In March 1987, the new Jewish Women’s Resource Center Library, on the premises of the National Council of Jewish Women, New York Section, was dedicated.
The Library consists of more than 3,000 items by or about Jewish women, including books, magazines, and newspapers, dissertations and speeches, notes and ephemera from the early Jewish feminist movement, and texts of new rituals.
The collection also includes information on little-known aspects of Jewish women’s lives revealed in documents on Jewish prostitution and battered women and children of today.
This unique collection is open to the public. Material does not circulate, but scholars and readers are welcome to work on the premises.
“We started with boxes that we stored under our sofa,” said Nina Cardin, a rabbinical student and one of the founders of the Jewish Women’s Resource Center. She, Rabbi Carol Glass, and Rabbi Julie Gordon created the dedication ceremony for the library.
Other speakers included Lilith editor Aviva Cantor, lecturer and author Blu Greenberg, and Associate Professor of Talmud at the Jewish Theological Seminary Judith Hauptman.
The dedication ritual included musical accompaniment by violinist Rivka Fingerhut and, climaxing the evening, the affixing of a round, embroidered mezuzah to the library doorway. The shape of the mezuzah indicated that the design of this ritual object needn’t be phallic, and the embroidery proudly displayed an age-old women’s craft. As the mezuzah was affixed, women joined hands all along the adjacent staircase, symbolizing their symbolic participation in the dedication. They also signed their names to a long ribbon attached to the mezuzah.