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The Strong Women’s Club: Successful women's stories, women entrepreneurs, women leaders, business women, sports, and science

Join the Strong Women’s Club where Edie Berg interviews successful women who share the behind-the-scenes personal sides of their stories. Women leaders who are utilizing health and fitness as tools for success.
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Now displaying: February, 2017
Feb 28, 2017

She was born Golda Mabovitch in 1898 in Kiev, which is now in the Ukraine, but then it was part of the Russian Empire. In her autobiography, Golda tells about her father boarding their home up, during the pogroms in 1905 in Kiev, where over 100 Jews were murdered. In 1906 her family moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

She was a natural leader, famous for having raised money to pay for textbooks for her whole school when she was only 11 years old. She knew how to speak from her heart. She ran away from home when she was 15 years old because her parents wanted her to leave school and get a job. She went to Denver, where her sister Sheyna lived. There she learned about Zionism. She met Morris Myerson there, and they married, on the condition that they would move to Israel, which they did, in 1921 to Kibbutz Merhavia. They moved to Jerusalem in 1924 and had two children, Menahem and Sarah.

In Jerusalem, Golda Meir became politically active, by representing the Histadrut Trade Union and also serving as a delegate to the World Zionist Organization. This area, at the time, was under the control of Great Britain, as prescribed by the sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. This was a secret agreement from 1916 between the French and the British, which the Russians agreed to, that split up the region of what is now Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Armenia, and Israel.

The British White Paper of 1939 went so far to allow the Arab official of the area to determine the rate of Jewish Immigration, including during the Second World War. Golda Meir fought hard against these policies at the time. When it was decided that the Jews would be given a homeland in the area of Palestine, it was clear that there would be a war.

Golda knew English, so she knew how to speak to the American Jews. She went on a fundraising trip, and came back with 50M dollars! They were able then to buy weapons from Czechoslovakia, which enabled them to defend themselves during the war of independence. In 1948, Israel declared its independence and Golda Meir’s signature is on that declaration.

She was elected to the Israeli parliament, and when the fighting with the Arabs started, David Ben-Gurion sent her, dressed up in disguise as an Arab, on a secret mission, to plead with King Abdullah I not to enter into a war against Israel.

He declined.

On May 10, 1948, four days before the official establishment of Israel, Meir traveled to Amman, Jordan, disguised as an Arab woman for a secret meeting with King Abdullah I of Transjordan at which she urged him not to join the other Arab countries in attacking the Jews. Abdullah asked her not to hurry to proclaim a state. Meir replied: "We've been waiting for 2,000 years. Is that hurrying?"

The war expanded to include Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, and Syria, all against Israel. The result, as we know, is that Israel preserved her independence. Golda was named the Minister of Labor, then the Foreign Minister. Carrying the first Israeli-issued passport, Meir was appointed Israel's ambassador to the Soviet Union.

In 1955, on Ben-Gurion's instructions, she stood for the position of mayor of Tel Aviv. She lost by the two votes of the religious bloc who withheld their support because she was a woman.

Golda Meir gave a speech to the UN in 1962 urging Arabs to agree to full disarmament. Here is part of the introduction:
[audio clip on podcast]

When Golda Meir was 68 years old, even though she wanted to leave the world of politics, she was convinced to stay on as the head of the Mapai party, which she was able to merge with two other parties into the Israel Labor Party. After Prime Minister Levi Eshkol suddenly died in 1969, she put off her retirement again and agreed to serve out the remainder of his term. Then her party won the elections, and she got a further four years as prime minister.

During her time as prime minister, she met with Henry Kissinger, she agreed for “security versus sovereignty,” where Israel would accept that Egypt has all of Sinai, while Egypt would accept Israeli presence in some of the Sinai strategic positions.
At the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team and a German police guard were murdered. Golda Meir then ok'd what is known as Operation Wrath of God, which was an undercover operation carried out by the Mossad, to kill the people responsible for the massacre, who were from the PLO and the Black September.

