Note on Content:

The articles assembled here represent stories about Bais Yaakov in various publications. 

The newspapers and journals in which these stories appeared represent the wide range of the interwar press, from serious journalism to lowbrow sensationalism, and spanning from the Orthodox to secular (or anti-religious) segments of Polish Jewish society. 

While the Orthodox press ordinarily spoke of Bais Yaakov with enormous enthusiasm and respect, that is less true for the popular daily press, where Bais Yaakov was often taken as an object of curiosity and amusement. 

In at least one case, the 1933 Heyntige nayes story of Sarah Schenirer writing a movie script for Bais Yaakov production, the “report” seems to have been either a fabrication or a transparent joke. 

For a brief description of each newspaper mentioned, see the JPRESS website. We thank JPRESS for permission to present material from their searchable digitization of the historical Jewish press.

January 1, 1932

January 1, 1932

The Jewish Woman in Her Holy Duties: Essay by Sarah Schenirer on Jewish women's sacred duties ...
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February 5, 1932

February 5, 1932

A Grand Tu Beshvat Celebration by the Ezra Group and Bais Yaakov: Description of a Tu Beshvat celebration put on by the Ezra group along with Bais Yaakov in Kalisz, with many speeches (some in Polish) and singing and dancing until late in the night ...
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July 31, 1932

July 31, 1932

Agudah Boycotts Jewish Workers: Article (critical of the Agudah) about the initiative to build a new Bais Yaakov in Praga, and the hiring of non-Jewish rather than Jewish workers ...
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February 5, 1933

February 5, 1933

The Curious Case of the Woman Who Founded Girls' Heders all over Poland: A description of Sarah Schenirer as a woman educated in both secular subjects and languages and Torah and Talmud--a "Talmid Chochom" who prays in a synagogue every day and also prays the afternoon and evening prayers. The Agudah is sending her to Palestine to continue her work there, but the writer is skeptical that she might be successful ...
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February 16, 1933

February 16, 1933

Mrs. Felix M. Warburg Appeals for Support of Beth Jacob Schools; Gives $500: Report on the honoring of Mrs. Zangwill at a reception of the American Friends of Beth Jacob. Note the discussion of rescue from the international white slave trade ...
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February 22, 1933

February 22, 1933

The Agudah to Make Its Own Films: After Bais Yaakov students at the Warsaw BY responded that the most famous woman in the world was Greta Garbo or Marlene Dietrich (the Agudah leaders were hoping they would say Sarah Schenirer), the Agudah decided to make films of their own, so the girls wouldn't go to the secular movie theater. Sarah Schenirer wrote a script, which was submitted for approval to the Agudah. (This story is almost certainly entirely fictional; it describes Sarah Schenirer as having sailed to Palestine--something she never did.) ...
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August 18, 1933

August 18, 1933

Bais Yaakov School's Summer Colony in Zaklików See full article here. Read more about this article on Reading the Archive ...
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December 28, 1933

December 28, 1933

A Great Uprising in the Fortress of Agudah: An article in the Warsaw daily Haynt about the argument between Shmuel Nadler and the Agudah leadership over male theatrical performances ...
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January 15, 1934

January 15, 1934

In the Camp of Agudath Israel: The Agudah meeting in Basel has reached a decision to send people to Israel to oversee Bais Yaakov and the Heders ...
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March 11, 1934

March 11, 1934

Hasidic Revolt in Błonie: The article describes a Bais Yaakov play, "Akeidas Yitzkhok", in which boys dressed up as girls in order to sneak into the theater (where girls playing the roles of Abraham and Isaac were dressed as boys) ...
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