Senda Berenson, Mother of Women’s Basketball

Senda Berenson (Valvrojenski), the first woman inaugurated into the Basketball Hall of Fame, died on this date in 1954. Known as “The Mother of Women’s Basketball,” she was the first physical education instructor at Smith College, and in 1893 she conducted the first women’s basketball game — sophomores against freshmen. Six years later, she modified […]

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The Child Bride

by Rebecca Boroson   IN 1905, when my grandfather was a divorced man who had cut off his payess and left his shtetl to live as a freethinker, he went to see a farmer who had three marriageable daughters. The daughters, whose mother had died in childbirth, were growing up wild, and the farmer was rumored […]

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In Memoriam: The Woman Who Popularized “Ms.”

by Bennett Muraskin   ALTHOUGH Ms. magazine is most identified with Gloria Steinem, the woman who most popularized the term “Ms.” was Sheila Michaels (1939-2017). The word enabled women to be identified as their own persons, rather than according to their marital status (Mrs. or Miss). Michaels’ career included a variety of jobs including cabdriver, technical editor, co-owner […]

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Zemirovsky’s Flight from the Juif

ASSIMILATION AND DISSIMULATION by Zelda Gamson Discussed in this essay: The Nemirovsky Question: The Life, Death and Legacy of a Jewish Writer in 20th-Century France, by Susan Rubin Suleiman. Yale University Press, 2016, 376 pages. from the Autumn 2017 issue of Jewish Currents   THE LIFE could have made a good novel, and she might even have […]

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Wyatt Earp’s Main Squeeze

Wyatt Earp’s wife, Josephine Sarah Marcus, died at 84 on this date in 1944 (although some sources cite her yortsayt as December 19th). She claimed to have run away from home at 18 to join a theater troupe, but it is extremely difficult to separate fact from fiction when it comes to her life; she spun […]

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The First Woman on the Stock Exchange

On this date in 1967, Muriel Siebert, age 35, became the first woman member of the New York Stock Exchange (alongside 1,365 men), after campaigning for months to overcome sexist obstructions. In 1975, Siebert & Company became the nation’s first discount brokerage house, democratizing Wall Street investing by greatly lowering the fees involved. Today, more […]

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Helena Rubinstein

Helena Rubinstein, creator of a cosmetics empire was born in Krakow, Poland on this date in 1872. She emigrated to Australia in 1902 and began to develop “beauty creams” made with a lanolin base, which was hugely abundant in the sheep-rich country. Within a few years she had fashionable salons in Sydney and in London. […]

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Women in the Israeli Military

Orna Barbivay, who in 2011 became the first woman in Israel’s history to become a major general, the second highest rank in the Israeli armed services, was born to Jewish immigrants from Iraq and Romania on this date in 1962. According to Jodi Rudoren in the New York Times, Barbivay spent “34 years of often being […]

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Live Nude Girls Unite!

The Lusty Lady strip club in San Francisco unionized on this date in 1996, with the peep-show dancers voting 57-15 to join SEIU Local 90, following a strike and a lock-out. One of the strippers, Julia Query, a Jewish woman, made a documentary film (with Vicky Funari) in 2000, Live Nude Girls Unite!, which told the story […]

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Celia Dropkin’s Scintillating Poems

Yiddish poet Celia Dropkin died at 68 on this date in 1956. Born and educated in the Russian Empire, she was active in Yiddish circles in New York as a poet and fiction writer while raising five children. Her “explicitly sexual imagery and themes,” writes Kathryn Hellerstein at the Jewish Women’s Archive, ” . . . redefined the ways modern Yiddish poetry could […]

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