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Rosa Ginossar

Rosa Ginossar’s determined lobbying of the British Authority in Palestine won women the right to practice law in Israel. Ginossar left Odessa in 1908, briefly joined her parents in Israel, and then went to study law at the University of Paris with her future husband, Shlomo. While there, she worked as a secretary at Staal & Rapp, legal advisors to the Russian Embassy. After she graduated law school in 1913 and married in 1916, she moved to London for four years, where she lived with her father-in-law, esteemed Zionist Ahad Ha-Am, and became the founding honorary secretary of the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) in 1920. In 1922 she made Aliyah to Israel and tried to take the qualifying exam for lawyers with foreign credentials, but was rejected. She renewed her request several times while clerking for two lawyers and enlisting the help of her father-in-law’s political contacts. In 1930 Rosa Ginossar became the second woman lawyer in Palestine when the British Court finally reversed its ruling on women lawyers. She opened her own law practice while continuing to rise through the ranks of WIZO, becoming chair of the World WIZO Executive in 1951, acting president in 1963, president in 1966, and honorary president in 1970. In 1974 she became an Honorary Citizen of Jerusalem, the equivalent of being given the key to the city.

Topics: Palestine, Law

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Portrait drawing of Rosa Ginossar, the first practicing woman lawyer in the Jewish Yishuv in Palestine and president of WIZO from 1966–1970.
Courtesy of WIZO Archives, Tel Aviv.
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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rosa Ginossar." (Viewed on December 2, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/ginossar-rosa>.


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