Nancy Graves, 5745, silkscreen printed in colors.

A Legacy of Mildred Weissman’s Delight in Art

Mildred Weissman was an unforgettable champion of women’s rights, social justice, and Jewish culture. Her pervasive impact shaped Jewish and secular museums, publications, and educational institutions to ensure that women’s voices and wisdom were recognized and respected. Refreshingly unpretentious and warmly welcoming to all, her great generosity expressed an energetic spirit, charismatic sense of humor, and a staunch sense of mission. 

For over two decades, she served on the Dr. Bernard Heller Museum Advisory Committee at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion where her values and vision were catalysts for groundbreaking exhibitions on challenging and innovative themes. Her goal was to break the silence on the condition of women in the Jewish and larger community, strengthen Israeli-American cultural exchange, and invigorate Jewish life and practice through a contemporary lens. This led to exhibitions featuring Israeli and American women artists exploring aging, the impact of family violence, and new directions in contemporary Jewish ritual art. Together with her beloved husband George, she generously endowed the Heller Museum’s exhibitions, publications, and programming. She also bequeathed works infused with her distinctive vitality, creativity, and wit by noted French poster artist Jules Cheret, American Pop artists Jim Dine, James Rosenquist, and Allan D’Arcangelo, British pop artists Gerald Laing, Allen Jones, and Peter Phillips; Op artist Victor Vasarely; and post-minimalist Nancy Graves, all on view at the Heller Museum through June 27th.  

Until she reached 100 years of age, Mildred served devotedly on the Board of Lilith Magazine, where she established the Malka Fellowship, supported empowerment tools for women, strengthened staff capacity, enabled the website redesign, and more. In the 1980s, she joined a small cohort of Jewish feminists to establish US/Israel Women to Women, now part of the National Council of Jewish Women, to strengthen the alliance of American and Israeli women and support feminist causes in Israel, as expressed by its motto: “Women must help women.” 

As a longtime trustee of New York’s Jewish Museum, Mildred was a rare and early supporter for behind-the-scenes projects such as archival work, food services, shop design, cataloging, and the website. She encouraged the acquisition of contemporary ceremonial objects for the collection and encouraged the Museum’s shop to represent young designers and purchased many of their works for her family and friends. Mildred was also a major benefactor of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the National Women’s History Museum. 

Mildred and George were strong supporters of public higher education, notably the Mildred and George Weissman School of Arts and Sciences at Baruch College, George’s alma mater, a testament to their commitment to arts and humanities as vital to a holistic college education. They also established the Weissman Center for International Business, which has enriched student preparation for careers in the global workplace for nearly three decades. A loyal alumna of Hunter College, Mildred served on the Scholarship & Welfare Fund of the Alumni Association. 

Mildred and George were committed activists for civil rights. After World War II, they were required to move from their apartment after working with a group of residents who were trying to integrate Stuyvesant Town, a housing development erected for returning veterans. When the New York Times ran an article in 2006 on this topic, Mildred recognized herself in the article’s accompanying photo because she remembered the two-tone shoes that she was wearing. 

A native of Brooklyn, NY, Mildred shared a January 30th birth date with the man she called “my president” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She passed away on February 6, 2022 at the age of 102, was pre-deceased by George, her husband of over 65 years and a former Chairman of Lincoln Center, and is survived by their three children, artist Paul Weissman, attorney Ellen Weissman, and filmmaker Dan Weissman, and their grandson, Leo.  

Mildred’s lifelong legacy of advocacy, friendship, and generosity continues to be a beacon of light and source of inspiration. 

Visit the Dr. Bernard Heller Museum at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, One West Fourth Street, New York 10012.
Admission: Free
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Free guided tours by appointment:; (212)-824-2218. Or enjoy the Heller Museum’s guided tour of “Mildred Weissman: A Legacy of Art and Activism” from wherever you are by downloading the free Bloomberg Connects app at