Evans, Jane

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EVANS, JANE (1907–2004), U.S. Jewish communal leader. Born in New York City, Evans was raised as a Reform Jew in Brooklyn, beginning her lifelong affiliation with the Reform movement. She received her B.A. from Xavier University in Cincinnati and moved to St. Louis in 1928 where she began to work as a designer and taught at the local ym/ywha. She was recruited from there to become the executive director of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods for the *Union American Hebrew Congregations of in 1951. She developed its program on Jewish education and on world peace and through the *World Union of Progressive Judaism expanded the work of the nfts overseas. She brought the energy and leadership of the nfts to the Jewish Braille Institute, whose board she had joined in 1933, only two years after it was founded. Under her leadership the Jewish Braille Institute provided resources to the Jewish blind in 40 countries. She eventually became president of the jbi in 1979, three years after her retirement from the uahc, until 1993 when at the spry age of 86 she stepped down.

A woman of great intellect, integrity, and energy, Evans taught at the New School for Social Research in New York and devoted herself to Jewish and philanthropic causes throughout her long and active life. Widely known as a distinguished national leader, a religious pacifist, and an advocate for human rights, she was a founder and former president of the Jewish Peace Fellowship and former president of the National Peace Conference. She was awarded the Abraham Joshua Heschel Award for peace work in the Jewish tradition. She served on the Commission on Displaced Persons of the American Jewish Conference after World War ii.


K.M. Olitzsky, L.J. Sussman, and M.H. Stern, Reform Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook (1993).

[Michael Berenbaum (2nd ed.)]

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Evans, Jane

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