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Death of author, educator, and Zionist pioneer, Jessie Sampter

November 11, 1938
Jessie Sampter quotation
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Jessie Sampter quotation on Himank BRO sign board in the Nubra Valley, Ladakh, Northern India. Photo courtesy of Malikbek. Learn more about this road sign "On the Map."

Jessie Sampter was an influential Zionist educator, a poet, and a Zionist pioneer. She died at Kibbutz Givat Brenner on November 11, 1938.

Born into a highly assimilated home in New York City, Sampter was influenced by Henrietta Szold, Josephine Lazarus, Mary Antin, Mordecai Kaplan and others to become an ardent advocate of Judaism and Zionism.

Assuming the role of Hadassah's leading educator, she produced manuals and textbooks and organized lectures and classes. She led Hadassah's School of Zionism, training speakers and leaders for both Hadassah and other Zionist organizations. She also wrote poems and short stories throughout her life that emphasized her primary concerns: pacifism, Zionism, and social justice.

Having contracted polio at age thirteen she remained in poor health throughout her life. This did not prevent her from settling in Palestine in 1919 where she helped organize the country's first Jewish Scout camp. Sampter developed a strong commitment to assisting Yemenite Jews, founding classes and clubs especially for Yemenite girls and women who often received no formal education. At the time of her death, she had established a vegetarian convalescent home at Kibbutz Givat Brenner. Henrietta Szold presided at her funeral.

To learn more about Jessie Sampter, visit her Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia.

Source: Jewish Women in America, An Historical Encyclopedia. p. 1198-1100.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "This Week in History - Death of author, educator, and Zionist pioneer, Jessie Sampter." (Viewed on April 21, 2014) <http://jwa.org/thisweek/nov/11/1938/jesse-sampter>.