She’s a Mensch!: Ten Amazing Jewish Women

Second Story. (Do You Know My Name?: Bk. 3). May 2023. 112p. pap. $22.95. ISBN 9781772603200.
Gr 5 Up–Readers are introduced to 10 noteworthy Jewish women whose life stories are not widely known. These diverse trailblazers of Ashkenazi and Sephardic descent include France’s first female rabbi and Canada’s first Jewish female Supreme Court justice. The oldest “mensch,” 102-year-old Agnes Keleti, narrowly escaped Hungary during the Holocaust and went on to become an Olympic medal–winning gymnast. The youngest, American-born Jessica Posner Odede, born in 1986, worked in a shantytown in Kenya as a college student and now directs an international NGO supporting girl empowerment in Africa and Asia. One of the most interesting chapters profiles Yavilah McCoy, a Jewish woman of color. A fourth generation Orthodox Jew with a family history of social activism, McCoy has broken down stereotypes about what it means to be a Jewish woman. Each section draws readers in with a brief but dramatic vignette focused on a significant life event. The account that follows has a broader, more encyclopedic range covering family history, challenges, and achievements that include awards and publications. Given the level of detail, readers are likely to skim rather than read the book cover to cover. Back matter includes a helpful glossary of terms and source notes.
VERDICT A well-organized, informative collective biography recommended for general interest and research projects.

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