Further Reading

Dissertation which  investigates the following question: How did Bais Yaakov schools’ perceptions of increased external threats to traditional practice and gender roles in the years 1963-1984, as influenced by the leadership of the Yeshivish Orthodox Jewish community, lead schools to become more rigid and narrow in their conceptions of appropriate behavior, halakhic observance and life choices for girls?

Leslie Ginsparg Klein. New York University.

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An account of the imposition of greater strictures on Bais Yaakov students in the 1970s.

Leslie Ginsparg Klein.

The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, Volume 9, Number 1, Winter 2016, pp. 140-158.

An exploration and deconstruction of the claim that Sarah Schenirer did nothing without first consulting “gedolim.”

Leslie Ginsparg Klein.


A description of the tendency to photoshop old photographs of Bais Yaakov to make them conform to more recent standards of modesty.

Leslie Ginsparg Klein.


Oleszak, Agnieszka. 

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry. Volume 23: Jews in Krakow. 2011.

Brief introduction to the major developments of the movement in the interwar period, by a student and colleague of Judith Rosenbaum Grunfeld, an early instructor in the teacher training courses and Kraków seminary.

Scharfer, Caroline. 

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry. Volume 23: Jews in Krakow. 2011.

Comprehensive history of the movement in interwar Poland, with a particular focus on the growth of the movement, legal and administrative challenges, and the curriculum in the supplemental schools and seminaries.

Atkin, Abraham.

PhD diss., Yeshiva University, 1959.

Baumel, Judith Tydor and Jacob J. Schacter. 

in Reverence, Righteousness, and Rahmanut: Essays in Memory of Rabbi Dr. Leo Jung.

1992, pp. 93-130

Garber, Zev.
Shofar, 1 October 1993, Vol.12(1), pp.69-92

An overview of the school system that includes many eyewitness descriptions by the Agudah activist and journalist Joseph Friedenson, the son of the editor-in-chief of the Bais Yaakov Journal. In Hebrew.

Friedenson, Joseph.

In Haḥinukh vehatarbut ha’ivrit be’eropah ben shete milḥamot ha’olam. Edited by Zevi Scharfstein, 61–82. New York: Ogen, 1957.

Brief introduction to the school system with special attention to the full-day high schools in Łódź and Warsaw, including the new types of trade and business schools that opened in those cities.

Łagodzińska, Anna.

Kwartalnik Historii Żydów 1 (2012): 39–51.


A history of Orthodox education, with the last section (pp. 420–462) devoted to the Bais Yaakov schools, which are praised for rescuing Orthodoxy at a moment of great peril. Focuses in particular on the development of the movement in the Land of Israel and on its activities during the Holocaust.

Soraski, Aharon.

Bnei Brak, Israel: Or Haḥayyim, 1967.

A brief description of the emergence of the movement, with a focus on its methods of legitimating Torah study for girls. Suggests that such efforts might serve as a model for contemporary feminists struggling with halakhic barriers to their intellectual and spiritual growth.

Weissman, Deborah.

In The Jewish Woman: New Perspectives. Edited by Elizabeth Koltun, 139–143. New York: Schocken, 1976.

A comprehensive history of the movement, with sociological analysis of the interplay between tradition and modernity in Bais Yaakov. Suggests that the movement was effective in part because Bais Yaakov was a “total institution,” functioning as far more than a school system in the interwar period.

Weissman, Deborah.

MA diss., New York University, 1977.

An encyclopedia article detailing the establishment and rapid growth of the movement, and suggesting that the movement was “proto-feminist,” although these tendencies were cut short by the Holocaust.

Weissman, Deborah, and Lauren B. Granite.

In Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. Edited by Paula E. Hyman and Dalia Ofer. Brookline, MA: Jewish Women’s Archive, 2009.

Naomi Seidman.

The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, in association with the Liverpool University Press. 2019.

The book on Amazon.

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Discusses Sarah Schenirer and the Bais Yaakov movement in the context of increasing attempts to draw youth and girls into the Hasidic experienceKraków.

Loewenthal, Naftali

in Jewish Spirituality and Divine Law (2005), pp. 407-454.

Eve Rosenbaum.

essay in Joining the Sisterhood : Young Jewish Women Write Their Lives, SUNY Press, 2003.

A crowd-sourced blog of stories from contemporary Bais Yaakov girls.