Putting Jewish Women on the Map

From Emma Lazarus’ poem engraved on the Statue of Liberty, to the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, to Barbra Streisand’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – Jewish women’s history is written on the streets of North America. Just in time for Women’s History Month, the Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA) has created On the Map, a new way to collect and explore Jewish women’s history using the powerful combination of crowdsourcing and Google Maps.

There is a human impulse to connect with history in a physical way, one that compels us to build monuments that mark the place of historically significant stories. Traditionally, these have been the stories of “great men.” Many important stories – women’s stories – go unheralded. The Jewish Women’s Archive wants to know, “Where are the landmarks that tell the stories of Jewish women?” Beginning this month, JWA invites everyone to share a landmark and help put Jewish women “On the Map.”

Crowdsourcing our history

A user-generated map hosted on jwa.org, On the Map will showcase significant places in Jewish women’s history, including sites both marked and unmarked, familiar and obscure. Users can put their own stamp on history by clicking on a location and adding a photo and their description of the new landmark. Through this crowdsourcing initiative, we become our own historians, mapping history as we discover and create it. The Jewish Women’s Archive, the world’s leading source on Jewish women in North America, is excited to add this innovative tool to its growing collection of resources on Jewish women.

History you can use

JWA’s map is more than just a record. With On the Map, users can plan walking tours of new cities or discover sites in their own neighborhood. On the Map will allow researchers to locate and share important sites, help teachers plan real or virtual field trips, and empower those using it to play a role in mapping our common heritage.

About: The mission of the Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA) is to uncover, chronicle, and transmit to a broad public the rich history of North American Jewish women. A national non-profit organization founded in 1995 and headquartered in Brookline, Massachusetts, JWA creates and disseminates educational materials, conducts original research, hosts public programs, and maintains an innovative website. Through web exhibits, online collection projects, and oral histories, JWA shares the stories, struggles, and achievements of North American Jewish women spanning many generations. In 2007, JWA produced the film Making Trouble, a prize-winning documentary about three generations of Jewish women in comedy.