Now, let’s talk about the lead up to the Yom Kippur War. The Israeli intelligence couldn’t say for sure if an attack was being planned by the surrounding Arab nations, but on Oct 5, 1973, Meir did receive notice that the Syrian forces were massing on the Golan Heights. Her advisers said that they would still have enough time, if needed, to gather the Israeli troops up to fight, but the general feeling in the country was there would not be an attack after the results of the Six-Day War. So although a resolution was passed giving Golda the OK to gather all of the troops together just in case, she didn’t do it early enough.

Soon, it was clear that there would be war. Golda met with Moshe Dayan who was Minister of Defense, and with General David Elazar. Dayan said there would not be war, so to only gather up the air force and two divisions. General Elazar said that Israel should mobilize all of her troops, plus launch a preemptive strike. Golda Meir did not launch a strike but did gather the troops. She was afraid to lose the US backing, which would certainly be lost if Israel was seen to be the first attacker.
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger later made a famous statement, that if Israel had launched a preemptive strike, she would not have received “so much as a nail.”

After the Yom Kippur War, Meir and her party were plagued with questions over the lack of preparation for the war. She resigned in April of 1974, succeeded by Yitzhak Rabin as prime minister. She died at the age of 80 from cancer in 1978.

The women I talk about are our teachers. Our mentors. Our examples of how we can behave today, how we can be strong women, know ourselves, give of ourselves, and make the world a better place. We are making history now! Every day!

So do something great!

Memorable! Make history!!

Thank you to the Jewish Virtual Library, plus other sites I used as resources for today’s show.

You can always see the links to our resources in the show notes, which are on the website at http://www.thestrongwomensclub.com/.

And: please share this podcast with three of your friends,

Tell them about it, show them how to subscribe and listen.

Thank you!!

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/golda-meir
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golda_Meir
http://www.biography.com/people/golda-meir-9404859#synopsis

Feb 22, 2017

We are continuing with the second half of the 15 Traits of Unabashedly Successful Women!

Remember, you can find the original post, written by me, for Success.com, on the website SUCCESS.com.

You can also just keep listening here, and see if you agree with these points or if you don’t agree with them, or if you’d like to add something….
If you would like to comment, you can on the Facebook page of the Strong Women’s Club.

You can also, which would be extremely kind and thoughtful of you, go over to iTunes and leave a little rating and review.

Just press pause, leave a review of one quick sentence on iTunes then come back here and hear why you, too, are a successful woman, and will be and can be a successful woman!!

I’ll wait……

You’re back ---- ha ha ha-----

Ok, let’s jump in where we left off last week.

#8 Successful women remain grateful:
This means that they, we, aren’t afraid to give credit where credit is due. They don’t take things for granted, such as their current position. They are aware of the hard work it has taken to get there, and they’re grateful for their success. And thank you to all the people who’ve helped along the way!

#9: Unabashedly successful women work hard and persistently:
Nobody gets to where they are, if they’re successful, without working hard. Including Tim Ferriss and his four -hour work week, which of course is not four hours, Tim is the first to say it. This sounds obvious, but it’s worth a mention. Doing well takes hard work. Again and again and again. As we say in our house: No Shit, Sherlock. But still.

#10: They don’t sweat the small stuff:
Successful people are good at separating the valuable from the worthless. The wheat from the chaff. They know how to pick their battles.

I recently heard the most wonderful and inspiring Ruth Bader Ginsburg on a podcast called What It Takes, where she says the best advice she ever received was from her future mother in law, before her marriage to Marty. And it was: occasionally, it’s a good idea, to be deaf.

That’s true in a marriage. It’s true at work. It’s true in all relationships.

So don’t sweat the small stuff. Be deaf to it. Move on.

#11 They choose their battles wisely:
This is a direct continuation of the previous point.
Hot shot successful women don’t make a big deal over every little thing.
But, if there’s a real problem, you can be sure it will be swiftly taken care of.

