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June 26: Trude Weiss-Rosmarin and the Jewish Spectator

June 26, 2013
TrudeWeiss-RosmarinDr. Trude Weiss-Rosmarin, who founded The Jewish Spectator in 1939 and edited it for half a century, died at 81 on this date in 1989. Weiss-Rosmarin’s estimable publication grew out of New York’s School of the Jewish Woman, which she co-founded with her husband in1933 under the auspices of Hadassah. The school was modeled after the Frankfurt Lehrhaus created by Franz Rosenzweig and Martin Buber, and offered Torah study and classes in Jewish history and languages (Hebrew and Yiddish) to women, but lasted only six years. Weiss-Rosmarin, who was German born and educated, taught at New York University and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Her Jewish Spectator had a liberal Zionist perspective and was an advocate of Arab-Jewish coexistence and equal rights and access for women in Jewish life. Jennifer Breger at the Jewish Women’s Archive describes Weiss-Rosmarin as a “dynamic speaker backed by broad-ranging Jewish scholarship and a prodigious memory . . . a popular lecturer at synagogues and Jewish centers across the United States and a foremost critic of American Jewish life and institutions.” “[W]hat gives publishers/editors of controversial and struggling little magazines the will and strength to continue, is that some of their far out opinions of yesteryear have become the ‘in’ opinions of today.” —Trude Weiss-Rosmarin