“America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today” by Pamela Nadell— Identity, Influence and Social Activism

Nadell, Pamela. “America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today”, W.W. Norton, 2019.

Identity, Influence and Social Activism

Amos Lassen

Pamela Nadell’s “America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today” shows how Jewish women maintained their identity and influenced social activism as they wrote themselves into American history. If you have ever wondered what it means to be a Jewish woman in America, this is a great place to start reading.  Pamela S. Nadell brings together the stories of a diverse group of extraordinary people going back to the colonial-era matriarch Grace Nathan and her great-granddaughter, poet Emma Lazarus, to labor organizer Bessie Hillman and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to many other activists, workers, wives, and mothers who helped carve out a Jewish American identity.

What unites  these women is first,  a strong sense of self and second, a resolute commitment to making the world a better place. Nadell shares how Jewish women have been at the forefront of causes for centuries, fighting for suffrage, trade unions, civil rights, and feminism, and hoisting banners for Jewish rights around the world.  They have been taught and informed by the shared values of America’s founding and Jewish identity and they have made their marks on the history of this country which is also their country.

Writer Nadell’s broad knowledge is see on every page here. “This is not a collection of biographies, but rather a seamlessly arranged narrative of the intersection of gender, religion, identity, immigration, and assimilation.”