#12. They do what they believe in:
So this is a really important point. It’s crucial. I mean, how can you keep up doing all that hard work, be persistent, known what’s important and what isn’t, if you don’t believe in what you’re doing. You can’t. Plain and simple. You must have a purpose to your work. You must have a meaning. There has to be substance and values behind your work. This is the fuel. This enables us to keep going when it’s hard. And it will be hard.

#13 They have confidence!
Ta DA!!! Yes!!! Successful women believe in themselves!! And it is beautiful!!!! The most beautiful thing is confidence!!

#14 Unabashedly successful women have a vision for the future:
Successful women see a new and better world in the future and work towards achieving those changes.
They are in it for the long haul.

#15!!! They feel successful, but never done!
There’s always more, always better, always further to reach. These women are seemingly tireless, ultimately devoted and constantly curious!


So, ladies, nobody is superwoman. We are all made of flesh and blood.
However, if you want to be super-successful, take into account these points, see which of them you have got under control, which could use a little work, and which others you’d add to the list!

This was part two of our success series. Who knows, maybe there will be part three.
Let me know! If you like it, then there will be!

Please leave a rating and review. Somebody told me that if you don’t ask, people won’t know, so I’m asking: Please share this podcast with your friends. I mean properly share it: take their phones, show them where to subscribe from. You can subscribe on iTunes, directly from my website, on Google Play if you’re on Android, or on Stitcher… Plenty of places. So help them get some great free content right on their phones, and help me grow the program. So that’s three friends you can share it with this week. Now even. Do it!

Thanks everybody for listening, ciao for now, and l’hitraot!!

Feb 21, 2017

Today’s show is about Rabbi Regina Jonas.

Try to imagine being the first person in the world to do something.

Anything. What would that be?

The reason why I ask you to try and find a place in your mind that puts you in front of everybody else and says, everybody else, in the world, is wrong, and I am right!!

That includes not only the people I don’t know, on the other side of the world, that

I’ve never met, don’t necessarily respect, but even the people that I respect the most.
Even my mother, even my father. They’re wrong too, and I am right.

The first female rabbi in the world was Rabbi Regina Jonas from Berlin, Germany.

This story is interesting on a few different levels.

One is what I’m talking about now.

Regina was a teacher, and then she went on to study at the Academy for the Science of Judaism. She graduated, and her position then was an Academic Teacher of Religion.

Not a rabbi, but that’s not what she wanted. Regina, our heroine! Wanted to be a rabbi.

So she went ahead and wrote a thesis, which is a requirement if you want to be ordained.

The subject of her thesis was: “Can a Woman be a Rabbi According to Halachic Sources?”
Her conclusion, based on biblical, Talmudic, and rabbinical sources was: Yes, and therefore, she should have been ordained!!

Clever, but not enough.

The professors there refused to ordain her.

Regina then applied to Rabbi Leo Baeck, the spiritual leader of the German Jewry at the time, who was her teacher also.

He refused.

But our Regina Jonas was persistent! Not taking no for an answer!

A more liberal rabbi, Max Dienemann, in Offenbach, who was the head of the Liberal Rabbis Association ordained Regina Jonas on December 27, 1935!! YOOHOO!!!

The next part of Regina’s story is very sad.

Of course, Germany in the 1930’s was the rise of the Third Reich.

Many Rabbis of Germany fled, left, which enabled Regina, funnily enough, to finally be able to have her congregation, because up to that point, she didn’t.

But not for long.

She was forced to a labor factory, then in 1942 arrested and deported to Theresienstadt.

In the concentration camp, she continued her rabbinical work.

She was there for two years before being deported to Auschwitz, and murdered in December of 1944 at the age of 42 years old.

How do we know about her story?

We didn’t!

It was widely thought that the first ordained female rabbi was Sally Jane Priesand from the US in 1972.

After the fall of the Berlin wall, Regina Jonas’s files were found in an obscure archive in East Berlin. She had left there a few of her papers, two photographs of herself.

That’s it.

A short documentary film was made to record the trip to Germany to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Regina Jonas’s death.

Gail Reimer directed it, it’s called “In The Footsteps of Regina Jonas.”

Here’s a short clip from the ceremony at Theresienstadt, during that commemoration trip.

