Nice” Jew­ish Girls

Julia Mer­berg; Geor­gia Ruck­er, illus.

  • Review
By – September 9, 2022

From the moment you open Nice” Jew­ish Girls by Julie Mer­berg and see the end­pa­pers filled with adjec­tives — bold, coura­geous, unapolo­getic, rad­i­cal, and enlight­en­ing — you know you’re hold­ing a bold, coura­geous, unapolo­getic, rad­i­cal, and enlight­en­ing book in your hands.

Nice” Jew­ish Girls shares brief biogra­phies of Jew­ish women who have achieved suc­cess in the areas of activism, enter­tain­ment, writ­ing, art, sci­ence, entre­pre­neur­ship, lead­er­ship, and jus­tice. The sto­ries of women as diverse as Bet­ty Friedan, Tiffany Had­dish, Anne Frank, Estee Laud­er, Gol­da Meir, and Ruth Bad­er Gins­burg, among many oth­ers, are orga­nized by field and peri­od. Each sec­tion relates how the so-called nice Jew­ish girl over­came oppres­sion, anti­semitism, and/​or sex­ism to lead a ful­fill­ing life.

Merberg’s relat­able writ­ing includes back­ground about each woman — her fam­i­ly, edu­ca­tion, and career — as well as inter­est­ing pieces of triv­ia (did you know that Janet Yellen was an avid rock col­lec­tor?), quotes, and his­tor­i­cal con­text. Print­ed on col­or­ful pages with illus­tra­tions by Geor­gia Ruck­er, images as bold and inter­est­ing as the women they depict, Nice” Jew­ish Girls is bound to inspire your favorite nice” Jew­ish girl.

Paula Chaiken has worked in a vari­ety of capac­i­ties in the Jew­ish world — teach­ing in reli­gious school, curat­ing at the Sper­tus Muse­um and fundrais­ing for the Fed­er­a­tion — for more than twen­ty years. She also runs a bou­tique pub­lic rela­tions con­sult­ing firm and enjoys read­ing all sorts of books with her three sons.

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