February 28: Laura Z. Hobson

Laura Z. Hobson (born Laura Kean Zametkin), author of Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), a bestselling novel about American anti-Semitism, died at 85 in New York on this date in 1986. She was the daughter of Jewish socialist radicals; her father had been tortured by the tsarist police and became the first editor of the Forverts newspaper. […]

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February 13: Henrietta Szold

Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah, died in Jerusalem at 84 on this date in 1945. The eldest of five daughters of a prominent Baltimore rabbi, she led a lifetime of service to the Jewish community that included two decades of (overworked and underpaid) work for the Jewish Publication Society, the founding of the first […]

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January 28: Judith Resnik

Astronaut Judith Arlene Resnik died at 36 on the Space Shuttle Challenger when it disintegrated during the second minute after lift-off on this date in 1986. The disaster, which also took the life of schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe and five other crew members, resulted in part from NASA’s publicity concerns over its launch schedule and the […]

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January 16: Susan Sontag

Essayist, novelist, critic and philosopher Susan Sontag (Susan Rosenblatt) was born on this date in 1933 in New York City. She taught philosophy and theology at Sarah Lawrence, CUNY and Columbia before devoting herself to full-time writing in the early 1960s. Sontag’s best-known books include Against Interpretation (1966), On Photography (1977), Illness as Metaphor (1978), […]

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January 14: Tillie Olsen

Tillie Olsen, the author of Tell Me a Riddle (1961), was born in Nebraska on this date in 1912. Olsen’s parents were radical Jewish refugees from the failed 1905 revolution in Russia. Olsen became a left-wing union organizer, and while she was in jail for her political activities she landed a contract from Random House […]

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February 16: Women's Basketball

Senda Berenson, 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 the […]

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