Page 109 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

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GREENBERG / RECENT LITERATURE ON JEWISH WOMEN
99
final section, entitled “Women Today,” culls the earliest articles
on Jewish feminism, including the article by T rud e Weiss-
Rosmarin and one by Shulamit Aloni on Israeli women’s libera­
tion. Interspersed throughout are several poems (including
Bialik’s “My Song,” his poignant poem about his widowed
mother) and many photographs.
T he range of sources is quite heterogeneous. Wisely, the
compilers make no attempt to draw any general conclusion. They
simply present the sources as they are. The book gives the reader
a sense of the scope and variety of historical circumstances to
which the Jewish woman has responded during the course of
three thousand years. One hundred fifty-one pages long, it was
published in pamphlet form with many typos. T he choice of
selections makes i t worthy of a more professional republication,
with wider distribution.
TH E AM E R IC A N SCENE
Coincidental with the growth of Jewish feminism and the
American bicentennial, several books have been published on
the Jewish woman in America. These histories and literary
analyses attempt to provide a usable past for contemporary Jew­
ish women, dispelling such stereotypical images as the over­
involved Jewish mother and the self-indulgent, humanly sterile
Jewish American princess. T h e histories also portray the prob­
lems Jewish women faced, underscoring the contributions they
made to both the Jewish and the general community. Neither
the problems nor the contributions are small.
T h e Jew ish W om an in Am er ica
by Charlotte Baum, Paula
Hyman and Sonya Michel (New York: Dial Press, 1976) fits
most of the above categories. A good part of the book describes
the Jewish woman in America at the turn of the century. Yet
there is an initial chapter on women in Jewish tradition and
Jewish law, one on women in the Eastern European shtetl and
several chapters describing the American Jewish woman as
portrayed in the American novel. There are also some wonder­
fully rich and original descriptions of the female immigrant
experience. These are based on personal reflective interviews
with several women. Here the reader gets a frontal view of the
teeming, richly textured immigrant life—the shvitz, the board­