"Go and see" or "seek enlightenment" is the title of the Yiddish-language Torah for women, with the portion of the week and folk tales. Tsena-Rena was the first resource that enabled women to educate themselves.
Groups and Projects
A group of sociologists and historians have begun a research project on Jewish immigrant women from Eastern Europe who came to this country prior to 1927, aged 13 or older.
While there exists a magnificent literature about this great migration, much of what has been written is seen through the eyes of the second and third generations, and most of it has been written by and about men.
The group would appreciate help in locating women who can tell them about their life experiences, joys, sorrows, struggles, dreams, and the reality of their daily lives, who were old enough when they came to know what they were leaving behind, and why it was necessary to leave. The group will visit the interviewees in their homes, or wherever it is convenient for them, and conduct taped interviews. AH of the information will be absolutely confidential, in that a person’s name will not be connected with her story.
Any woman who would like to be interviewed should call the project office at (516) 246-8662 or (516) 246-8638 and ask for Lila Nadel or Brenda Hoke, or write:
World of Our Mothers Research Project Sociology Department State University of New York at Stony Brook Stony Brook, NY 11794
Also, mature women who understand Yiddish are needed for conducting taped interviews with Jewish immigrant women in the NYC area. $35/interview (approx. 6 hrs.) Contact:
World of Our Mothers, SUNY, (516) 246-8662, Gladys Rothbell.
Oranim, the kibbutz movement’s school of education, is producing a kit of materials of all kinds for high school students and teachers on equal options for females and males in society, scheduled for publication in July, 1984. The project is the first of its kind in Israel, and its participants hope the material will become part of the Israeli school curriculum. They seek material on “equal options as related to Judaism”, including on non-sexist learning activities in Jewish Studies; plus general material. For more information on the project:
Dr. Shoshanna Ben Tsvi-Mayer Oranim PO Kiryat Tivon, Israel
An umbrella group for women’s prayer groups, study groups and minyans maintains listings of such groups across the continent. Sponsors of a conference last June in New York on “Women, Prayer and Tradition,” the Task Force represents both Orthodox women who want to expand women’s participation within the strictures of Jewish law, and those women who are seeking full equality for Jewish women in prayer and liturgy.
Task Force on Jewish Women Box 1062 Teaneck NJ 07666
A new feminist speakers bureau, Batya Bauman Enterprises: Program/Lecture Services, has been launched and will concentrate on feminism and Judaism. The women who are represented are women who will carry messages reflecting not only feminist awareness, but also a commitment to Jewish survival.
Batya Bauman Enterprises Program Lecture Services P.O.B. 694, Cathedral Station New York, NY 10025 (212) 866-6422
The Feminist Theological Institute Inc. is an interdenominational organization for all feminists interested in theology and religion. For more information, write:
Judith Plaskow Feminist Theological Institute 64-53 Bell Boulevard Bayside, N.Y. 11364
Jewish Day Care
The Philadelphia chapter of the American Jewish Committee’s subcommittee on the status of women has conducted a study on the need for, and problems associated with, Jewish day care programs. For copies write:
George M. Ross, President Robert A. Fox, Chairman of the Board Philadelphia Chapter, AJC 411 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA (215) 564-2460
Stephen Wise Free Synagogue Day Care Center 30 W 68 St. New York, NY 10023
Parenting Center Family Day Care Network 92 Street Y 1395 Lexington Ave New York, NY 10028
Yaldenu Jewish Day Care Center Temple Ansche Chesed West End Ave at 100 Street New York, NY 10025
Day Care Center for Jewish Community Workers c/o National Council of Jewish Women New York Section 9 E. 69 St. New York, NY 10021
Books and Publications
The Jewish Women’s Studies Guide, compiled by Ellen Sue Levi Elwell and Edward Levenson, features fifteen Jewish women’s syllabi and bibliographies, divided into three basic categories: “University Courses on Jewish Women,” “Integrating Jewish Women into the University Curriculum,” and “Adult and Continuing Education Courses.” The Guide is available for $6.95.
Biblio Press POB22 Fresh Meadows, NY 11365
“Jewish Women: A Mini-Course for Jewish Schools” by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso and Ellen Sue Levi Elwell, is a 12-hour course designed for grades 7-12 and adults. It is available, in a package of 20 copies plus a leader’s guide, for $30.00, from:
Alternatives in Religious Education, Inc. 3945 So. Oneida St. Denver, CO. 80237
Gisi Fleischman and the Jewish Fight for Survival by Joan Campion tells the fascinating story of a Slovakian woman whose efforts helped save thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. Copies can be obtained at $11.95 each, from:
Dvorion Books 508 Fifth Ave. Bethlehem, PA 18018
“Program Information Exchange: Innovative Services for the Elderly,” published by the Council of Jewish Federations, contains descriptions of nine wide-ranging programs to help the elderly, including such topics as: living arrangements, dental care and emergency medical assistance. For more information, contact:
Joan Fuld, Planning Consultant Council of Jewish Federations 575 Lexington Ave New York, NY 10022
We are editing an anthology of work by Jewish feminists and proto-feminists (pro-women, even if the authors did/do not identify as feminists). We want this anthology to represent the true diversity and range of Jewish women, of all classes, cultures, racial and political backgrounds. ANTHOLOGY P.O. Box 128 New Lebanon, NY 12125
A number of matted 8″xl0″ color prints from Psalmist With a Camera, a book of photographs by Gail Rubin are now available, singly or as a set. They are “Spoonbills”, “Mustard Flowers,” “Hula Waterscape” (reproduced above) and “Eucalyptus Treebark.” Rubin is the American Jewish photographer killed in a terrorist attack in Israel in 1978. The photographs were originally exhibited, with their texts, at the Jewish Museum of New York. For more information contact: Photographs by Gail Rubin 1016 Fifth Ave. New York, N.Y. 10028
Help for Battered Jewish Women
Shiloh Hotline POB 6031 North Hollywood, CA 91603 (213) 784-6894
A kosher shelter serving the New York area is:
Transition Center (212) 327-7660
SOVRI (Support for Orthodox Victims of Rape and Incest) can be reached through the:
Victims Services Agency 54 Nagle Street New York, NY 10040 (212) 567-5008
While the Haifa Shelter for Battered Women has assisted hundreds of battered women in Israel, many battered women remain homeless. The Shelter has therefore established a Housing Fund. Please send earmarked contributions to:
P.E.F., Israel Endowment Fund, Inc. 342 Madison Ave., Suite 1010 New York, N.Y. 10173