Israel

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Collection

Shulamith Katznelson

Shulamith Katznelson helped make Israel a home for a wider range of people as both a pioneer of Hebrew-immersion programs and an advocate for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.

Rahel Katznelson

A thinker and teacher, Rahel Katznelson was one of the early activists in the Labor Movement and Mo’ezet ha-Po’alot in the Yishuv and Israel. She contributed greatly to the country’s emerging cultural life, laying stress on women’s participation within it.

Yehudit Karp

Yehudit Karp is widely acknowledged for her determined pursuit of truth and justice. Throughout her career as a lawyer, she has acted with grit in the Israeli and international spheres, to preserve moral standards and to ensure human rights in general and women’s, children’s, and victim’s rights in particular.

Rose Kaplan

Rose Kaplan was a trained nurse who worked with Hadassah to help establish its first visiting nurse program. During World War I, she worked with Hadassah to care for Jews in Palestine and refugees in Egypt and inspired others to follow her example.

Anna Kaplan

Anna Kaplan was an American Jewish nurse who contributed significantly to developing the concept of nursing as a profession in Erez Israel at the beginning of the twentieth century. She was a leader in founding the nursing school, which later became the Henrietta Szold-Hadassah School of Nursing at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Miriam Kainy

Miriam Kainy, Israel’s first established woman playwright, won the Israel Prime Minister’s Literary Prize in 1997. All sixteen of her plays were written in Hebrew and produced by Israel’s established theater companies. Kainy has also written manuscripts for radio and television and adapted dramas from English and Yiddish into Hebrew.

Rachel Kagan (Cohen)

One of two women to sign the Israeli Declaration of Independence, Rachel Kagan shaped women’s rights in the new state. She left a powerful legacy from her work in social welfare in addition to her time as a Knesset member.

Helena Kagan

Helena Kagan, a pioneer of pediatric medicine in pre-State Palestine, is known to this day as the children’s doctor of Jerusalem, the city where she settled following her aliyah in 1914. Kagan tended to generations of children—Jews, Muslims, and Christians—saving many of them from sickness and death.

Gurit Kadman

Gurit Kadman earned fame as a pioneer of Israeli folk dancing. In Germany, she joined the Wandervogel, a youth movement that focused on German folk culture, and after she moved to Palestine she continued to learn, teach, and preserve Israeli folk dance.

Juedischer Frauenbund (The League of Jewish Women)

Founded in 1904, The League of Jewish Women pursued secular German feminist goals while maintaining a strong sense of Jewish identity. The League supported vulnerable women through practical social reforms while fighting for political power within the German Jewish community. It saw employment opportunities as essential to women’s economic, psychological, and emotional independence.

Senta Josephthal

Senta Josephthal was German-born Zionist activist who was particularly influential in the kibbutz movement. She trained and recruited young Germans to the movement and represented the kibbutz movement in national organizations and political arenas after emigrating to Palestine.

Roza Shoshana Joffe

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.

Ira Jan

Ira Jan, a painter and writer, was the first Hebrew artist in pre-State Palestine. Born in Kishinev,  Jan graduated from the Moscow Art Academy and traveled Europe before immigrating to Palestine in 1908. Known for her love affair with Chaim Nachman Bialik, she immigrated to Jerusalem in 1908, engaging in painting and teaching and publishing her stories in a number of periodicals in Palestine.

Rose Gell Jacobs

One of the most prominent leaders of Hadassah, Rose Jacobs promoted traditional types of American Zionist philanthropy in the 1930s and1940s, such as organizing German Jewish youth immigration to Palestine and improving the country’s medical facilities. At the same time, she broke new ground by increasing the role of women in the leadership of the Zionist movement and promoting discussion of Arab-Jewish relations.

Modern Italy

Jewish women were crucial both to changes in post-emancipation Italian Jewish life and to the overall condition of women in modern Italy. This article reflects on the changes in the role of Jewish women in modern Italy within the Jewish press and institutions, their activism in shaping a secular civil society, and their experiences through the Fascist regime, the trauma of the 1938 Racial laws, emigration, resistance, deportation, survival, and reconstruction.

Israeli Women's Writing in Hebrew: 1948-2004

Women writers faced many obstacles in the early years of modern Hebrew, but by the end of the twentieth century they had overcome marginalization to become a central part of the country’s literature. The achievements of women’s writing in Hebrew rank among the unquestionable triumphs of Israeli feminism.

Israeli Folk Dance Pioneers in North America

Dance has been an integral element of the Jewish community since biblical times. An intense desire to share the joy of dance, coupled with a strong identification with both Israel and their Jewish roots, spurred a group of influential women to create a flourishing movement of Israeli folk dance in North America. Today, Israeli folk dance enjoys a wider popularity than ever.

Women’s Service in the Israel Defense Forces

The Israel Defense Forces is among the few armies in the world that conscript women into its ranks under a mandatory military draft law, although women make up only about 40% of conscript soldiers and 25% of the office corps. Women’s integration into the IDF has been shaped by the perception of the IDF as a people’s army, security needs, and social processes that contribute to or undermine gender equality.

Irgun Zeva'i Le'ummi (I.Z.L.)

The Irgun Zeva’i Le’ummi was a Jewish underground armed organization formed in 1931 to fight British mandatory forces and Palestinian Arabs and their allies in the effort to form a Jewish state. Women were involved in all parts of the organization, from propaganda production and distribution to combat.

Iraqi Jewish Women

Jews lived in Iraq for thousands of years. Life for Iraqi Jewish women was determined by tradition, custom, and religious law, with a patriarchal system that emphasized child-rearing and household duties. These traditions shifted with the secularizing British Mandate in Iraq, and again with the assimilation the Iraqi Jewish community experienced upon immigration to Israel.

International Council of Jewish Women

The International Council of Jewish Women (ICJW) is a Jewish women's organization established at the beginning of the twentieth century, which evolved with the needs and events over time. As a women’s NGO, ICJW participates in a variety of projects promoting women’s rights and human rights, motivated by its roots in Judaism.

Lea Hurvitz

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.

Beba Idelson

Beba Idelson was an Israeli politician and dedicated Zionist activist. She served as a member of the Knesset for sixteen years and was instrumental in shaping the character of the State of Israel, especially as it pertained to women’s rights.

Histadrut Nashim Ivriot (Hebrew Women's Organization)

The Hebrew Women’s Organization was one of the most successful and widespread Zionist women’s organizations to originate in Palestine, rather than North America or Europe. It focused on providing healthcare, social work, and other aid to poor and immigrant women and children across the Yishuv.

Nechama Hendel

Nechama Hendel is considered one of the foremost singers Israel has ever produced, known for her performances of Jewish folk music, her adaptations of well-known Israeli songs, and her album dedicated entirely to lyrics by the national poet Hayyim Nahman Bialik set to folk tunes and composed melodies. Hendel had an international following and toured the world performing, but she consistently returned to live in Israel and was devoted to Jewish music. 

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