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Alice HildegardShalvi

Alice Shalvi created opportunities for Israeli women and girls, offering Talmud study to Orthodox girls and spearheading legislative reforms for women’s employment. Born Alice Hildegard Margulies, Shalvi immigrated to England with her family in 1934 and began studying English literature at Cambridge in 1944. After earning degrees in literature from Cambridge and social work from the London School of Economics, she made Aliyah to Israel in 1949 and began teaching English at Hebrew University, where she served on the faculty until 1990. Beginning in 1969, she led efforts to create an English department at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, but was denied the chance to serve as dean because she was a woman, leading her to mobilize female faculty members to protest their unfair treatment by the university. In 1975, Shalvi also began running the Pelech School for Haredi Girls, earning the Ministry of Education’s Education Prize in 1991 for such feminist initiatives as teaching Talmud to girls and insisting alumnae serve in either the IDF or the National Service. From 1984–2000, she served as founding chair of the Israeli Women’s Network, in which capacity she made significant strides for women’s rights, such as ensuring women’s participation in every branch of the IDF and encouraging more women to run for office. In 2006, she and her husband Moshe Shalvi published Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia, which the Jewish Women’s Archive has made available online. In 2007, Shalvi was honored with the Israel Prize for her contributions to Israeli society. Her memoir, Never a Native, won a National Jewish Book Award in 2019.


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Alice Hildegard Shalvi, Israeli professor, educator, and feminist.

Doctor of Philosophy, honoris causa.
Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, 2001.
Credit: Private collection
Date of Birth


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Alice Shalvi." (Viewed on December 2, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/shalvi-alice>.


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