Politics and Government: International Relations
Orit Adato has held many roles throughout her career in security, from head of the Israeli Women’s Corps to Commissioner of the Israel Prison Service. After twenty-eight years of work in security, twenty-four of which were in the IDF, Adato retired with the rank of lieutenant general and founded her own international consultancy firm on security.
While her book, Builders of Emerging Nations (1961) discusses the important qualities necessary to be a leader in the political arena, Vera Dean’s life was a testament to her own leadership abilities. Dean helped shape American foreign policy and opinion on international relations, as both an educator and a writer.
Though she began her career in publishing at liberal Jewish journals, Midge Decter became a prominent neoconservative in the 1970s, famous for her attacks on the women’s liberation movement. By the 1980s, Decter turned to foreign policy and became a vocal Cold Warrior opposed to the Soviet Union because of the threat it posed to the United States and Israel.
Dianne Feinstein, former mayor of San Francisco and United States senior senator from California since 1992, is a political pioneer and the oldest sitting U.S. senator. Throughout her career, Feinstein has earned a reputation as a leader, reformer, and principal member of the Democratic Party.
Senator Sheila Finestone was an important figure in Canadian parliamentary history, founding the Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians for the Inter-Parliamentary Union. She took up issues including human rights and served as president of the Quebec Federation of Women. A cornerstone of Canadian Jewish history, Finestone dedicated her life to advocacy and activism.
Blu Greenberg is known as the mother of Orthodox feminism and is author of On Women and Judaism: A view from Tradition. She coined the phrase “Where there’s a rabbinic will, there’s a halakhic way,” demanding that rabbis find systemic solutions to help women who feel trapped by aspects of halakhah. Greenberg is a fierce advocate for agunot, women trapped in unwanted marriages.
Through her work as a soldier, writer, teacher, and volunteer supporting immigrants, Rivka Guber exhibited selflessness for her neighbors and for the young State of Israel as a whole, earning her the title “Mother of the Sons” and the respect of the nation.
Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA) has a lengthy history of activity in the Yishuv and Israel, going back to 1913, about a year after it was founded in New York, and continuing to this day. This activity, outstanding in its scope, continuity, stability, and diversity, encompasses efforts in the sphere of health and medical services and in the welfare of children and youth.
The child of a refugee from Nazi Germany, Jane Harman began her career in law. After being elected in 1992, she spent 20 years as a vocal advocate of Israel, pro-choice legislation, and women’s issues as a Representative for California’s 36th Congressional District. After leaving Congress for the private sector, Harman held leadership positions in several prominent political organizations.
Zena Harman, diplomat, parliamentarian and social innovator, helped lay the foundation for Israel's advanced network of social services, became one of Israel's foremost diplomats in Israel's formative years, and helped to establish a series of civil society organizations concerned with protecting children's rights, empowering women, and promoting greater civic engagement in public life in Israel.
Esther Herlitz was a feminist trailblazer in Israeli politics and diplomacy. She was the first official female Israeli ambassador, among six female Labor Party members who served in the eighth and ninth Knessets, and the first woman to serve on the Committee for Foreign Affairs and Defense. She also helped formulate and ensure the passage of a liberal abortion law in 1977.
The International Council of Jewish Women (ICJW) is a Jewish women's organization established at the beginning of the twentieth century, which evolved with the needs and events over time. As a women’s NGO, ICJW participates in a variety of projects promoting women’s rights and human rights, motivated by its roots in Judaism.
Geri M. Joseph, a pioneer in the acceptance of women in journalism and politics, was a prize-winning newspaper reporter, an American Ambassador to the Netherlands during the Carter administration, and the first woman to be elected to several business boards in Minnesota.
During the Great Depression, Dorothy C. Kahn helped pioneer social work as a service provided by the government to all who needed it. Kahn developed, implemented, and advocated for social welfare programs and policies whose underlying principles upheld her deepest beliefs about what social welfare could mean in a democracy.