Nira Bartal

Nira Bartal, Ph.D., R.N., has specialized in the history of nursing in Erez Israel. She graduated from the Hadassah School of Nursing in 1972 and completed a B.A. in Hebrew literature and Bible at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1989 she received a master’s degree in nursing from Tel Aviv University. In 2001 she was awarded a Ph.D. degree by the Hebrew University for a thesis on the training of Jewish nurses in Palestine during the Mandate period, 1918–1948, as this was reflected in the development of the Hadassah School of Nursing in Jerusalem. The thesis, which is being published by the Yad Ben Zvi Institute, also constituted the basis for an essay, co-authored by Yehudit Steiner-Freud, entitled “Nursing Education Moves into the University: The Story of the Hadassah School of Nursing in Jerusalem, 1918–1948” (Nursing History Review 13 (2005): 121–145).

Bartal, who teaches at Hadassah’s Henrietta Szold Nursing School, has published the findings of her research on oncological nursing and the history of nursing in Erez Israel.

Articles by this author

Nursing as a Female Profession in Palestine (1918-1948)

Nursing’s struggle to hold its own as a profession was part and parcel of the activity of the women’s movement in the United States, mainly from the nineteenth century to the 1920s. The struggle of women who also wanted nursing to gain professional recognition in Palestine took place within that context.

Judith Steiner-Freud

Judith Steiner-Freud, herself a graduate of the Henrietta Szold Hadassah School of Nursing, became the director of her alma mater, as well as deputy dean of nursing in the medical faculty of Hadassah and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and thus had an important influence on the development of nursing education and practice in Israel.

Selma Mair

“Duty is pleasure,” wrote the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941). Selma Mair (Schwester Selma), who laid the foundations of nursing at Sha’arei Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem, lived accordingly. A short, dynamic woman, she lived and worked at Sha’arei Zedek for sixty-eight years until her death at age 100 on February 5, 1984.

Sarah Lishansky

As Deborah Berenstein has written: “The nurses of the Second Lit. "ascent." A "calling up" to the Torah during its reading in the synagogue.Aliyah (1904–1914) integrated among the workers to treat, care for and fill the urgent need of many young people for someone to look after them. … The nurses won “recognition and appreciation for their care of their fellow human beings.” One of these nurses was Sarah Lishansky.

Bertha Landsman

At the beginning of the 1920s, Bertha Landsman, who was the only registered nurse in Palestine, established community nursing in Israel. She possessed knowledge, initiative and managerial skills, which she used as a public health nurse and in social work. She worked with Jewish, Christian and Muslim women, persuading them to abandon folk superstition in favor of “correct knowledge and information,” and also taught nursing to local women students, which was no less a challenge.

Anna Kaplan

Anna Kaplan was an American Jewish nurse who contributed significantly to developing the concept of nursing as a profession in Erez Israel at the beginning of the twentieth century. She was a leader in founding the nursing school, which later became the Henrietta Szold-Hadassah School of Nursing at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Hadassah School of Nursing: First Graduating Class

Nursing was not recognized as a profession until 1918, when the American Zionist Medical Unit, which later became the Hadassah Medical Organization, opened a nursing school. The group of young women accepted for the first class included women from various areas and population groups in the country: immigrants from Eastern Europe and native-born women, daughters of orchard farmers, founders of the first moshavot and pioneers who, together with men, drained swamps and built roads. These new women students decided to learn a profession that would allow them to live independent lives and contribute to the country.

Shulamith Cantor

Shulamith Cantor not only directed the Hadassah School of Nursing in Jerusalem (later the Henrietta Szold Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Nursing), but was a leader and founder of the nursing profession in Palestine during the Mandate for Palestine given to Great Britain by the League of Nations in April 1920 to administer Palestine and establish a national home for the Jewish people. It was terminated with the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.British Mandate Period (1920–1948) and the first years of statehood.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Nira Bartal." (Viewed on October 28, 2020) <>.


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