WP Annual Meeting embraces the history of American Jewish women in WWI

Henrietta Szold, Anna Reinstein, Emma Goldman. These are names of women who played a significant role during WWI. Each of them made an impact in global history. Yet, little is known about them. Fortunately, Kansas City’s Jewish community now has the opportunity to learn about these and other women at the Jewish Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy Annual Meeting, Monday, August 27, at The National WWI Museum and Memorial. 
For his first time ever, Doran Cart, renowned WWI expert and Senior Curator at the museum, will   share stories that focus on Jewish women and their impact on the war effort during the First World   War.  He will also share insights and reflections on how these women shaped our history.

 Cart’s program will be presented in conjunction with the museum’s special exhibit, For Liberty:   American Jewish Experience in WWI.

“The timing couldn’t be better,” said Rosanne Rosen, co-chair of the event with Alissa Yamnitz. “When we developed ideas for the Women’s Philanthropy Annual Meeting, we wanted to showcase our strength and resilience as Jewish women. What better way to do this than to see how our predecessors did it nearly a century ago?”

“We also wanted to showcase how we – as individuals and as the collective – make things happen. Everything, including the opportunity to view the For Liberty exhibit, meshed together so seamlessly,” said Yamnitz.

In preparing and researching for his presentation, Cart came across archives and information that has been tucked away for years – even decades.

“This is the first time that much of this information will be brought to light since the war,” he said. “I want to share what each person was doing and saying during this period in history, so those of us today can feel what they were experiencing at the time.”

Throughout the First World War, Jewish women across the country responded in many ways to support the war effort on the home front and overseas.

Take Lillian “Bubbles” Marx, who, as a 14-year-old in Newark, NJ, took it upon herself to stand on the corner of Broad and Market Streets in a homemade uniform, collecting donations. Or the Jewish Welfare Board, organized in 1917 to help meet war needs, which established more than 200 centers for service men and women in stateside training camps and overseas.

These are just two examples of Jewish women’s work in the war effort. Throughout the rest of WWI, Jewish women took action on the home front and overseas.

“These stories are not widely told. I think this will be a very interesting perspective…and to share information about these incredible women who did things generally unheralded is what I am most looking forward to,” said Cart.

“The similarities to these women, and the work women do at Jewish Federation is striking,” said Laurie Goldstein, Women’s Philanthropy Director at Jewish Federation. “We continue to stand for what we believe in by volunteering our time and talent, and by giving meaningful gifts that collectively support the most vulnerable members of our community in Kansas City and around the world.”

After the program, Annual Meeting attendees will have the opportunity to take a self-guided tour of the exhibit, gaining even more insights into Jewish women’s roles during that time in history.

In addition to Cart’s presentation and the For Liberty exhibit, the evening includes an hors d’oeuvres reception and the Women’s Philanthropy Board installation to honor the outgoing Women’s Philanthropy Board of Directors and Chair Lisa Bernard, and install incoming Chair Barb Kovacs and the 2018-19 Women’s Philanthropy Board of Directors.

The Women’s Philanthropy Annual Meeting takes place at 6:30 pm on Monday, August 27 at the National WWI Museum and Memorial. It is open to the community. Tickets are $18 per person. For more information, or to register, visit jewishkansascity.org/women18.