Lea Beninson Hurvitz’s memoirs document not only her own life but the struggles of other women pioneers of the First Aliyah, whose experiences were rarely discussed. Raised in a Zionist family, Hurvitz joined the egalitarian Bilu pioneer movement as a teen. She met her future husband, Zvi, who left for Palestine in 1882, the same year Lea graduated high school at age fifteen. Lea Hurvitz spent the next four years tutoring children, then married Zvi in 1886 and followed him back to Palestine. The couple settled in Gedarah, where they worked on a settlement, and despite the harsh conditions, Hurvitz welcomed new immigrants, raised seven children, and helped her parents and siblings resettle in Palestine. In 1943 the newspaper Ha-Boker published parts of her memoir, which discussed the invisible women of the first Aliyah: Hurvitz recounted how, although they were largely ignored by historians documenting the period, the women labored alongside the men, suffered the same hardships as male pioneers, and the settlement effort would have been doomed without their willingness to make homes and raise children in challenging conditions.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Lea Hurvitz." (Viewed on December 15, 2017) <https://jwa.org/people/hurvitz-lea>.