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The Women Who Reconstructed American Jewish Education, 1910-1965

edited by Carol K. Ingall

Publication Year: 2010

The first volume to examine the contributions of women who brought the forces of American progressivism and Jewish nationalism to formal and informal Jewish education The conventional history of Jewish education in the United States focuses on the contributions of Samson Benderly and his male disciples. This volume tells a different story—the story of the women who either influenced or were influenced by Benderly or his closest friend, Mordecai Kaplan. Through ten portraits, the contributors illuminate the impact of these unheralded women who introduced American Jews to Hebraism and Zionism and laid the foundation for contemporary Jewish experiential education. Taken together, these ten portraits illuminate the important and hitherto unexamined contribution of women to the development of American Jewish education.

Published by: Brandeis University Press

Series Page

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Foreword

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pp. ix-x

From 1881 to 1924, when millions of east European Jews were pouring into the United States, it often seemed that the primary educational challenge to immigrants and their children was learning how to be American. However,...

Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

Contributors

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pp. xiii-xiv

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Introduction

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pp. 1-23

The Women Who Reconstructed American Jewish Education, 1910– 1965, introduces the unheralded educators who planted the seeds of social reform and progressivism in the soil and soul of American Jewish education. It highlights eleven eminent women who either informed...

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1. Redefining Jewish Womanhood through Informal Education: Ethel Feinman and Grace Weiner

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pp. 24-45

"It doesn’t matter what kind of house we live in, but what kind of dreams,” Ethel Feineman, resident head worker of the Emanu‑El Sisterhood, declared to her board of directors in 1919. As the directors of San Francisco’s Jewish settlement houses in the wake of turn-of-the-century eastern...

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2. Jessie Sampter and the Hadassah School of Zionism

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pp. 46-62

Jessie Sampter, a young protégée of Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold, was responsible for creating the educational infrastructure that introduced Zionism to thousands of American women. She single-handedly spearheaded...

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3. Rebecca Aaronson Brickner: Benderly Boy?

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pp. 63-74

In her biographical notes, Rebecca Aaronson Brickner described herself as a “teacher, educator, lecturer and organizer” and as “the first professional woman in Jewish education.”1 This self-presentation derived from a long...

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4. Libbie L. Braverman: A Woman for All Seasons

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pp. 75-96

Libbie L. Braverman, born in Boston on December 20, 1900, came to cherish learning at an early age. She fell in love with it despite having to adjust to many new schools as her parents, Rabbi Morris A. and Pauline...

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5. Mamie Gamoran: Modeling an American Jewish Life

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pp. 97-116

In 1967, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) published Talks to Jewish Teachers, a slim volume by Emanuel and Mamie G. Gamoran that presented a distillation of Emanuel Gamoran’s lectures delivered over his thirty-five year tenure (1923–58) as director of the Reform...

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6. Sadie Rose Weilerstein through the Looking Glass: K'tonton and the American Jewish Zeitgeist

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pp. 117-141

When young fans asked children’s author Sadie Rose Weilerstein whether her beloved four-inch-high K’tonton character was real, she wasn’t sure how to answer: “If I say ‘yes,’ I confuse the children...

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7. "Three Cheers for Anna!": Anna G. Sherman, Adult Jewish Educator

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pp. 142-164

My interest in Anna Grossman Sherman began with a casual conversation. Her daughter, Varda Lev, asked if I knew that her mother had taught Hebrew at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) for nearly forty years. I didn’t, but I was...

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8. Temima Gezari: An Art Education Pioneer

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pp. 165-187

As a professionally trained Jewish educator and artist, Temima Gezari laid the foundation for teaching Jewish studies through the arts and for art education in Jewish schools. Gezari studied in a Benderly...

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9. Hava N'halela: Tzipora Jochsberger and Her Vision for the Hebrew Arts School

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pp. 188-203

There has been a veritable explosion of interest in the arts and their place in American Jewish educational life. Jewish educational reformers are embracing the arts, once dismissed as a frill in an already too- full-curriculum, as a tool to motivate, inform, and make meaning for...

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10. Sylvia C. Ettenberg: A Portrait in Practical Wisdom

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pp. 204-230

Sylvia Cutler Ettenberg was the force behind Kaplan’s Teachers Institute (TI) of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and many of its most innovative educational initiatives in the post–World War II era: Camp Ramah, the Leadership...

Index

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pp. 231-244


E-ISBN-13: 9781584659099
E-ISBN-10: 1584659092
Print-ISBN-13: 9781584658566
Print-ISBN-10: 1584658568

Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 11 illus.
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: HBI Series on Jewish Women

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Subject Headings

  • Jews -- Education -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Women educators -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Jewish educators -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
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