Discipline: Literature

E. M. Broner

Discipline: Literature
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell fellowships: 1974, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1986, 1990

Esther M. Broner, best known as E.M. Broner, (1927–2011) was a Jewish American feminist author. Broner attended Wayne State University and received a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in creative writing. She received her Ph.D. in religion at what is now the Union Institute & University. Broner returned to Wayne State to teach English. She also taught at Sarah Lawrence College. She was married to Robert Broner, a printmaker and painter, and they had four children together. In 1976, the first women-only Passover seder was held in Broner's New York City apartment and led by her, with 13 women attending, including Gloria Steinem, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, and Phyllis Chesler. Broner and Naomi Nimrod created a women's haggadah for use at this seder. In the spring of 1976 Broner published this “Women’s Haggadah” in Ms. magazine, later publishing it as a book in 1994; this haggadah is meant to include women where only men had been mentioned in traditional haggadahs, and it features the Wise Women, the Four Daughters, the Women’s Questions, the Women’s Plagues, and a women-centric “Dayenu.” The original Women's Seder has been held with the Women's Haggadah every year since 1976, and women-only seders are now held by some congregations as well. Broner led the original Women's Seder for 30 years. She was proclaimed a Wonder Woman by the Wonder Woman Foundation for her work in feminist Jewish ritual. Her papers are held at Brandeis University.


MacDowell Studios: Mansfield

E. M. Broner worked in the MacDowell Studios: Mansfield studio.

The Helen Coolidge Mansfield Studio was donated by graduates of the Mansfield War Service Classes for Reconstruction Aides. Helen Mansfield helped found the New York MacDowell Club. The small, shingled frame structure with stone foundation was originally fronted on the west side by a neat white picket fence and gate, a garden, and a stone pathway…

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