Spiegel, Dora

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SPIEGEL, DORA (1879–1948), third president of the National *Women's League of the United Synagogue of America. Spiegel led the organization through the difficult years of the Depression and World War ii. Born in Ungvar, Hungary, to Pepi Josephine (Fullman) and Rabbi Daniel Rosenberg, Dora Rosenberg arrived in the United States with her parents in 1882. Although Dora and Dr. Samuel Spiegel (a New York physician, whom she married in 1900) had no children of their own, she dedicated her energy to serving Jewish children and their mothers. Spiegel attended Teachers College of Columbia University, receiving a B.S. degree in 1916 and an M.A. in 1920, with a special diploma as Advisor to Women. In New York she taught at the Educational Alliance, training immigrants in "Americanization."

A close friend and supporter of Mathilde *Schechter, Spiegel was a founder and president (1918–28) of the New York Metropolitan branch of the Women's League of the United Synagogue of America, and served as national president from 1928 to 1944, when poor health forced her to step down before the conclusion of her term. During World War ii, Spiegel's "President's Chats" columns in the League's magazine Outlook encouraged members to help with war-relief efforts. Women responded by giving blood, selling bonds, serving in canteens, and taking and teaching first-aid classes. During her presidency, Spiegel also led the League to begin the Torah Fund Campaign to establish a Seminary dormitory and a scholarship fund, which would allow rabbinical students to study full-time. She also encouraged the creation of two additional scholarship funds (the Mathilde Schechter Scholarship Fund and the Cyrus Adler Scholarship Fund). In addition, the plan for building a dormitory for female students developed during her tenure as president. She also helped found the Women's Institute of Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.


They Dared to Dream: A History of National Women's League, 19181968 (1967); S. Weintraub, "Spiegel, Dora," in: P.E. Hyman and D. Dash Moore Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia (1997).

[Aleisa Fishman (2nd ed.)]