American Jewish Women and the Zionist Enterprise

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Editors: Shulamit Reinharz and Mark A. Raider

Series: Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture and Life and HBI Series on Jewish Women

Despite a historical record that shows sustained involvement of American Jewish women with early Zionism and Palestine, this topic has received scant scholarly attention. A major contribution to Zionist history, women’s history and American history, “American Jewish Women and Zionism” offers a much needed clarification to the historical record. Divided thematically, “American Jewish Women” deals with representative figures, events and themes of the prestate era. The essays in the book have three different foci: Several are concerned with significant personalities, such as Golda Meir, Marie Syrkin, Emma Lazarus and Henrietta Szold, while others are concerned with the pivotal role played by American Zionist women’s organizations including Hadassah, the Pioneer Women’s Organization (later Naamat), the Mizrachi Women’s Organization (later Amit Women) and others. The remaining essays address broad themes and reveal the multidimensionality of the relationship of American Jewish women and Zionism, which includes agricultural and vocational training, religion, ideology, geography and feminism and femininity. “American Jewish Women and Zionism” also includes several eyewitness documents and personal testimonies. No less significant than the corpus of memoirs and literature produced by male Zionist leaders, such data throws light on hitherto neglected facets of American Jewish and Zionist history, including the variety of roles played by Zionist women and their self-awareness as participants in one of the most dramatic and consequential episodes in the history of Jewish civilization. The volume includes a glossary of terms, a map of the principal locations referred to in the text, illustrations and a timeline of American Jewish women and their relationship to Zionism. Each section opens with a prefatory note that places the essays in historical context. It concludes with a bibliographic note and suggestions for further readings.

Subject: Women’s Studies

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