology: a religious Zionist society that included two main movements—Mizrachi (1902) and Ha-Po’el ha-Mizrachi (1922).

Irma Rothschild Jung

Irma Rothschild Jung, a native of Randegg, Baden, Germany, was born on July 1, 1897, and until her death close to a century later, dedicated her substantial energies to pioneering Jewish communal programs in aid of the needy. Her maternal family, the Langs, had a written code of ethics, based upon observance and practice of Judaism, which served as a blueprint for family behavior in the public and private sectors. This code would guide Jung’s service to others for her entire life.

Edith Somborn Isaacs

She was born in New York City on June 18, 1884. After graduating from Barnard College, in 1910 she married Stanley M. Isaacs, with whom she had two children, Myron (b. 1911) and Helen (nicknamed Casey, b. 1913). When Stanley Isaacs ran for office (he served as Manhattan borough president from 1938 through 1941, and later as Republican minority leader on the City Council), Edith Isaacs ran his campaigns. She described her work as writing clever jingles for him, “corralling and instructing volunteers, drafting letters to constituents, working with experts on newspaper articles and advertising, and after the election, writing letters of thanks to all who helped.”

International Council of Jewish Women

The International Council of Jewish Women (ICJW) is an umbrella organization for forty-nine affiliates representing some two million women in forty-six countries. The head office rotates according to the place of residence of its current chairwoman, who is elected for a period of three years. Plans for future actions are decided on by a team of directors at international triennial conventions which take place in various countries. Each affiliate organization of the ICJW retains its own name and has its own projects. The ICJW is an entirely voluntary organization based on the good will of women motivated by their belief in the humanitarian duty rooted in in Judaism, in the vocation of the Jewish woman or mother, or simply in a sense of Jewish solidarity. Established in the early twentieth century and reconstituted immediately after World War II, ICJW never ceased its development throughout the vicissitudes of the past century.

Lina Frank Hecht

Born in 1848 in Baltimore to wealthy Bavarian immigrants, Lina Frank Hecht received a private education and moved in Baltimore’s elite Jewish circles. In 1867, she married Jacob Hecht (born 1834), who had immigrated to America in 1848, established a wholesale shoe business with his family in California, Baltimore, and Boston, and who, by the time he met Lina, was already a wealthy man. The couple moved to Boston and became leading members of the German Jewish philanthropic community. Uniquely in her time and society, Lina Hecht established her independent identity as a female philanthropist and social reformer.

Julia Horn Hamburger

Julia Horn was born to affluent German Jewish parents, Jacob Meyer and Hannah Horn, in New York on October 19, 1883, during the early years of the Eastern European Jewish immigration. Like many middle-class women in the Progressive Era, she was able to attain a high level of education, earning a B.A. in 1903. Also like so many women of her class, she turned to teaching. She was a New York public school teacher from 1903 to 1905, and in 1905 she became a teacher of “mental defectives.” Since teaching was a career for unmarried women, her paid career ended with her marriage to Gabriel Max Hamburger in 1910. The Hamburgers had two children, son Bernard and daughter Maxsina.

Hadassah (Spira Epstein)

“One of the finest artist gifts to come out of Israel is Hadassah,” proclaimed the Dance Congress of 1953. Hadassah was recognized as a major dance artist of the twentieth century, a performer of Jewish, Hindu and other ethnic dance forms, and a leading force in presenting the dance of other cultures to the American public. She was a pioneer in bringing Jewish dance to the United States and was recognized as such in the first U.S. Congress on Jewish Dance held in New York City in 1949.

Elinor Guggenheimer

Elinor Guggenheimer first toured New York City day nurseries as a member of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies during the 1930s. Horrified by what she saw, Guggenheimer began a lifelong crusade for improved and standardized child care facilities across the country. A veteran of New York City politics, Guggenheimer has also worked to promote women in public office and was one of the founding members of the Women’s Political Caucus in 1971.

Selina Greenbaum

The life of the turn-of-the-century working girls of New York City’s Lower East Side was often one of austerity and exhausting drudgery.

Richea Gratz

In 1787, at the age of thirteen, Richea Gratz became the first Jewish woman to attend college in America when she matriculated with the first class at Franklin College (later Franklin and Marshall College of Lancaster, Pennsylvania).

Rebecca Gratz

Through the schools, philanthropic societies, and orphanages she established, Rebecca Gratz established a new model of religious education and made it possible for a new generation to identify as both fully Jewish and fully American.

Rebecca Fischel Goldstein

As a consummate volunteer leader, she strove to make women a dominant force in organized Jewish life, helping to found the Women’s Branch of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the Women’s League of the Institutional Synagogue, the Hebrew Teacher’s Training School for Girls, and the Yeshiva University Women’s Organization.

Elizabeth Glaser

Elizabeth Glaser made a significant contribution to the littlest AIDS victims. Mobilized to save her own HIV-infected children, Glaser founded the Pediatric AIDS Foundation (PAF) in 1988, which to date has raised more than $50 million.

German Immigrant Period in the United States

The period 1820–1880 has generally been considered the era of German Jewish immigration to the United States. Issues of gender and family shaped this migration from the Germanic regions, and from other parts of Central and Eastern Europe from 1820 to 1880.

Ida Weis Friend

Ida Weis Friend worked to improve the lives of those in her Southern Jewish community on many levels. Her leadership in Jewish organizations, such as Hadassah and the National Council of Jewish Women, and her political activism, such as her time as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention and Commission on Interracial Cooperation, earned her many honors and accolades.

Lillian Freiman

Unquestionably the most prominent Jewish woman in Canada in the interwar period, Lillian Freiman was born in Mattawa, Ontario, one of the eleven children of Moses Bilsky (1829–1923) and his wife, Pauline (née Reich, b. Berlin, 1857, m. 1875). From World War I until their death, the couple spearheaded Canadian Zionism, he as president of the Zionist Organization of Canada and she as head of Canadian Hadassah-WIZO.

Subscribe to Philanthropy and Volunteerism

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

Can We Talk?

listen now

Get JWA in your inbox