Politics and Government: Social Policy
Shulamit Aloni, Member of the Knesset and Minister, was an important champion of human rights, civil rights, religious freedom, and the Palestinian right to self-determination. As founder and head of the Ratz and then Meretz party, she spearheaded progressive politics in Israel both on the formal level and in civil society for over half a century.
From her upbringing in a traditional Iraqi family to her work in the Knesset and as Israeli Minister of Health, Shoshana Arbeli-Almozlino’s life spanned countries, careers, and experiences. She will be remembered as an active member of Knesset who fought for the rights of the working class and for the equal status of women in Israeli law.
Between 1875 and 1936, Buenos Aires was a major prostitution hub. Immigrant Jewish women were desperate enough to seek work in legally sanctioned brothels run by Jewish pimps. Although Jewish women compromised just a third of legal prostitutes in Buenos Aires in 1910, they were disproportionately visible in Argentina’s Catholic society.
Since being allowed to resettle in 1656, Jews in Great Britain have established deep community ties throughout their diverse community. Class differences between early Sephardic settlers and the later wave of Ashkenazi immigrants gave rise to numerous Jewish charitable organizations, in which women played a key role.
As a lawyer, Helen Lehman Buttenwieser fought to protect children in the foster care system. Throughout her life in the law she served as an important role model for many women attorneys.
The positive aspect of the Canadian mosaic has been a strong Jewish community (and other communities) which nurtured traditional ethnic and religious values and benefited from the talent and energy of women and men restrained from participation in the broader society. The negative aspect has included considerable antisemitism and, especially for women, the sometimes stifling narrowness and conservatism of the community which inhibited creative and exceptional people from charting their own individual paths.
Felice Cohn was one of Nevada’s first women lawyers in the early twentieth century, an author of suffragist legislation in Nevada, and one of the first women allowed to argue before the United States Supreme Court.
Israeli Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner was known for citing non-legal sources in her decisions to illustrate the just society she aspired to live in. With landmark cases impacting gender equality, the right to education for all, and the right to live in dignity, Justice Dorner’s legal and social legacy is deeply rooted in human rights.
Ruth Dreifuss was the first Jewish member of the Federal Government of Switzerland and the first female President of the country. When she became President of the Confederation in 1999, she was the first Jew and the first woman to hold the office.
Berta Blejman de Drucaroff was a prominent activist of the Yiddisher Kultur Farband (YKUF/ICUF) and a communist militant in anti-fascist organizations. She was president of the YKUF Women's Organization (OFI) and the main promoter of the reading circle network (leien kraizn) in Argentina.
Katherine Engel helped the massive wave of European Jewish émigrés after World War II resettle and adjust to life in the United States. A renowned emigré expert and Jewish communal leader, Engel was also an outspoken critic of McCarthyism and a tireless advocate of immigration reform.
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.