Elma Ehrlich was born to Jewish-American family in Chicago, Illinois. At 18, she started working as a teacher in rural schools in Iowa and Illinois for two years. After attending the University of Chicago in 1908-1909 and Radcliffe College in 1911-1912, studying English and drama, she became a Jewish education teacher. She worked as the director of a junior drama league in Chicago and as director of entertainment for the Bureau of Jewish Education in New York City. In 1916, she married Lee J. Levinger, who later became a rabbi at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Menlo Park, California, and had three children. Elma Ehrlich Levinger and her husband co-wrote The Story of the Jew for Young People (1929). As editor of the magazine Jewish Child and as the author of more than 30 books for children and adults, Elma Levinger sought to build a strong cultural identity among American Jewish youth in the process of assimilation. Her series of tales In Many Lands (1923), emphasizes the role of different traditions in connecting Jews worldwide. Elma Ehrlich Levinger served as a member of the National Council of Jewish Women’s National Committee on Religion, the National Council for Prevention of War, the Birth Control League, and Hadassah.