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Which Jewish Woman Should Grace the New $10 Bill?

The U.S. Treasury has announced a redesign of the sawbuck

Gabriela Geselowitz
June 25, 2015
Tablet Magazine
Tablet Magazine
Tablet Magazine
Tablet Magazine

As you might have heard, the U.S. Treasury is going to put a woman on the $10 bill beginning in 2020. The timing coincides with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted all American women the right to vote.

The question is: Which woman will be chosen? And hey, why not a Jewish woman?

While Hamilton himself wasn’t Jewish, he had strong personal Jewish connections, so it would make sense for him to share his bill with a Member-ess of the Tribe.
(Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew has stated that Hamilton will remain on the $10 in some capacity, so picture the Founding Father in the background cheering on one of these (dead) women, serving as the ultimate hype man. Besides, Lew is Jewish too, so maybe he can pull some strings.)

And so, without further ago, here’s our list of the 6 Jewish women we’d like to see on the $100 bill:

1. Betty Friedan
If the new $10 bill is a celebration of feminism, then why not go with the mother of its second wave? Friedan’s other causes included anti-war advocacy and Zionism. Friedan was also instrumental in the Women’s Strike for Equality, a nationwide demonstration for women’s rights that took place on August 26, 1970, which is the 50th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. This means that the protest will be celebrating its 50th anniversary when the $10 bill change is made.

2. Estée Lauder
If Hamilton helped shape the economic policies by which the U.S. works today, Lauder is a fantastic example of someone who showed how individuals can use the system to succeed. She also used her gains to pursue philanthropy, and even received a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom for her achievements.

She would also bring a grace and style to the bill that would make you think twice before you traded it in for about four big bags of Doritos.

3. Bella Abzug
Speaking of style, Bella Abzug’s signature hats would look great next to Hamilton’s perfect coif (likely a powdered wig). But besides, “Battling Bella” was, like Friedan, a key figure in the feminist movement. She also used her elected office in the House of Representatives to be an early advocate for gay rights, fought the infamous “Zionism is Racism” U.N. resolution, and was an all-around powerhouse. And, if it’s good enough for the Beastie Boys, it’s good enough for America.

4. Emma Lazarus
As the woman whose poetic words grace the Statue of Liberty, why not show the world her face? Historically, she’s admittedly a bit of a one-trick pony, but in her sadly short life (she died at the age of 38), Lazarus did more than just write The New Colossus. She wrote other poetry, too, and was also a community organizer, helping new immigrants with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society; she also helped to create the Hebrew Technical Institute. She was also proto-Zionist who she died before Herzl even started the modern movement.

5. Rose Schneiderman
Since Hamilton himself was an immigrant, surely his $10 partner can be one, too. Sure, it’s a little subversive to have someone who fought for the right to safely earn a living wage on currency, but by the same token, it’s the least she deserves. Everyone has heard the phrase “bread and roses,” but many don’t know that its creator was a Jewish woman who stood at only 4’9″ and practically spat fire. She also would represent many women of her generation, including activists like Fannia Cohn and Clara Lemlich who forever changed American labor practices.

In addition to her tireless labor activism, Schneiderman was also an advocate for women’s suffrage, once again a potential nod to the centennial. And if being a Jewish woman isn’t enough of a minority, Schneiderman would also represent the LGBT community, as someone who lived with a female partner much of her life.

6. Emma Goldman
Well, there’s subversive, and then there’s Emma Goldman. The anarchist writer, speaker, agitator and all-around rebel spent much of her life protesting one thing or another in the U.S. that she felt was unjust.

She was arrested about 16 times total, for everything from “incitement to riot” to “being a suspicious person.”

There are admittedly a couple of whopping problems with this idea, including that a) The United States deported her, and b) she would roll over in her grave if she were actually put on American currency. But let’s get fanciful. Goldman as a radical is still influential today, and she was ahead of her time (putting it mildly) in politics, social issues, sexual expression, gender equality, you name it. She’s a symbol of dissent, and it takes a great country to laud a thorn in its side.

As they say, “Only in America.”

Gabriela Geselowitz is a writer and the former editor of