The Bais Yaakov Project
The Bais Yaakov movement was begun by Sarah Schenirer in 1917 Krakow to address the lack of spiritual guidance for girls and women. In 2019, Naomi Seidman’s book, Sarah Schenirer and the Bais Yaakov Movement: A Revolution in the Name of Tradition, will be published. The Bais Yaakov Project is an outgrowth of that book.
The website’s purpose is to create an archive of materials related to the Bais Yaakov movement, from its very beginning in Krakow through today. It will feature some of Sarah Schenirer’s personal documents, Bais Yaakov school documents, images from Bais Yaakov schools and activities, songbooks and song recordings, textbooks, yearbooks, etc. It will also include a map of Krakow with noteworthy locations, background information from Seidman’s book, and links to other resources.
I became involved in this project because of my background, having attended Bais Yaakov schools myself, in addition to my academic interest in ideologies of education and my dissertation on Haredi Jewish children’s literature of the late twentieth century. My hope is that this website will facilitate further scholarship on the Bais Yaakov movement. Although many popular accounts exist of Sarah Schenirer’s life and of the Bais Yaakov movement, very little academic work has been done on this institution which is vital to understanding the development of today’s Jewish communities across the world.
We are looking for materials that individuals may have from their own time in Bais Yaakov schools or from their mothers, aunts, grandmothers, etc. If you have any material that might be useful to this project, please contact Dainy Bernstein at firstname.lastname@example.org
The website launch is planned for March 24, 2019, coinciding with a book talk and concert at the Center for Jewish History. Some pages are available for public viewing now at this link.