Thank you to The Jewish Women’s Archive which you can find at JWA.org. And to the Yad Vashem website. And to HaGalil.com

Music Credits:
Deliberate Thought by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/?keywords=deliberate+thought
Artist: http://incompetech.com/

Sunday's Child by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license
Artist: http://audionautix.com/

B - Somber Ballads by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license
Artist: http://incompetech.com/

Feb 15, 2017

Hi everybody, I’m Edie Berg, thank you so much for joining me today!
Today’s episode is #84 of the longer version podcast, and next week’s episode is #85 -- amazing how it works that way, hey?
So for these two episodes, I’ll be doing solo episodes, and let’s see how we go.

A few reasons for this:

1. I like doing them! It’s fun just to talk into the mic: it’s kind of freeing for me!

2. I don’t have to worry about having a guest. So this is also true for the quickie history podcasts, the #SWC’s, that I don’t have a live guest whom I ask questions. In the quickie podcast I talk about a strong Jewish woman in history, and it’s only about 5 minutes long.
So even if you hate history, you can probably swallow these podcasts, plus I try to make them interesting with sound bites from the past, which are really fun to hear.

3. I feel the need to start talking about issues that I’m thinking about, and start teaching! So you probably know that I’m working on a big leadership conference that I’m producing, coming up at the end of March. It’s a ton of work. In that conference we’ll concentrate on leadership, gender equality, entrepreneurial skills, and Jewish daily life. So I figure it’s a good idea to start teaching some of those, or all of those, topics here too.

So today, I’m taking kind of a cool short cut. Cool for me, that is.
Last summer, or rather, for the whole second half of last year, I decided it was important to write for large online publications. I still think that’s true, and I’ll be going back to that more once the summit is over for this time. One of the article I wrote was for Success.com, and it has been shared on Facebook over 49,000 times which really is a lot of times!! So although I find that rather surprising, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share the article here.

Now the article is a listicle, which is an article based around a list, duh. I used that format, not because I particularly love it, but because Success.com particularly loves it!

The title of the article is “15 Traits of Unabashedly Successful Women.” I’m going to talk about all 15 traits that I wrote, but not all today.
I’ll do half today, and half next week, so it won’t be too much for you, or for me, all in one episode! So let’s get going!!
I learned from interviewing super-successful women each week for well over a year, and that’s where I gathered this info from. It isn’t a scientific research article. More things that I’ve learned, and now I’m passing them on to you, my lovely listeners, whom I appreciate so much!!


Number one: Unabashedly successful women play to their strengths!
So before you can play to your strengths, you have to know yourself pretty well, or really well, know and accept that you aren’t good at everything, but you are really great at some things. Do those, and delegate the rest! For example: you love to talk on podcasts, but you don’t love the social media aspect of running an online business? Get somebody else to do it! They’ll thank you for it, they’ll do it a lot faster than you, and certainly better than you. Plus, you’ll have more time freed up from not doing what you don’t love to dedicate to other tasks that need to be addressed. So that was successful women play to their strengths.

Number two: They have ambition.
These women do not dream about being the best in their section or in their department. Their eyes are set on being the best in the state or country, at least. Most want to change the world! So think big, then think bigger! Am I teaching leadership? NO! I’m building a movement of career-minded women who want to change the world for themselves and for the following generations!

Number three: They stay positive.
Successful women, actually, successful people, which will include men, even though I tend to talk about the standpoint of the woman, because that’s what I understand best; successful women know how to deal with disappointment in a way that keeps them from getting down and staying down. They know the future will be bright for them. And they know it from inside themselves, not needing constant encouragement from outside sources. So get it into your head, and believe it, keep it there, that you will be a success! You already are a success! And tomorrow will be even greater, even brighter!

Number four: They’re organized.
Ok, so not every person is born organized. But the successful ones behave this way: when I approach them to do the podcast, they say yes or no, but they answer quickly. If it’s a yes, then they check their calendars, book a date, then do the interview. Not a lot of reschedules, no extra emails. They decide what they want to do, when they want to do it, and then they just do it. Simple and organized. No big deal.

