The Women Who Reconstructed American Jewish Education, 1910-1965

Brandeis University Press  2010


This remarkable collection of educational portraits depicts the lives of eleven women with an indefatigable drive to teach young people and emerging professionals to perpetuate the Hebrew language and literature, Jewish art, Jewish music, and Jewish religious rituals. In Chapter 1, readers meet Ethel Feineman and Grace Weiner, who worked with young women in Jewish settlement houses, providing job training, instruction in personal care, and a Jewish education that instilled a sense of pride and an ability to anchor a Jewish home with holiday celebrations, special foods, and a sense of community responsibility. Libbie L. Braverman, introduced in Chapter 4, taught religious school, insisting that the arts, drama, and music were indispensable, bringing Jewish history to life through shows and pageants.

Sadie Rose Weilerstein, introduced in Chapter 6, invented the beloved thumb-sized little boy named K’tonton who appeared in several books, embodying American Jewish aspirations for Israel and attending synagogue like a good American who was confident and comfortable in his faith. The final chapter, written by Dr. Ingall, depicts Sylvia Ettenberg, a woman who was instrumental in founding Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and the Prozdor high school program at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Like many of the women portrayed in the book, her admirable persistence, her dedication to the cause, her involvement with teacher training, and her ability to modify her expectations in lean times combine to make her a role model for all of us. Indeed this book is for all of us with an interest in education, whether we are male or female, seasoned or novice, volunteer or professional. Index.

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