Naomi Feinbrun-Dothan

Naomi Feinbrun-Dothan helped pioneer the scientific analysis of native Israeli flora and establish the study of botany and genetics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Born to a Zionist family, Feinbrun began studying natural sciences at Moscow University in 1918 and earned a degree in botany from the University of Romania in 1923 before following her family to Palestine in 1924. By 1926 she began researching at the Institute of Agriculture and Natural History in Tel Aviv, and in 1929 she started teaching at Hebrew University. For two decades she was the only professor of genetics there. In 1931, together with her longtime collaborators Alexander Eig and Michael Zohary, she published the first comprehensive analysis of plants in Hebrew. She followed this with extensive research expeditions to Kurdistan, Lebanon, Cyprus, Egypt, and other neighboring areas. While many countries approached botany by studying exotic plants in distant places and bringing back samples for museums, Feinbrun and her colleagues focused on understanding local flora and fostering a bond with the local environment. Although she earned her PhD in 1938, Feinbrun was not made an associate professor until 1960. Despite this, she continued working as an active researcher, respected teacher, and prolific author into her nineties, and was honored with the Israel Prize in 1991.

Topics: Natural Science

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Botanist Naomi Feinbrun (1900 – 1995), one of the first women professors at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, conducted pioneering research of the flora of Israel and the Middle East until her death at the age of ninety-one. Her memory lives on in the Astragalus feinbruniae and other plants named in her honor by colleagues in Israel and abroad.

Photographer: Werner Braun.

Institution: Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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Date of Death
Botanist, Writer, Professor

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Naomi Feinbrun-Dothan." (Viewed on August 10, 2020) <>.


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