A Letter from Bais Yaakov Teachers in Bergen Belsen
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the rare artifacts that survive from the post-war period in Europe. One of the artifacts that give us a glimpse into this extraordinary period is a letter written from
Bais Yaakov in the DP Camps
An Object: Among the few items my parents brought with them from Europe when they emigrated to America is a Hebrew textbook my mother (Sara Seidman, née Abraham) wrote by hand, from memory, for the
Bais Yaakov, the Talmud, and Me
“Whatever strategic impulses may have led Schenirer to avoid discussing what Rabbi Eliezer may have thought of her enterprise, she helped construct an alternative value system that shaped my own attitude to the Jewish library…”
Bais Yaakov in the Olomeinu Magazine
Confession: My area of specialization is not Bais Yaakov. My knowledge of Bais Yaakov’s history comes from my work on this website, in fact. My area of specialization – or at least one of them
Mechitzas and Movies: Female Culture in a Gender-Segregated Community
“But what if the effect is not entirely negative?
What if gender segregation was also an engine for spiritual energy and community cohesiveness for girls, as it seems to often be for boys and men?”
Tishrei Thoughts from Sarah Schenirer
In the 35th issue (1928) of the Bais Yaakov Journal, Sarah Schenirer wrote about Tishrei in a column titled תשרי-געדאנקען – Tishrei Thoughts. Read a translation in this week’s blog post.
When Plans Go Awry
“Sources like student publications, class notes, and teachers’ lesson plans are equally as important. They demonstrate what happened in schools in great detail, while official documents tend to provide a much broader picture.”
Why Didn’t Sarah Schenirer Want Her Photo Published?
“We now have a photo of Sarah Schenirer, one she would have fought to keep away from prying eyes. What are the ethics of showing it?”
Singing the Bais Yaakov Song on a Lakewood Farm
It was no surprise that the intellectuals my father described, who inhabited the margins on the Agudah, are also the ones most likely to show up in the history of Bais Yaakov.
When Bais Yaakov Girls Commissioned a Sefer Torah
“…I was pretty surprised to read a report in a 1933 issue of the Bais Yaakov Journal about a girls’ camp commissioning a Torah scroll.”
After a summer hiatus during which we strategized and brainstormed (and wrote grant applications), we’re back with more material from the archives! This week, I’m highlighting some materials donated by individuals from personal archives: class
The choir on stage at YIVO, March 24, 2019. L-R: Naomi Seidman, Michelle Miller, Roni Mazal, Dainy Bernstein, Rivky Grossman, Batya Okunov, Basya Schechter. Photo: Steve Beltzer. Two weeks ago, Naomi Seidman wrote about the
A Songbook Come Alive
Among my favorite Bais Yaakov finds in the YIVO archive, and one I discovered almost at the very start of my journey, is Undzer Gyzang: Lider far Bais Yaakov shuln, Basya Farbands, un Bnos Agudath
Tracing the Map of Agudah, on a Motorcycle
The participants of a 1931 tour of Poland undertaken by Agudath Israel and Keren HaTorah. During the interwar period, Bais Yaakov embraced a far more diverse cast of characters than it does today. It was
When a Book Is Not Really Done
There’s something a little ambivalent and paradoxical about the process of seeing a book you’ve worked on for years finally appear in print. It’s certainly gratifying to finish a book and watch it take its
When Bais Yaakov Girls Were Movie Stars
On February 22, 1933, the Yiddish daily Hayntige nayes published a news report with the eye-catching title: “The Agudah Is Making Its Own Films: It aims to turn Bnos-Yaakov girls into movie stars.” As the
In the Birnbaum Archives
The great scholar and historian Yosef Hayyim Yerushalmi once wrote: History is the faith of fallen Jews. But what of Jews who are not fallen? Have they no need for history? Might history be a
From Sister to Sister: #1
SHIDDUCHIM LETTERS This is the first installment of a column from The Bais Yaakov Journal called “From Sister to Sister,” translated from the Yiddish by Sandra Chiritescu. “Shidduch Letters” appeared in issues 78 and 79
Was Bais Yaakov a Feminist Movement?
In 1934, the Agudah secured the right to distribute a share of certificates for immigration to Palestine, from Zionist organizations that had previously controlled them. But the certificates were precious and competition for them was
Report Card Revelations
What can a few simple report cards tell us about Bais Yaakov schools? A lot, actually. One of the purposes of the Bais Yaakov Project website is to foster scholarship of the Bais Yaakov movement