The "founding mother" of modern Hebrew poetry by women, Rahel Bluwstein achieved in death the status of a national cultural icon. Rahel’s affiliation with the avant-garde group of Second Aliyah pioneers to pre-state Palestine, her dedication to Zionist ideals, and her agonizing death made her a beloved pioneering figure in Israel.
Nehamah Pukhachewsky’s writings advocated for Jewish women with a feminist confidence that resonates with readers to this day. Pukhachewsky immigrated from Lithuania to Palestine in 1889, actively participating in agriculture and women’s rights movements along with writing articles for Hebrew journals. She is remembered as one of the first modern Hebrew women prose writers.
Born to an impoverished Orthodox family in Bucharest, Ana Pauker joined the Romanian communist movement in 1915. She rose through the ranks, becoming one of the most powerful Communist leaders in Romania after World War II and, according to Time magazine, “the most powerful woman alive.”
Women played important roles in the moshavot (villages), the pioneer settlement form created by the Jews in Palestine at its formative period 1882-1914. Various types of women in the moshava had significant roles in creating the “new Jew” of the second generation and in establishing and consolidating the moshavot.
The Mo’ezet Ha-Poalot was founded in 1921 as the women’s branch of the Histadrut, the General Federation of Workers in mandatory Palestine. In the name of women workers, the organization struggled for many years for equality in the eyes of the Histadrut, though it ultimately came to represent more broadly the interests of Jewish women in Palestine and Israel, including immigrants and housewives.
Sarah Malkhin was among the first women agricultural laborers to arrive in Palestine during the the Second Aliyah. Through efforts to establish new kinds of agricultural settlements founded on ideals of emancipation and independence, Malkhin and her colleagues clashed with veteran settlers of the Old Yishuv.
Combining her zeal for the Zionist movement and her extensive education in agriculture, Hannah Maisel-Shohat dedicated herself to the establishment of women’s farms and agriculture education programs in Palestine in the 1920s.
One of the “spiritual mothers” of Jewish feminism in Israel, Ada Maimon founded the women's labor organization, Mo'ezet Ha-Po'a lot, and served in the first Knesset. In each of her many positions, she viewed her role as being a religious and spiritual one.
Beginning in 1929, the religious kibbutz (Kibbutz Ha-Dati) movement represented the confluence of progressive ideals of equality and collectivism and traditional customs of Judaism. As a result, women in the movement lived at a crossroads.
As a secular and democratic community, the kibbutz—first founded in 1910—strove to implement egalitarian principles as expressed in the slogan: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” In addition, from the 1920s on, due to A voluntary collective community, mainly agricultural, in which there is no private wealth and which is responsible for all the needs of its members and their families.kibbutz women
Roza Shoshana Joffe was a teacher who made Aliyah from the Ukraine, determined to establish a school for girls in Palestine. After many years teaching in Jaffa, she left the city for a village near the Sea of Galilee, where she bought and operated her own farm and hoped to open a school for farmers’ daughters.
A multi-faceted Yiddish writer, Shira Gorshman embodied the vision and struggles of Jewish socialism throughout her long and productive life. Her work encompassed the shtetl of Lithuania, pioneering Palestine, the Soviet experiment, the Holocaust, and finally the return to modern Israel. In all these journeys her characters, many of whom are women, are revealed in their full humanity and individuality.
A member of the underground militant group Irgun Zeva'i Le'ummi, Shulamit Goldstein became Israel’s first female pilot in the 1930s. Later in life, she also became a nursery school teacher, a poultry farmer, and a fiberglass manufacturer.
Ruth Cohen, Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, from 1954 until 1972, was the first Jewish principal of an Oxbridge College, a distinguished agricultural economist, and, after her retirement from college life, a dedicated local councillor.
Hannah Chizhik was an advocate for women’s emancipation and she was committed to the women workers movement. She became an expert in vegetable farming, agricultural work, and domestic labor for the groups of women pioneers. In 1926 she established a women’s smallholding in Tel Aviv, which became an important center for pioneer youth.
Women were among the earliest settles in the Dutch and English Caribbean. Early Caribbean Jewish women, despite living in patriarchal societies, still managed to engage in public pursuits. As Caribbean Jewish communities became increasingly racially blended over time, women of color became some of the most definitive architects of distinctly Creole Caribbean Jewry.