Best Dressed Yiddish Women Cultural Figures

Diana Clarke

Yiddish women actors, poets, and writers are known for their works. But getting dressed is work too! Especially when you’re a public figure. Below are some of the most fabulously attired women of Yiddish page, stage, and screen:

1. Malka Heifeitz Tussman

Young MHT was not only a master of rigorous poetic forms, but she also looked dashing in intricate embroidery and a flippant hairdo.

Changing with the times and rocking hard earth mama vibes.

2. Ida Maze

The “den mother” of Yiddish Montreal is seen here sporting at least four collars and a very fine hat.

In her later years, Maze cultivated a dapper-casual affect we’ve dubbed the proto-Annie Hall.

3. Malka Lee

The poet, known for her Holocaust writings, ready for a seance.

A Lee impostor (identified by Lee’s granddaughter, inveterate reader Ruth Rappaport) holding a mandolin and draped in fringe. Note her dramatic hair and penetrating gaze.

4. Bessie Tomashefsky

The versatile Yiddish actress at rest under a massive ostrich feather.

Yiddish Theater’s power couple, in their engagement photo. Note Bessie’s wonderfully trim poplin dress (oof, that corset!) and her new husband Boris’ neat lapels.

5. Molly Picon

The actress in a publicity photo, looking skeptical about her chiffon collar and tipped nails.

Picon looking positively radiant in men’s clothing. Check out the shine on those boots!

6. Rokhl Korn

The award-winning poet had grace and style, even in the Canadian snow.

Wearing pearls as naturally as Jackie O, and sporting a steely gaze to rival Clark Gable’s.

7. Bertha Kalich

This star of the American stage passed as a Gibson Girl when she wasn’t dressed as Sappho or Hamlet.

For any occasion, fox fur is just the thing. But how did Kalich manage that voluminous hat?!

View the Best Dressed Male Yiddish Cultural figures here.

Clarke, Diana. “Best Dressed Yiddish Women Cultural Figures.” In geveb, December 2015:
Clarke, Diana. “Best Dressed Yiddish Women Cultural Figures.” In geveb (December 2015): Accessed Feb 04, 2023.


Diana Clarke

Diana Clarke is a former managing editor at In geveb, and a doctoral student in the History Department at the University of Pittsburgh. They research the intersections of Jewish racialization, trauma, and whiteness in rural America, and are especially interested in discourses of assimilation related to sexuality and gender. Diana is also a 2018 Translation Fellow at the Yiddish Book Center, and their writing and translation has appeared in the Village Voice, Dissent, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and World Literature Today .