Number five trait of unabashedly successful women: They’re constantly learning.
These women do not stay static. They are continuously improving themselves, use mentors and coaches to accelerate their improvement. This is important, as are all the other traits on this list. But you not only need to keep up with the game, you need to get ahead of it, and you need to even invent it. But if you stay on the same level, then you really aren’t. You really are going backwards. And backwards is not a good thing. At every stage of your career, every stage of your life, be sure to be a constant learner. Otherwise, life is just too damn boring. That’s a known fact :)

Number six! (I kind of feel like I’m emceeing the Price is Right, or Let’s make a Deal, which would be kind of cool….) So number six is that they have a strong support system. Most of the women who are really successful have a very supportive partner or family member. They know that they have somebody to lean on when they need it. Warren Buffet has said that this was his most important business decision of his whole life - choosing who to marry. So, this is not to say, and please don’t get angry with me, and tell me that there are a lot of fabulously successful single people. I know. I do. But that doesn’t mean that who you choose to spend most of your life with isn’t a very important decision, that if you get right, that helps!! It just does! You have to admit that’s true.

Number seven (and the last for today just because that’s how I’ve chosen to split 15 into two): They know that failure and success go together.
You know that. What’s clever is if you expect it, and aren’t afraid of the failure. That takes all of the sting out and that will enable you to readjust, regather quickly, get your ducks in a row, as the girls in my Mastermind like to say, and go for whatever it is again! Stronger now and better now!! So don’t be surprised by failure: Be prepared, think out possible scenarios, worst-case events, be ready! Be bummed when it happens, then move on!

Ok, So those were the first 7 of the 15 traits of unabashedly successful women.
If you want, you can jump ahead to next week, go to Success.com where you can read the whole article. You won’t find it on my site, the stuff you write for large publications like that is all original content, so it’s not something I republished or anything like that. Or you can just wait for next week’s Strong Women’s Club podcast episode, which I hope you do!

Now I have a request for you- actually, it’s a couple of requests:
One, please go to iTunes now, yes right now. Even if you’re on the treadmill, then stop for just a second, turn your run into intervals, and jump on over to iTunes and leave a nice rating and review. Then, while you’re there, please share this episode with three of your friends, who you think might enjoy it! Only three, not the whole PTA, or whatever. Just copy the link right off of the iTunes page there, and paste it onto a WhatsApp group of friends, or onto your FB page, or LinkedIn, or wherever, and share it! That would be really helpful. This podcast has to grow faster.

So I truly appreciate it. Truly. Tag me, if you want, and I’d love to thank you. That’s thanking you for your thank you, but that’s ok. It’s nice to be nice to each other. Have a great week everybody, keep working, keep being strong and getting stronger. Ciao for now! L’Hitraot!

Feb 14, 2017

Hi everybody, I'm Edie Berg. Thank you so much for joining me here today and this is a quick podcast about a strong Jewish woman in history.

Voice 1: Well, now, what is a feminist?

Betty Friedan: Feminist? Well, we all have our definition about it, and I say feminism is pluralism, too, that it takes a different form in a different time in different situations. But my definition of feminism is that it is the movement of women to full equality, to true equality, to have their own voice and their own participation in the mainstream of society and it is an explication and an affirmation of values that come from female experience in every discipline and every profession and every part of society, an affirmation of the principles and values that have so far been limited to female experience by men.

EB: That was Betty Friedan, a strong Jewish woman who is credited with sparking the beginning of the second wave of feminism in the United States. She wrote many books, the first being "The Feminine Mystique." Betty had surveyed her former college classmates for their 15th-year reunion. And after talking to them, she realized that many of these women, even though they had very comfortable conditions, they lived in nice homes and everything, were unhappy as housewives. And she discovered that most of these women wanted more in their lives than taking care of their husbands and their children in their homes. "The Feminine Mystique," that thing, that title, means it was the illusion made by media that showed that women were happy as housewives, or unhappy in their careers as working women. Betty Friedan, in fact, had to experience that same dissatisfaction in her own life. Here's Betty talking about true equality:

BF: True equality, we already have a sense of a more complex definition. And we're not even yet that close to simple economic equality in the job place as well because women are still in this country only 62 cents on the dollar...

