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The Record Made by Jewish Women

September 6, 1893 — Jewish Women’s Congress, World Parliament of Religion, World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago IL


In the first days of the week, I had decided to say a few words of welcome to the fathers and brothers who might attend this evening’s session. But so generous has been their attendance during the week that words of welcome are superfluous. But one thing I will say, and that is, that if there is one lesson more beautiful than all others which Israel has taught the world, it is that of the position of woman. Love for the mother, devotion to the wife, sacrifices for the children, these stamp Israel of all times as a civilized nation. And if this week we have been spelling “Jewish Woman” with a capital “J” and a capital “W,” it is not less true that we believe you all capital fellows. It is not vain-gloriously, or in a spirit of boasting that we have been rummaging the pages of history for the illustrious daughters of Judah, nor do we strive to shine by reflected light. But we have come to teach and to learn. In the pages of history, in the lives of the heroes and heroines, the destinies and possibilities of a people are written. In them, we have been trying to discover ideals for ourselves, our daughters and granddaughters.

I hope I shall not be too severely taken to task for saying that I am proud of the record made by Jewish women during the past week. I am proud of the earnestness shown, best attested by the facts that all our essayists, with one exception, were here to read their own papers, and that our delegates have come from the remotest points to be with us; proud of the unselfishness of the women; of the lack of vanity shown by the women of our city, who left every place in the programme to the women of other cities, accepting only the places left. All this, I think, argues well for the woman-soul of the future that is to lead “upward and on.”



Source: Jewish Women’s Congress: Papers of the Jewish Women’s Congress, (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1894), pp. 166-67.