Skip to main content

Simon, Carrie Obendorfer

SIMON, CARRIE OBENDORFER

SIMON, CARRIE OBENDORFER (1872–1961), founding president of the *National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods. Born in Uniontown, Alabama, Obendorfer moved with her family to Cincinnati, Ohio, where her mother began a chapter of the *National Council of Jewish Women (ncjw) in 1895. Carrie, a graduate of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, served as section secretary and became familiar with new possibilities for women's public identities as Jews. After her marriage in 1896 to Hebrew Union College graduate Rabbi Abram Simon, Carrie Simon encountered many settings where she would push these possibilities in new directions.

Simon continued to advance ncjw work while living in Sacramento, where her husband took his first pulpit in 1896, and then in Omaha and Washington, d.c., where they moved in 1899 and 1904, respectively. As ncjw struggled to reconcile the differing religious approaches of its diverse membership, Simon turned her attention to local congregational work. Synagogue sisterhood organizations devoted to congregational aid first emerged in the 1890s. Simon's husband is credited with the 1903 founding of a sisterhood at Omaha's Temple Israel. Carrie Simon established the Ladies Auxiliary Society of Washington Hebrew Congregation in 1905 for the purpose of "congregational work, pure and simple, and to endeavor to establish a more congenial and social congregational spirit."

In 1913 the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (uahc), the synagogue federation of Reform Judaism, issued a call "to all ladies' organizations connected with congregations" to send delegates to Cincinnati "for the purpose of organizing a Federation of Temple Sisterhoods." Simon's work in organizing the meeting, attended by 156 delegates from 52 congregations (mainly the wives of delegates to the concurrent uahc convention), was recognized in her election as president of the newly formed National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods (nfts).

The new organization galvanized women in hundreds of Reform congregations. New sisterhoods were formed and many existing groups were revolutionized. The Ladies Auxiliary at Simon's own congregation renamed itself a Sisterhood and moved from holding occasional synagogue fundraisers to transforming the synagogue into a true social center. Simon's new role turned her into a speaker in demand across the country. She insisted that "there was no militancy" involved when she filled a pulpit; it simply represented "recognition accorded to the sisterhood."

nfts grew quickly under her leadership, introducing thousands of women to unaccustomed public roles within the Jewish community. Simon was often one of a very few women representatives in national and international gatherings of Jewish leaders. She retired as nfts president in 1919, but remained active in the organization as honorary president for the rest of her life.

bibliography:

M.I. Greenberg, "Carrie Obendorfer Simon," in: P.E. Hyman and D.D. Moore (eds.), Jewish Women in America, vol. 2 (1997), 1260–61; P.S. Nadell and R.J. Simon, "Ladies of the Sisterhood," in: M. Sacks (ed.), Active Voices (1995).

[Karla Goldman (2nd ed.)]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Simon, Carrie Obendorfer." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Simon, Carrie Obendorfer." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/simon-carrie-obendorfer

"Simon, Carrie Obendorfer." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved December 10, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/simon-carrie-obendorfer

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.