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Jewish Woman, The


JEWISH WOMAN, THE , a quarterly journal that began as the in-house newsletter of the *National Council of Jewish Women (ncjw) in 1921. By the time it ceased publication in 1931, The Jewish Woman had reached out to a wide audience of American Jewish women through its articles and its advocacy of social issues and programs. To a great extent, the forward-looking agenda of ncjw during a crucial period of growth and redefinition in the 1920s can be gleaned by reading its journal.

Founding editor Estelle Sternberger of Cincinnati was a leading force behind The Jewish Woman's two-pronged approach to its mission (and, by proxy, to ncjw's mission). The publication's first stated goal was to inform the public about issues and projects of importance to ncjw. Its second, and loftier, aim was to provide a platform for "the ideals and aspirations of Jewish womanhood in every field of endeavor." Subjects addressed in editorials and articles included the rise of antisemitism in America, anti-immigration legislation in Congress (which the magazine vehemently criticized), and the separation of church and state in public education.

Articles in The Jewish Woman, including those written by ncjw officers, sometimes demonstrated ambivalence with regard to the social role of ncjw members. In particular, a careful balance was maintained with regard to the organization's relationship to Jewish women who were recent immigrants to America. Pride in such developments as the opening of a Jewish School of Social Work, which the magazine's writers felt would offer opportunities for positive growth to immigrant women, was tempered by an oft-voiced concern that outsiders might perceive the Jewish community in America to be mostly foreign-born "aliens." This occasional discomfort reflected debates raging in the U.S. Congress and the public square over the increasingly restrictive quotas placed on immigration in 1921 and 1924. Journal articles that lauded pacifism, meanwhile, were indicative of a popular antiwar sentiment following U.S. involvement in World War i.

In its later years, The Jewish Woman embodied something of a paradox: while increasing coverage of general issues in order to appeal to women outside ncjw, the magazine showed signs of losing its audience even within its sponsoring organization. The number of articles in each issue was pared down, and attempts to institute a subscription price failed. After its October 1931 issue, the journal ceased publication. In succeeding decades, ncjw's mission and activities were represented by other magazines; first, the Council Woman in the 1940s and 1950s, and then the Council Journal.


J. Bolton-Fasman. "Jewish Woman, The," in: P.E. Hyman and D.D. Moore (eds.), in: Jewish Women in America, vol. 1 (1997), 698–700; F. Rogow, Gone to Another Meeting (1993).

[Lauren B. Strauss (2nd ed.)]

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