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Jessie EthelSampter

Despite her disabilities from childhood polio, Jessie Ethel Sampter became a Zionist pioneer, helping found kibbutzim and becoming one of Israel’s first modern poets. Sampter’s early interest in ethical culture, pacifism, and Zionism led her to Henrietta Szold, who became her friend and mentor. Sampter organized and directed Hadassah’s School of Zionism, which trained leaders for Zionist girls’ clubs and speakers for Zionist organizations. By 1917, three hundred students were enrolled in correspondence courses. Sampter also wrote manuals and a textbook on Zionism. In 1919, she made Aliyah and joined Kibbutz Givat Brenner, where she created Bet Yesha, a vegetarian convalescent home. She also made efforts to offer Yemenite girls possibilities for education. Throughout her life, she wrote poetry that captured both her Zionism and her pacifism, as well as her belief that Jews and Arabs could live together in peace. When she died, Henrietta Szold presided over the funeral, urging the younger kibbutzniks to follow Sampter’s idealism.

Topics: Schools, Zionism, Poetry

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Jessie Sampter quotation on Himank BRO sign board in the Nubra Valley, Ladakh, Northern India.
Courtesy of Malikbek.
Date of Birth

New York, NY
United States

Date of Death
Poet, Writer, Educator, Activist, Founder

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jessie Ethel Sampter." (Viewed on December 13, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/sampter-jessie>.


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