History is patched together by people and built on the foundation of previous generations. The modern, thriving, post-Holocaust Jewish society has confounded the doomsayers – that is a familiar truth. And one of its primary components is the success of the Beth Jacob system of education for girls and women. As the story of that phenomenon seen through the eyes of its founders, this book achieves something that was never attempted before, and that will become impossible to do as the years go by.
Daughters of Destiny is composed of interviews with and memoirs of a dozen women who were and are bridges and builders. It tells how they grew up in the cities and shtetls of Europe, and of the families and people who shaped their lives. These are all deeply personal stories, by mature women reaching back to their roots. The stories are warm and revealing. In the person and ideals of such women, the European experience survived the Holocaust and was replanted in Jewish communities after the war. They made the transition from students and daughters to teachers and mothers with grace, skill, and idealism. And in the process, they and their sisters and colleagues became the building blocks of today’s Torah world.
The genesis of this book is symbolic of its message. It was first conceived as a senior project by the 1987 graduating class of Bais Yaakov Academy High School of Flatbush. The girls wanted to reach back to the influences and people that formed them. And as they reached, the project developed a life of its own, for it grew and took on historic significance. Orthodoxy has never properly documented the Bais Yaakov movement’s origins; it preferred to create people and the future rather than write about the past. This book helps fill the void. Perhaps it will inspire others to do the same. Certainly it will inspire its readers.