RBG’s Brave & Brilliant Women: 33 Jewish Women to Inspire Everyone

Delacorte. Sept. 2021. 224p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593377185.
Gr 3-6–In 2019, the author began working with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to compile a list of 33 individuals from ancient times to today and from all over the world who “were guided or shaped by Jewish beliefs or values” and “transcended what was expected, allowed, or tolerated for a woman of their time.” The book is divided into seven sections, beginning with biblical times and jumping to the 16th through 20th centuries. A brief paragraph introduces each section, putting the period, women’s lives, and the Jewish experience into historical context. The work is handsomely designed with exquisite borders and end pages. Each entry includes a full-page, rich, vibrant, painted portrait of the subject. Text boxes conclude each entry with a statement describing the relevance today. While many of the subjects, such as Miriam, Yocheved, and Deborah from the biblical Book of Exodus, and more contemporary figures like Lillian Wald and Ernestine Rose, for example, have been included in similar compilations, this volume is unique in its vast historical and global scope. Emma Lazarus, Golda Meir, and Anne Frank may be familiar to young readers; however, other personalities will be less recognizable. Salome Alexandra, a powerful queen in Ancient Israel who led campaigns for increased literacy and judicial reform, and Florence Prag Kahn, who in 1925 became the first non-Christian Congresswoman and the fifth woman to serve in the U.S. Congress, are just some of the brave and brilliant women readers will encounter.
VERDICT An exceptional resource, it can be read from cover to cover or just flipped through for ideas and inspiration.

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