Jewish History: Palestine
A leading spy for the Nili ring during World War I, Sarah Aaronsohn fought to free Palestine from Turkish rule and withstood torture for her ideals; she committed suicide after arrest by Turkish authorities and was later described as a Jewish Joan of Arc. The semi-military role Sarah carved for herself, her activity, and her voluntary death made her an icon and a model of a new “Hebrew” femininity.
She was the only woman among the early members of the Mosad, which smuggled Jews out of Europe and into Palestine in an attempt to circumvent the aliyah restrictions of the British Mandatory authorities. Late in World War II Aliav-Klüger was among the first representatives of the Yishuv to meet with Holocaust survivors on European soil and come to the aid of the she’erit ha-pletah (surviving remnant). In early 1949 Aliav-Klüger returned to Israel and, like many of her Mosad comrades, joined the Zim national shipping company. In 1974 she was selected as Woman of the Year by the National Council Of Jewish Women in the United States in honor of the release of her book, The Last Escape, describing her activities with the Mosad le-Aliyah Bet between 1938 and 1941 (published originally in English and translated into Hebrew).
The mass-immigration from Europe after 1933 brought many architects, amongst whom were a number of women.
Mary Fels, an ardent and philanthropic Zionist, promoted Jewish settlement in Palestine and Israel throughout her life.
A renowned “teacher of teachers,” Greenberg’s scholarly father, Sam Genauer, who was born in Czernovitz, Austro-Hungary in 1906, was brought to the United States at the age of two. He obtained a B.A. at Yeshiva University and in 1933 was ordained at its Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Rabbinical College. His homemaker wife, Sylvia (née Gensar), whom he married in 1933, was born in the Lower East Side of New York in 1913 and attended Seward Park High School and the University of Washington. Immediately after his ordination the couple moved to Seattle, where Genauer managed his family’s clothing business. It was there that their three daughters were born: Judy (Brickman) in 1934, Blu on January 21, 1936 and Rena (Schlaff) in 1938. The family returned to New York when Blu was in the fifth grade.
Hannah Judith (Annie Edith) Landau was born on March 20, 1873, in London, where her father, Marcus Israel (Mordecai, 1837–1913), worked as a clerk for the Jewish community. Annie’s mother, Chaja Kohn (b. Bavaria, Germany 1853–d. 1923), was his second wife. He had five children by his first marriage and during the forty years of his marriage to Chaja a further thirteen were born. Of these, Annie was the eldest. Her parents were of the opinion that girls should receive as fine an education as boys, but there was no sufficiently good school for religious girls in London. Thus, at the recommendation of her mother’s uncle, Moses Weisknopf, she was sent to the Orthodox Samson Raphael Hirsch School in Frankfurt am Main, where her teacher was Mendel Hirsch (1833–1900), the son of Samson Raphael (1808–1888). Returning to London, she studied at Greystoke College, a teacher training institution. After completing her studies there in 1892, she took up a teaching position at the Jews Free School, which she held until 1898.
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.
The underground movement Lohamei Herut Yisrael (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel, known by its acronym, Lehi) came into existence in 1940 in the wake of the opposition on the part of Avraham (“Ya’ir”) Stern (1907–1942) to the cessation of hostilities against the British rule in The Land of IsraelErez Israel (Palestine) proclaimed by David Raziel (1910–1941), the commander of the Irgun Zeva’i Le’ummi (IZL) during World War II. Stern regarded this decision as mistaken and as the loss of a rare historic opportunity to take advantage of the war situation to obtain concessions from the British, who he felt should be compelled by use of force to fulfill its promise to establish a Jewish state in Erez Israel. “Even in time of war, England is fighting the Jewish Jewish community in Palestine prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. "Old Yishuv" refers to the Jewish community prior to 1882; "New Yishuv" to that following 1882.Yishuv, attempting to restrict it, and even manages to provide the military forces to prevent the rescue of Holocaust survivors. In reality, Britain is a foreign power, whose interests in the Middle East do not include a Jewish state … we must not cease our war until Britain is expelled and an independent State of Israel is established.”
A writer, publicist, and Zionist activist, Lotta Levensohn was among the original founders of hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. Born in Syracuse, New York on August 13, 1882, and raised in Titusville, Pennsylvania, she was the daughter of Moshe Gerson Levensohn, a cantor, and Eva F. (Dvoretzky) Levensohn. Moving to New York, she attended the Teachers Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Levensohn was one of the leaders of the Harlem chapter of the Daughters of Zion, a women’s study group, which in 1912 decided to launch Hadassah as a national movement. Levensohn was for many years a director of the organization, serving as head of its Central Committee (an office equivalent to the presidency) during 1920 and 1921. At that time, Hadassah had briefly ceased to function as a separate organization, and Levensohn was one of two board members who favored the absorption of the group by the Zionist Organization of America. The seven members who opposed the plan prevailed, however, and Hadassah reemerged as an autonomous entity.
In her contribution to the book Thirteen Americans: Their Spiritual Autobiographies, Judith Berlin Lieberman wrote that her goal was to “elevate the teaching of Bible and the traditional commentaries to their rightful place in the curriculum for girls,” to help them “acquire a knowledge of and love for the Hebrew tongue” and of Eretz Yisrael.
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.
Zivia Lubetkin was born on November 9, 1914 to a well-to-do, traditional Jewish family in the town of Beten in eastern Poland, where in 1880 her father, Ya’akov-Yizhak, who ran a small business, had also been born. Her mother, Hayyah (née Zilberman), was born in 1882 in Useten. During the Holocaust Zivia’s parents went into hiding but were discovered in 1942 and shot on the spot.
R. Ben-Zion Hai Ouziel wrote extensively on religious, communal and national subjects, as well as Jewish philosophy, his articles appearing in several newspapers and journals. His election as the Sephardic Chief Rabbi (the Rishon le-Zion) carried a concurrent appointment to the Va’ad Le’ummi (National Council of Jews of Palestine) and he participated in the sessions in which the Jewish Agency was founded.
Photography was the primary method used to document the Zionist enterprise in Palestine and photographers assumed the responsibility of creating and expressing its history.
Within the Yishuv society of pre-state Israel, there developed a unique sector with a complex ideology: a religious Zionist society that included two main movements—Mizrachi (1902) and Ha-Po’el ha-Mizrachi (1922).
The building of an egalitarian Jewish society in pre-state Israel was a keystone of the Zionist plan in general and of its socialist component in particular. The question of women’s suffrage arose locally, in every community, and in some communities women even succeeded in being elected.