Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia (2 Volume Set)

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9780415919364: Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia (2 Volume Set)
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First published in 1998. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

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Until recently, women's contributions to history have been ignored. This is especially true of Jewish history. Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia is a unique work that examines the contributions of Jewish women to American society. The editors, professors of history, and the contributors, whose credentials are listed in the appendixes, have academic appointments. They have created a source that shows the diversity of Jewish women's lives in the U.S.

This work contains more than 800 biographies and 110 topical essays. All are signed, and all have brief bibliographies. Biographies of authors also have lists of selected works. Women included are, for the most part, deceased or over the age of 60. They are either women born and educated in the U.S. or immigrants who had careers here. They had at least one Jewish parent or converted to Judaism and identified themselves as Jews.

The biographies include women from all walks of life. Hannah Arendt, Emma Goldman, Bette Midler, Gertrude Stein, and Rosalyn Yalow are just a few of the fascinating women profiled in this source. The articles present a balanced view of the subjects. The biography of Golda Meir notes both her political accomplishments and the fact that she had no interest in women's issues. Topical articles include organizations (Hadassah, National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods), religious institutions and concepts (Orthodox Judaism, mikvah), academic disciplines (art, children's literature), historical events and movements (Triangle Shirtwaist fire, civil rights movement), and social groups and concepts (Hasidic women, assimilation). The text is well illustrated with black-and-white photographs. An extensive annotated bibliography and guide to archival resources provide access to more detailed information. In addition to a general index, there is a classified index to biographical entries so that users can search for actresses, writers, painters, rabbis, and even anarchists or librarians.

This is a very interesting encyclopedia that fills an obvious gap in reference collections. Academic libraries, Judaica and women's studies collections, and large public libraries where there is interest will want Jewish Women in America on their shelves.

Review:

"[T]he editors have succeeded admirably ...this project succeeds brilliantly "Jewish Women in America will be valuable for undergraduates as well as research specialists for some time to come."
-"American Jewish History
"The encyclopedia in toto demonstrates the great diversity in American Jewish women's experiences and contributions...."
-"American Jewish History
"An extraordinary work, a labor of love, which initiates a new view of the history of Jewish women in the United States and, indeed, transforms our understanding of Jewish history and US women's history in general..... We are deeply indebted to Professors Hyman and Moore, and to the twenty scholars on their editorial board for their labors...... Reading this book has been an extraordinary experience and a great joy.."
-"Judaism, Spring 1999
"[O]ne of the best reference resources to appear in recent years in women's studies. Extremely well-written, organized, and displayed, these volumes should certainly be in every collection that supports women's studies research on an academic level and in large public libraries as well. The editors and authors are to be commended for the high quality of writing and research."
-"Feminist Collections, winter 98
..." a unique work..... a very interesting encyclopedia that fills an obvious gap in reference collections. Academic libraries, Judaica and women's studies collections and large public libraries where there is interest will want "Jewish Women in America on their shelves."
-"Booklist, January 1998

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