EB: In the book, she discusses how the first wave of feminism fought and secured really important women's rights such as education and the right to vote. Betty Friedan is credited with sparking the beginning of the second wave of feminism in the US. In 1966, Betty Friedan cofounded and was elected as the first president of the National Organization for Women, or NOW. The main goal of NOW was to bring women into the mainstream of American society in full, equal partnership with men. Pretty simple. She called for the drastic rethinking of what it means to be feminine. And that is the main idea behind the book and the concept of feminine mystique.

In 1970, Betty Friedan organized the Women's Strike for Equality, which was a huge success, a big march which was a forerunner of the big women's march that we just had in the beginning of 2017. Betty was a very strong supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution, which of course passed congress by a huge landslide.

There's a quote from Betty's memoir, in Life So Far, where she says, "The truth is, that I've always been a bad-tempered bitch. But some people say that I have mellowed some. I don't know." When Betty was asked if she thought she would see, in her lifetime, true equality between the genders, this was her answer:

BF: And I think that in our lifetime, we might see it, but that means that the young women that are saying "I'm not a feminist, but..." have got to start saying "I am a feminist, AND..."

EB: A quote from The Feminine Mystique, is the only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own.

Most of the information for today's episode was taken from an interview from the Public Affairs Roundtable way back in 1985, plus from Wikipedia of Betty Friedan and the Feminine Mystique, and from the Jewish Women's Archive as usual.

Thank you for joining me today, if you like these podcasts please jump onto iTunes and leave a rating and review. It's an awesome way to say thank you and it doesn't take much time, plus if you listen to the podcast make sure that you subscribe. And also share it with three other people that you think would also love it. Maybe your daughter or your friend from the gym who's running next to you on that treadmill, or maybe a friend at work who's complaining about the long commute or somebody who says that she's in the car all the time, driving kids around. Share it with them, that would be a great gift to me and make a big difference to the podcast as well. I really, really appreciate it. Have a wonderful week, the next podcast this week is Starting a Success Series, so stay tuned for that. Ciao for now and L’hitraot!

 

Feb 8, 2017

Today’s podcast gives you a small, behind the scenes look into podcasting, my personal history, plus I interview Bex Kvasnik and she interviews me!

Bex Kvasnik has two podcasts of her own about Jewish issues: Not So Kosher and Jewbalations.

You can find both of these podcasts, plus others she has on her network, on her website which is www.Backroomstewdios.com

Let me know what you think of this format. Do you like it?

Then please leave a review on iTunes, which will help us get found by other listeners.
It’s a great way to say thank you, and is appreciated.

 

Feb 7, 2017

Today I’ll tell you about a Jewish woman who did NOT get the Nobel prize.
But first, I’ll tell you who the Jewish women are that DID get the Nobel prize.
There are eight amazing women on this list:

1947 Gerty Cori - Physiology or Medicine-USA-: For their discovery of the source of the catalytic conversion of glycogen

1966 Nelly Sachs - Literature - Sweden-: for her outstanding lyrical and dramatic writing, which interprets Israel’s destiny with touching strength

1977 Rosalyn Sussman Yalow - Physiology or Medicine-USA-: For the development of radioimmunoassays of peptide hormones

1986 Rita Levi-Montalcini (together with Stanley Cohen) Physiology or Medicine - Italy-: For their discoveries of growth factors

1988 Gertrude Elion: Physiology or Medicine-USA-: for their discoveries of important principles for drug treatment

1992- Nadine Gordimer - Literature-South Africa: - who through her magnificent epic writing has, in the words of Alfred Nobel, been of very great benefit to humanity

2004 Elfriede Jelinek - Literature-Austria: for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity fo society’s cliches and their subjugating power

2009 Ada Yonath - Chemistry-Israel- for the studies of the structure and function of the ribosome


So, I know the suspense is killing you, and you are dying to know who is the woman who did NOT get a Nobel Prize. So other than you and me who are also women who might be Jewish and didn’t get a Nobel prize, (unless Ada Yonath or Elfriede Jelinek are listening, then this doesn’t apply to you).

