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Woman's cause : the Jewish woman's movement in England and the United States, 1881-1933 /

Main Author: Kuzmack, Linda Gordon.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Columbus : Ohio State University Press, 1990
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Review by Choice Review

Kuzmack's extensively researched study attempts to compare Jewish feminism in the US and England in the period 1881 to 1933. It documents a more widespread participation in national secular feminist movements by Jewish women than had generally been supposed. It also describes the development of a specifically Jewish woman's movement, involved in "welfare feminism" and in demands for a more equal role in the life of the Jewish community. Kuzmack states that her focus is on women who "directly affected the Jewish community." It is, therefore, surprising to see her exclude the women's Zionist movement and Eastern European immigrant radicalism. Certainly both had major impacts on the Jewish community. Nevertheless, this is an interesting and provocative work. The examination of the less well known British movement, with its aristocratic leadership and lack of working-class participation, is particularly valuable. Less sophisticated readers might not understand some of the references to feminist historical studies, but, as a whole, this would be an excellent addition to libraries with Jewish and women's studies collections. L. Mayo County College of Morris

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In this exhaustively documented study, Kuzmack traces the evolution of two similar but subtly different movements. Jewish women on both sides of the Atlantic fought for more say in the synagogue, equal pay on the job and political suffrage, but in England, class bias and pervasive anti-Semitism ensured that only ladies of exalted rank became heads of Jewish women's organizations. By contrast, American Jewish feminists were a rowdy bunch. These Eastern European immigrants left their tenements and sweatshops to become trade unionists, socialists and scholars. Only on one notable occasion did Anglo-Jewish women outdo their American counterparts: they defied the Jewish community's horror of sexual scandal to battle the Jewish white slave trade, a chapter in immigrant history all too rarely written. Kuzmack, a historian at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, scoured libraries, newspaper morgues, diaries and personal correspondence for her source material, but her approach is so academic, the reader can hardly see past it to the real and remarkable lives these pioneering feminists led. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved