Henrietta Szold was a passionate and accomplished Jewish woman, who became widely known for founding Hadassah, the largest Jewish organization in American history. From a young age, her brilliance was evident, as she became the first woman to study in the Jewish Theological Seminary. In 1888, she took part in founding the Jewish Publication Society of America and worked there for over 2 decades. Meanwhile, Szold became a member of a small women's gathering called the Hadassah study circle. In 1912, Szold officially founded Hadassah and became president.
The daughter of Sephardic Jews whose ancestors settled in New York in the colonial period, Emma Lazarus was a writer and a scholar of literature and languages. Even before Zionism became a cohesive movement, Lazarus's poetry and essays protested the rise of antisemitism and called on Jews to create a homeland in Palestine. "Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" are two famous lines of her sonnet, "The New Colossus," which was affixed to the Statue of Liberty in 1903. Lazarus was at the peak of her career when she died of cancer in 1887, at the age of 38.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Sandy Koufax signed on as a pitcher with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954. In 1961, Koufax won 18 games and struck out 269 batters, a league record. Koufax was the first major leaguer to pitch four no-hitters, including a perfect game. He was named the National League's Most Valuable player in 1963 and became the first player to earn three Cy Young awards. At age 36 and 20 days, he became the youngest player ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Koufax chose not to pitch in the 1965 World Series when a game fell on Yom Kippur.
An outspoken champion of feminist causes, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the first Jewish woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. She was also the first woman to make both the Harvard and Columbia law reviews. Prior to serving on the Court, Ginsburg distinguished herself as a professor of law at Rutgers Law School in Newark, as co-founder of the Women's Rights Law Reporter, and as director of the Women's Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. She served on the U.S. Court of Appeals from 1980 until her appointment in 1993 to the U.S. Supreme Court, where she has been a judicious and eloquent voice in support of civil liberties.
A German-born physicist who developed the special and general theories of relativity, Einstein won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921 for his explanation of the photoelectric effect. Einstein, who became a U.S. citizen in 1940, is generally considered the most influential physicist of the 20th century. He also became well-known for his devotion to peace and social justice issues.
Born in Bavaria, Levi Strauss immigrated to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush and opened a wholesale dry goods business, Levi Strauss & Co. In 1873, Levi and the Reno, Nevada tailor Jacob Davis created the first blue jeans when they received a U.S. patent to make men's denim work pants with copper rivets. With this patent, they began to manufacture blue jeans, known today as the Levi's® brand. Levi Strauss & Co. is still privately held by descendants of the Strauss family and is one of the world's largest brand-name apparel marketers, with sales in more than 110 countries.