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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Jewish Women

Her Works Praise Her: A History of Jewish Women in America from Colonial Times to the Present by Hasia Diner, Beryl Lieff Benderly (Basic) The first social history of American Jewish women over the last four centuries--the story of how this vital community forged new ways of being Jewish and profound ideas of what it means to be a woman.

Ever since Peter Stuyvesant in 1654 grudgingly admitted a band of twenty-three Jews to colonial New Amsterdam, Jewish women have played a major role in building the distinctive culture of the United States. From salons in Federal Philadelphia to Gold Rush boarding houses, from Frontier homesteads to city settlement houses to 1970's protests, American Jewish women have brought a distinctive sense of self and community to bear on the economic, social, and family life around them.

In this lively work of social history, historian Hasia Diner and writer Beryl Benderly chronicle the untold story of America's Jewish women. Drawing upon long-neglected public records, private diaries, and letters, they overturn the widespread notion that Jewish life began at Ellis Island and happened in New York. In place of such stereotypes as the Jewish Mother they offer a complex portrait of flesh-and-blood characters such as Emma Lazarus, Mrs. Wyatt Earp, Ethel Rosenberg, Betty Friedan, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The result is a magisterial account of how America transformed generations of Jewish women--and how these women transformed America.


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