Another Jewish woman who did not get the Nobel Prize, though she deserved it, and her lab partner did get it and didn’t credit her for their discoveries, is:

Lise Meitner

Lise Meitner was a physicist, born 1878, died in 1968, just shy of her 90th birthday.
Lise was born to a Jewish family in Vienna, and they were secular Jews. Her dad, once he noticed that Lise was adept at math, he got her a private tutor, insisting that his daughters get the same education as his sons! And in fact, three of her sisters also got their Ph.D.'s Go dad!!

She wasn’t allowed into the high school, which was only for boys, so she concentrated on getting straight into university, which she did, being the first woman to be admitted to the University of Vienna’s physics.

There she met Max Planck, the father of the quantum theory, who invited Lise to Berlin for her post-doc.

Although for five years she wasn’t allowed to go into the lab, because she was a woman, and women’s hair was a danger because it might catch on fire, so they weren’t allowed into the lab, she worked on research on radioactive processes. She wasn’t paid for her work there.

The same year, 1907, that she moved to work in Berlin, she was introduced to Otto Hahn, a chemist her age, who became her research partner on radioactivity for 30 years, in experimental work discovering new radioactive elements and unraveling their complex physical properties. Lise worked on the physics, Otto on the chemistry. But only Otto was officially allowed to work and be paid because Lise was a woman.

Max Planck also invited another scientist to Berlin that year, and that was Albert Einstein, and the three of them, and a few others hung out together a lot during that time.

Lise Meitner published papers of her research then, alone, and together with Otto Hahn. They showed that radioactive recoil could be used to produce elements with very high purity.
Around that time, in 1908, Lise Meitner converted to Christianity, as did two of her sisters.

With the rise of the Third Reich, in 1933 Jewish Academics were stripped of their professorial positions. After the Anschluss, the international physics community secretly planned Lise’s escape from Berlin. She was helped to the Netherlands, then to Sweden via Denmark.

In their letters from that time, between Otto and Lise, Otto asks Lise about a strange bursting that happened to uranium, which formed barium, as a result of his continuing Lise’s work. He wrote a paper, excluding Lise from the research, her research, describing the bursting.

She then worked on the question, figured out that if mass cannot be lost, then the nucleus would be split in two, and would yield tremendous energy.

She then wrote a series of articles on the nuclear fission of uranium. She, together with her nephew, Otto Frisch, were the first ever to use the term fission, describing how a nucleus could be split and transformed into another element.

Lise Meitner disassociated herself from any use of this theoretical knowledge to produce weapons of mass destruction.

It was creative; it was intellectual excellence.

Hahn published Meitner’s work without ever mentioning her, and in 1944 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work.

Further along in her life, Lise Meitner received many prizes and honorary Ph.D.’s, and after her death, she even had an element named after her: meitnerium, but she never got a Nobel Prize.

Thank you to The Curious Wavefunction, Brainpickings.org, and the Jewish Women’s Archive for most of the information in today’s podcast.

Thank you for joining me today for this quick podcast about strong Jewish women in history.

Have a great week everybody,

Ciao for now,
L’hitraot

Feb 1, 2017

Rabbi Rachel Adler tells us her story about being raised in a reformed household , deciding to become Orthodox, learning Jewish texts and becoming frustrated, and how she became a groundbreaking Jewish theologian, and ultimately received the National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Thought for her book Engendering Judaism.
Dr. Adler has written many important papers about Judaism and feminism, and continues to do so.

She is the David Ellenson Professor of Modern Jewish Thought and Feminist Studies at Hebrew Union College of Los Angeles

Her essay "The Jew Who Wasn't There," first published in 1971, is generally considered the first piece of Jewish feminist theology.

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