Review by Choice Review
Although a disproportionate number of Jewish women have been part of the American feminist movement from the outset, Jewish feminism has only recently begun to focus on specific Jewish issues. This pioneering encyclopedia not only beautifully summarizes the existing information but generates new knowledge and an appreciation of the history of Jewish women and their contribution to Jewish as well as US society and culture. This superb reference source is well designed, well written, and profusely illustrated. Its two-columned pages include 800 entries averaging a page and a half in length. Every entry ends with detailed bibliographies by and about the subject. Also included are 110 extensive general essays, as long as 20 columns, that frequently break new ground on such topics as Baalot Teshuva, Bais Yaacov schools, art, East European immigration, Hasidic women, Ladino theater, Hebrew teachers' colleges, Yiddish film, Sephardic women, poetry, and Zionism. Cross-references within articles are printed in small capitals. A detailed classified index locates all subjects in any particular category, the two longest lists being "Activists" (110 entries) and "Writers" (138). An alphabetic index with more than 20,000 entries, including all titles of books and productions, brings everything together. Independently useful are the detailed biographical sketches of the hundreds of contributors. This classic in the making is essential for every library. D. Kranzler Queensborough Community College, CUNY
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
Until recently, women's contributions to history have been ignored. This is especially true of Jewish history. Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia is a unique work that examines the contributions of Jewish women to American society. The editors, professors of history, and the contributors, whose credentials are listed in the appendixes, have academic appointments. They have created a source that shows the diversity of Jewish women's lives in the U.S. This work contains more than 800 biographies and 110 topical essays. All are signed, and all have brief bibliographies. Biographies of authors also have lists of selected works. Women included are, for the most part, deceased or over the age of 60. They are either women born and educated in the U.S. or immigrants who had careers here. They had at least one Jewish parent or converted to Judaism and identified themselves as Jews. The biographies include women from all walks of life. Hannah Arendt, Emma Goldman, Bette Midler, Gertrude Stein, and Rosalyn Yalow are just a few of the fascinating women profiled in this source. The articles present a balanced view of the subjects. The biography of Golda Meir notes both her political accomplishments and the fact that she had no interest in women's issues. Topical articles include organizations (Hadassah, National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods), religious institutions and concepts (Orthodox Judaism, mikvah), academic disciplines (art, children's literature), historical events and movements (Triangle Shirtwaist fire, civil rights movement), and social groups and concepts (Hasidic women, assimilation). The text is well illustrated with black-and-white photographs. An extensive annotated bibliography and guide to archival resources provide access to more detailed information. In addition to a general index, there is a classified index to biographical entries so that users can search for actresses, writers, painters, rabbis, and even anarchists or librarians. This is a very interesting encyclopedia that fills an obvious gap in reference collections. Academic libraries, Judaica and women's studies collections, and large public libraries where there is interest will want Jewish Women in America on their shelves.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Hyman (modern Jewish history, Yale) and Moore (history, Vassar) have put together a primarily biographical encyclopedia of American Jewish women. Their book contains 800 entries on women from all fields who lived from 1654 (when the first Jewish woman arrived in America) to the present and 110 topical essays about various organizations and subjects ranging from education to politics to the arts. Each biographical entry includes both an essay and a bibliography. In addition, the book has an alphabetical listing of entries, a classified list of biographical entries by type (activists, lawyers, nurses, etc.), a helpful annotated bibliography of archival resources, and an in-depth index. While various books on the American Jewish woman are currently available (e.g., The Journey Home: Jewish Women and the American Century, LJ 4/1/97; Celebrating the Lives of Jewish Women, LJ 1/98), this one provides a good biographical and encyclopedic reference approach to the subject and is an excellent biographical source. Recommended for larger libraries as a complement to women's studies, Jewish history, biography, and American history collections.Mary F. Salony, West Virginia Northern Community Coll. Lib., Wheeling (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.