The Jewish Women’s Archive is a history website that sets out to elevate Jewish women’s stories, struggles, and achievements throughout history and strives to safeguard a more inclusive future.¹ The JWA is a great example of Cohen and Rosenzweig’s “History Web” because it combines a number of different aspects that they determine are important to history-related websites. While the site focuses on an expansive topic, Jewish Women throughout world history, it is well organized into different sections that help users navigate to a section that is relevant to them. JWA combines archives, exhibits and scholarship, teaching and learning, as well as discussion.
The “Collections” tab brings users to the bulk of what the website has to offer. This includes an encyclopedia, the different digital exhibits, and the archives of The American Jewess Journal (1895-1899). This section highlights the extensiveness of what the site has to offer to researchers, scholars, students, or anyone else interested in this field of history. I personally have used the “Poland: Interwar” section within the encyclopedia as a secondary resource and starting point for a research paper I completed last semester. It provided me with further sources to examine, as well as a clear way to cite if I wished to use information from the page. This is extremely useful when conducting research for a paper. A wonderful aspect of the JWA is that it provides individuals with plenty of other resources or websites to check out for more information and truly exemplifies a good historical library.
The JWA is also keeping with current trends by including an “Education” section. This area provides teachers with lesson plans on different topics related to Jewish women, as well as guides that include “Working with Primary Sources.” These resources offer plenty of advice on how to implement the materials from the website as well as the lesson plans into the classroom. It is becoming more prominent throughout historical websites to incorporate teaching materials and lesson plans, allowing for indispensable information to spread further than their own site. The JWA follows this logic by including an “Education” section, offering lesson plans not only for young students but for adults and families as well.
Another aspect of the website is its “Programs” tab, which directs individuals to the JWA’s podcast that follows the websites mission on bringing stories and conversations about Jewish women to a wider audience. This section also includes the JWA Book Club that facilitates an online community of readers to discuss different texts written by Jewish women and what it means to their community. The Book Club and the JWA Blog allows for users to participate in the discussion of not only Jewish women, but women in general and their visibility in media and other platforms.
The JWA is a non-profit site that is open to all individuals who wish to use their resources. The site is efficiently organized into sections that break down what and how you can use the material provided. While the scope of Jewish women’s history spans centuries and countries, the site does not appear unfocused and disjointed. Everything is placed within categories that you could search through and choose what you wish to discover. I believe it highlights all the points that Cohen and Rosenzweig view as a worthy History Web.
- Jewish Women’s Archive. “About the Jewish Women’s Archive.” (Viewed on March 13, 2016) <http://jwa.org/aboutjwa>.