The Bais Yaakov Journal was a publication of Bais Yaakov and the Agudah. It was edited by Eliezer Gershon Friedenson, from his office in Łódź, and it appeared monthly (or sometimes more often) from 1923 to 1939. A Polish supplement accompanied the Yiddish journal beginning in 1924. The Polish supplement was discontinued in 1929, when Bais Yaakov embraced Orthodox Yiddishism (see bio of Solomon Shlyome Birnbaum). Below are links to selected issues, digitized and presented here with generous permission from YIVO. (Some issues are missing from the YIVO archives.)
We have provided summaries of the highlights of each issue, but along with these were regular features, including:
- reflections by Sarah Schenirer on the parsha, Jewish holidays, and Bais Yaakov topics in nearly every issue
- letters to the editor
- a column by ELiezer Gershon Friedensohn called “From Month to Month”
- an advice column called “Sister to Sister”
- book reviews
- announcements about Bais Yaakov events
- reports from local Bais Yaakovs and Bnos chapters
- announcements of births, engagements, marriages, and deaths
Some of the regular journal topics came and went. For instance, in the late 1920s, Bais Yaakov published Yiddish translations of poetry by Rabindranath Tagore in nearly every issue, participating in the general European passion for his poetry.
As part of the ongoing nature of the Bais Yaakov Project, we will finish uploading the print runs of the Bais Yaakov Journal though 1939, and add the print runs of the Bais Yaakov Ruf (Lithuania), Bet Yaakov (Israel), and Beth Jacob (United States).
We also plan to translate the Yiddish, Polish, and Hebrew journals. If you would like to contribute your time and expertise, please contact us.
- Extended excerpts from a forthcoming work by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lau, an Agudah activist and supporter of Bais Yaakov, on Jewish heroines throughout history
- E.G. Friedenson’s Yiddish translation of Pirkei Avos
- Minutes of the founding conference of Bnos Agudath Israel.
- The journal also speaks of its dire financial condition and appeals to Bais Yaakov schools and Bnos groups to subscribe, purchase multiple copies, and publicize the existence of the journal.
- Report on the Bnos conference
- Translation of a story by Marcus Lehmann
- Article on women in the Talmud by Sheindel Meyer
- Original story by G.G.
- Article on pedagogy
- Article by Ben-Rivka, comparing Bais Yaakov to the Tarbut schools.
- For its first survey, the Journal asked Bais Yaakov teachers for help distributing the survey questions to their pupils and collecting answers. The questions included what the pupils wanted to be when they grew up; which subjects they liked best, and whether they preferred their fathers or their mothers.
- Manifesto detailing the principles of the newly founded Bnos Agudath Israel (including the commitment to keeping Jewish names)
- Poem by the Bengali spiritual poet Rabindranath Tagore
- Articles describing the celebrations in numerous locations of the newly revived “women’s holiday” of Tu Be’av
- Report on the opening of the second Teacher Training Program in Jordanów
- Description of the journal as an “illustrated” monthly
- Two photos, of Rabbi Dov Meisels and Rabbi Dr. Pinchas Kohn
- Many articles devoted to the Agudah or by such Agudah leaders as Rabbi Jacob Rosenheim, Rabbi Dr. Pinchas Cohn, Nathan Birnbaum, and Rabbi Leo Jung.
- Translation of a poem by Rabindranath Tagore, popular among Bais Yaakov students as elsewhere in Europe
- Three poems by the well-known Orthodox poet Miriam Ulinover
- Article about Yiddish as the mameloshn by Shmuel Nadler
- Article about Jewish attitudes toward suicide by Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch
- List of the students in the Kraków Teachers Seminary
- Article on the grand ceremony of September 13, 1927, in which the cornerstone of the Kraków Teachers Seminary was laid (imprinted with the emblem of the Bais Yaakov Journal)
- Continuation of the article on Jewish attitudes toward suicide by Rabi Samson Raphael Hirsch
- Article on two types of Jewish women by Rabbi Dr. Klein
- Poems by Miriam Ulinover and Rabindranath Tagore
- Article on the need for Bais Yaakov textbooks by Rabbi Tuvye Yehudah Gutentag (later, Tavyomi)
- Las installment of the article on Jewish attitudes toward suicide by Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch
- Report by the editor, E.G. Friedenson, on the Orthodoxy he encountered on a trip through Germany
- (illustrated by a photo of Rabbi Jacob Rosenheim, founder and president of the Agudah, and of the Agudah leader and founder of the first Orthodox girls’ school in Poland–Havatzelet–Rabbi Dr. Jacob Carlebach)
- Tagore poem
- Report on developments in the Bnos movement