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33 Jewish Women To Inspire Everyone

by Nadine Epstein ; illustrated by Bee Johnson

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-593-37718-5
Publisher: Delacorte

Short biographies of Jewish women and girls, selected by the author and the late Justice Ginsburg, who also penned the introduction.

Each narrative is about three to five pages long and is preceded by an attractive, stylized, full-color illustration of the subject. Six figures are biblical, one is from the ancient world, and the rest lived during the last 600 years. Their achievements vary: Several are activists or labor organizers, one is an astronaut, some are politicians, others are artists, and one is a Holocaust victim. The prose is serviceable, while the breadth of the brief collection necessitates biographies so shallow that nearly every recorded incident can be found in Wikipedia. The selection contains little diversity; of the post-ancient subjects, all but the three Sephardic subjects are Ashkenazi, and all are White according to contemporary understanding. Though text boxes following each biography indicate their relevance to the modern world, most contain platitudes, and one appropriates for its subject—Yocheved, the mother of Moses, whose sexuality is unknown—a modern tradition aimed at incorporating queer Jews into Jewish ritual. The one truly compelling aspect of this collection is the context offered for why Ginsburg found inspiration in the stories of these women and girls, which provides insight into both the late justice herself and the changing times she lived through.

Destined for synagogue and Hebrew school libraries but unlikely to compel young readers.

(Biography. 9-11)