Ronnie Grinberg speaks with Pamela S. Nadell, the Patrick Clendenen Chair in Women’s and Gender History and director of Jewish studies at American University. Her books include America's Jewish Women, winner of the Everett Family Foundation Book of the Year Award from the Jewish Book Council, and Women Who Would Be Rabbis, a National Jewish Book Award finalist. Prof. Nadell lives in North Bethesda, Maryland.
In America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today (W. W. Norton, 2019), Pamela Nadell surveys varied experiences of Jewish women who made America their home. In elegant prose, she introduces readers to a fascinating cast of characters from the seventeenth century to the present day. This interview provides a brief overview of the book’s arguments and archival research, before turning to important questions of how women’s history, Jewish history and American history can work together. It also calls attention to some distinctive features of Judaism in America, the social roots of Jewish women’s political activism, and a shared passion for mah jong! Please enjoy this conversation between two colleagues with a deep admiration for each other’s work.
Ronnie Grinberg is Assistant Professor in the History Department and Schusterman Center for Judaic and Israel Studies at the University of Oklahoma. She is completing a manuscript on New York Jewish intellectuals in the twentieth century to be published with Princeton University Press.