About the Author

Dr. Melissa R. Klapper is Professor of History at Rowan University, where she teaches American, Jewish, and women's history. She received her BA from Goucher College and her PhD from Rutgers University. She is the author of Jewish Girls Coming of Age in America, 1860-1920 (NYU Press, 2005) and Small Strangers: The Experiences of Immigrant Children in the United States, 1880-1925 (Ivan R. Dee, Publisher, 2007).

20th-century Jewish Immigration

National Council of Jewish Women (1926)


The National Council of Jewish Women was founded in 1893 with a primarily religious and educational mission, but, like many Progressive Era women’s organizations, soon turned to a variety of reform activities. The National Council of Jewish Women pioneered a program that sent representatives to the docks to make sure that Jewish women immigrating alone had some place safe to go. Razovsky headed the organization’s immigrant aid efforts and lobbied for the Cable Act of 1922, which guaranteed independent female citizenship (though only to women married to men eligible for naturalization).

Do You Wish to Become a Useful Citizen? Many organizations — public and private — are eager to help you prepare yourself for citizenship. The Public Schools, the settlements and neighborhood houses near your home, all have day and evening classes to which they invite you. Go to them. If you have little children whom you cannot leave at home, take them with you; they will be cared for in kindergartens while you attend your class. The National Council of Jewish Women have organized English and citizenship classes in every city in this country for women who wish to become citizens. If you wish information about these classes, write to: Department of Immigrant Aide, The National Council of Jewish Women, 799 Broadway, New York City This Department will be glad to refer you to the proper classes in your city. Attend these classes regularly, even if it means that you must work harder when you come home. You will feel repaid. You will find a new world opened to you. You will realize you are a human begin, not merely a kitchen drudge ߜ always scrubbing and washing and cooking, and never having any outside interests or pleasures. You will be proud of yourself when you can read your children's school books and reports. And your husband and children will be proud of you too!


Cecelia Razovsky, Vos Yede Froy Darf Visen Veger Birgershaft: What Every Woman Should Know About Citizenship. National Council of Jewish Women, 1926. Booklet.