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The Jewish Men's Hall Of Fame

I’m not so good at math, but I’m pretty sure 2 out of 37 is a pretty low percentage. That’s the number of women nominated in the Arts and Entertainment category of The National Museum of American Jewish History’s “Only In America Hall of Fame.” Aside from “Politics, Law & Activism,” women don’t achieve anything near parity in any category.
Of 218 candidates, eighteen winners will be featured in a multimedia exhibition when the Museum opens in its new building. According to the website, the exhibition “will illustrate the choices, challenges and opportunities a select few individuals encountered on their pathways to remarkable achievement.”
The public has until August 6 to vote on its favorites. You can write in candidates, but apparently the Museum has final say. As the Museum’s President and CEO told the JTA: “Not to denigrate in any way the choices that might be made by the public, but there has to be historical integrity.”

5 thoughts on “The Jewish Men's Hall Of Fame

  1. Maybe because for much of American History women weren’t given the opportunity to excel in a public. If this was a current list, sure feel free to criticize the lack of women. But from a historical perspective you need to respect who was significant. You may want to highlight the exclusion of women from prominent roles as a historical note, but there shouldn’t be affirmative action on a historical exhibit just to appease modern sensibilities.

  2. I noticed this as well when I went to vote. What I noticed was that men who were far less recognizable made the list, while apparently you have to be Barbra Streisand in order to be a woman who makes the list.

  3. Maybe the woman are taking Bob Dylan’s advice: “Don’t block up the hall.” I imagine they’ve already gathered in the Parlor of Fame.

  4. The fact that the list of 218 “notable Jews” is overwhelmingly male hardly comes as a surprise to us here at the Jewish Women’s Archive. Considering the social forces restricting women’s roles and opportunities, as well as the lack of attention paid to women in the historical record, it is no wonder there are so few of our gutsy Jewesses on this list!
    They do allow a write-in option, so check out jwa.org for important Jewish women you might want to write in.
    To see the Jewish Women’s Archive’s response to the poll, check out our blog post on Jewesses with Attitude.
    http://jwablog.jwa.org/only-in-america

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