Rebecca Rosenthal Judah

Historical marker #2221 in Louisville recognizes the contributions of Rebecca Rosenthal Judah, who was a leader of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), and vice president and treasurer of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association (KERA).

Judah founded the Louisville branch of the NCJW in 1895. In its early years, the organization pioneered many community social services, including Louisville's first summer kindergarten in 1897. It is the oldest and largest women's organization in Jefferson County and its nearly 1,000 volunteers continue to help women, children, and families through service, advocacy, and education.

The NCJW, and Judah in particular, were very active in the child labor reform movement. In 1906, Rebecca and a group of concerned citizens formed the Kentucky Child Labor Association with headquarters in Louisville. Rebecca was elected treasurer. Their mission was to promote the welfare of society with respect to the employment of children, to investigate facts concerning child-labor, to educate the public, and to protect children by promoting suitable legislation.

As treasurer of KERA, Judah worked closely on fundraising efforts with fellow suffragist Madeline McDowell Breckinridge. As Breckinridge's health weakened, she had less capacity to raise funds but continued to advise Judah. Breckinridge employed a fundraising technique by which she would conditionally promise a set amount of money and provide the names of others who would likely match her donation. Judah believed that Breckinridge's conditional donations were unfair and that many of Breckinridge's fundraising suggestions were "impossible."

Rebecca Rosenthal Judah was born January 13, 1866, and died in 1932. She is buried in the Temple Cemetery in Louisville.

Images

Marstall Furniture Factory

Marstall Furniture Factory

This photograph shows a number of children employed by Marstall Furniture Factory in Henderson, Kentucky. Rebecca Judah worked diligently to reform child labor laws. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Child Labor Protestos

Child Labor Protestos

Child labor laws were a popular target for reformers. These protesters marched in 1909 in New York City. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. View File Details Page

Child Laborer

Child Laborer

In the early 20th century, children as young as five worked wage earning jobs. Reformers such as Rebecca Rosenthal Judah fought for enforced child labor laws. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. View File Details Page

Madeline McDowell Breckinridge

Madeline McDowell Breckinridge

This photograph shows Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, who along with Rebecca Rosenthal Judah, championed many social causes in Kentucky. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Amy Roe, “Rebecca Rosenthal Judah,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed July 24, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/341.

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