Weiss-Rosmarin, Trude

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WEISS-ROSMARIN, TRUDE (1908–1989), U.S. editor, scholar, author, lecturer. Born in Frankfurt am Main, she was the daughter of Jacob Weiss, a prosperous wine merchant, and Celestine Mulling. Although her parents attended Jewish religious services, they were highly acculturated to German bourgeois life. In Frankfurt, Weiss-Rosmarin studied at the Freie Jüdische Lehrhaus established by Franz *Rosenzweig. She was a university student in Berlin, Leipzig, and Würzburg, where she received her doctorate in 1931 in Semitics, archaeology, and philosophy. Her dissertation, "Mention of Arabia and the Arabs in Assyrian-Babylonian Texts" was later published. In 1930 she married Aaron Rosmarin, a Russian Jewish scholar; they immigrated to the United States in 1931 and had one son. Unsuccessful in obtaining a university position in Assyriology, Weiss-Rosmarin established in Philadelphia, under the auspices of Hadassah, the School of the Jewish Woman, modeled on Rosenzweig's Frankfurt Lehrhaus; she served as director from 1933 to 1939. Weiss-Rosmarin designed a rigorous curriculum for Jewish women, based on Hebrew, Yiddish, biblical studies, rabbinic sources, Jewish history, and philosophy. As an intellectual feminist, she hoped that serious education would overcome women's traditional exclusion from Jewish learning. Hadassah withdrew its support in 1936, following disputes with Weiss-Rosmarin, and the school closed in 1939. However, Weiss-Rosmarin and her husband continued publication of the school newsletter, The Jewish Spectator. Weiss-Rosmarin became sole editor in 1943, and over the next 40 years the journal became an influential voice for rabbis and Jewish professionals on a wide range of topics. Weiss-Rosmarin was a popular and provocative lecturer; she contributed widely to other publications and she also taught Jewish history at New York University. Her books include Religionof Reason: The Philosophy of Hermann Cohen (1936); Hebrew Moses: An Answer to Sigmund Freud (1939); The Oneg Shabbat Book (1940); Jewish Women Through the Ages (1940); Jewish Survival (1949); Saadia (1959); and Jewish Expressions on Jesus: An Anthology (1977). Weiss-Rosmarin was a national co-chair of education for the Zionist Organization of America and served on the advisory boards of the National Jewish Curriculum Institute and the Jewish Book Council. Her first marriage ended in divorce in 1951; she later married Nissim Sevan. Weiss-Rosmarin moved to Santa Monica, California, in 1978; she died there of cancer. Her papers are in the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati, Ohio.


J. Breger, "Weiss-Rosmarin, Trude," in: P.E. Hyman and D. Dash Moore (eds.), Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, vol. 2 (1997), 1463–65; D. Dash Moore, "Trude Weiss-Rosmarin and the Jewish Spectator," In: C.S. Kessner, The "Other" New York Jewish Intellectuals (1994), 101–21.

[Carole S. Kessner (2nd ed.)]