Review: She's a Mensch! Ten Amazing Jewish Women


She's a Mensch! Ten Amazing Jewish Women

by Anne Dublin, illustrated by Ashley Wong

Second Story Press, 2023

Category: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Judith S. Greenblatt

Buy at

Anne Dublin, author of a biography of swimmer Bobbie Rosenfeld, among many other titles, has brought us 6 to 9 page biographies of 10 outstanding Jewish women. Part of the “Do you Know My Name” series for middle-grade readers, the book follows the series criteria for inclusion. The women are thus from around the world, born in the 20th century, and are or were activists. And, with the exception of one woman, I did not know any of their names. This is in contrast to another recent book about menschy women by Rachelle Burk and Alana Barouch, aimed at 5 to 10  year old readers, which includes household names such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Judy Blume, as well as unknowns like judo champion Rusty Kanokogi.

Dublin is an experienced writer for this age group, and the vocabulary and format are perfectly suited to the intended audience. The sketches are all very accessible. Each biography is headed by a sketch of the woman being discussed and a brief paragraph designed to pique the reader’s interest. The sources listed have been curated by the author to include only material suitable to the age group. Sources include books, websites, articles, interviews, DVD’s, and videos, as available for each women.
It’s a delight to meet a diverse group of essentially unknown Jewish women. They are from around the world, they range from being secular to being a rabbi, they differ in color, and although all were born in the 20th century, they made their marks at different ages. They also differ in the career paths they chose, from gymnastics to reporting, to research in genetics. Their commonality is as important as their diversity. They have in common a dedication to the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam, or repairing the world. Each in her own different way is or was an activist, committed to making the world a better place. However, the specific nature of each woman’s activism is as different as their birthplaces. From Ruth First, the South African Jew who fought against apartheid, to Marion Wiesel, the Viennese Jew born in 1931 who was a champion in the fight against racism, each has made an important contribution to making the world safer and more equitable.

Ann Dublin is a very careful researcher, and has done a remarkable job in selection this group of women for her book. While there is scattered information available about each of these women, this book is an excellent way to bring a diverse group of relatively unknown women to the attention of middle-grade readers.

Are you interested in reviewing books for The Sydney Taylor Shmooze? Click here!

Reviewer Judith S. Greenblatt says: I hold a Master of Library Service from Rutgers-The State University, and a Master of Arts in Jewish Studies from Hebrew College, Newton, Ma. I have been Director of Library Services at the Bureau of Jewish Education of Rhode Island, served as Vice President and President of the School, Synagogue and Center Division of AJL. Publications include: 1985-86 Book lists; for young children, for 3rd to 6th graders, for young adults, 100 Plus Books For The Children's Library: A Basic Collection. Weine Classification Scheme for Judaica Libraries. Revised by Judith S. Greenblatt, Chairman. 8th edition. Association of Jewish Libraries, Synagogue, School and Center Division, 1994.