Law

Content type
Collection

Caroline Klein Simon

Attorney Caroline Klein Simon’s long career included state office and judicial posts. She was a fierce advocate for gender and racial equality and made the first laws against real estate brokers using “blockbusting” tactics to force sales of homes.

Elizabeth Blume Silverstein

Elizabeth Blume Silverstein’s long and productive life revolved around her work in criminal law, real estate management, and Jewish life. After successfully defending Orzio Ricotta on a homicide charge, a first for a New Jersey woman lawyer, Silverstein became a public speaker, and she was involved in law, politics, and Zionism.

Justine Wise Polier

As the first woman judge appointed in New York, Justine Wise Polier focused on helping the most vulnerable population: children. From the bench, Polier helped reform both foster care and the school system, ensuring that minority children had access to services. She also worked an informal second shift, volunteering for important causes ranging from prison reform to trying to evacuate Jewish children from Europe during the Holocaust.

Fanny E. Holtzmann

Fanny E. Holtzmann made waves as a lawyer for stars of Broadway and Hollywood as well as luminaries of world politics such as the Romanoffs.

Elizabeth Holtzman

Elizabeth Holtzman pursued a public career epitomizing some of the most important trends in postwar American and Jewish life. In her successive roles as a congresswoman, Brooklyn district attorney, comptroller of New York City, and political commentator, she emerged as an effective and activist public servant, a forceful campaigner, and a champion of liberal and feminist causes.

Gertrude Himmelfarb

Gertrude Himmefarb (1922-2019) was an American historian and public intellectual who published more than fifteen books mostly dedicated to nineteenth-century British intellectual life. She made significant contributions to the intellectual foundation of the neoconservative movement, arguing that social policy should follow the Victorian example of deep moralism.

Health Activism, American Feminist

American women have been the “perennial health care reformers.” Women’s health activism has often coincided with other social reform movements. Since the late 1960s, Jewish women have helped create and sustain the women’s health movement through decades of substantial social, political, medical, and technological change.

Jane Harman

The child of a refugee from Nazi Germany, Jane Harman began her career in law. After being elected in 1992, she spent 20 years as a vocal advocate of Israel, pro-choice legislation, and women’s issues as a Representative for California’s 36th Congressional District. After leaving Congress for the private sector, Harman held leadership positions in several prominent political organizations.

Marguerite Wolff

Though she never received a formal education, London-born Marguerite Wolff was a member of Berlin’s intelligentsia in the early 20th century. Between 1925 and 1933 she served as unofficial co-director and later as a research scholar at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Foreign Public Law and International Law.

Frances Wolf

Frances Wolf was a pioneering lawyer who pushed for women’s bar admission in the early twentieth century. Of the approximately eighty women who were instrumental in opening up the legal profession for women in the United States, Frances Wolf was the first Jewish woman in that very select group.

Rosalie Loew Whitney

Rosalie Loew Whitney was the first woman to become the acting attorney of the New York Legal Aid Society. Following her husband’s death in 1934, Mayor LaGuardia appointed Rosalie Whitney first deputy license commissioner of New York City and, in 1935, a justice of the Domestic Relations Court.

Lorraine Weinrib

A professor at the University of Toronto, Weinrib is one of Canada’s foremost authorities on constitutional law.

Elga Ruth Wasserman

Chemist Elga Wasserman – a recipient of a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Harvard in 1949 and a J.D. from Yale in 1976 – is best known for overseeing the entrance of the first coeducational class at Yale College in 1969.

Käte Wallach

Käte Wallach was a German lawyer who, due to her being Jewish, was unable to practice law in her country. After migrating to the United States in 1935, Wallach re-enrolled in law school, during which she was enthralled by library science and became a prominent scholar in both fields.

Simone Veil

Holocaust survivor Simone Veil was a pioneer in the French government and the European Union. As Minister of Health, she presented and successfully argued the law decriminalizing abortion in France. She was the first woman to preside over the European Parliament and the fifth woman to be interred in the Panthéon.

Dorothy Straus

Over the course of her life, Dorothy Straus was active as a lawyer, college lecturer, Democrat, and member of the League of Women Voters and several municipal and state government committees. Straus demonstrated a commitment to efficient, socially active government policies, especially regarding the protection and advancement of women.

Tova Strasberg-Cohen

During her tenure as a justice on the Israeli Supreme Court, Tova Strasberg-Cohen became known for her groundbreaking decisions regarding civil law and women's equality.

Edith I. Spivack

A leading member of the Law Department of the City of New York for seventy years, Edith Spivack served as a pioneer female lawyer and a role model for generations of women.

Bertha Solomon

As one of the first women’s rights activists in South Africa, Bertha Solomon used her positions as one of the first practicing women advocates in South Africa and as a member of parliament to work to expand the rights of all South African women. Throughout her long career in government, Solomon acted as a parliamentary watchdog over women’s rights, committed to ensuring women’s suffrage and marital rights.

Norma Levy Shapiro

Norma Levy Shapiro’s Jewish background gave her a greater understanding of the evils of discrimination and social injustice, the blessings of liberty, and the importance of each individual’s efforts to make the world better. Her decisions as a lawyer were largely shaped by her Jewish values.

Gabriela Shalev

Gabriela Shalev, one of the outstanding Israeli academicians in the field of law, has instructed innumerable students in the intricacies of contract law, on which she has published and lectured in the light of her own analyses and theories.

Adolphine Schwimmer-Vigeveno

Adolphine Schwimmer-Vigeveno was an active member of the Jewish Women’s Council in the Netherlands in the decades before the outbreak of World War II. She served as the general editor of its periodical and later as its president, stimulating solidarity among Jewish women, organizing Jewish social work, and exploring contemporary Jewish issues, including Zionism.

Tova Sanhadray-Goldreich

Tova Sanhadray-Goldreich was a leader of religious Zionist movements in her home in eastern Galicia before making aliyah to Palestine, where she organized a merger of several women’s organizations to form Emunah. She was also the first woman member of the National Religious Party to be elected to the Knesset.

Else Rahel Samulon-Guttmann

Else Samulon-Guttmann showed her exceptional intelligence early in life, studying law at Berlin university and earning a PhD from Heidelberg University. Appointed a judge in 1929, she lost her position with the Nazi rise to power in 1933. Samulon-Guttmann stayed in Germany for her mother and was murdered at Auschwitz in 1944.

Saviona Rotlevy

Saviona Rotlevy, a judge who served on the Israeli District Court, is renowned for her outstanding contributions to the advancement of children’s rights, as her rulings consistently prioritized the interest of the child.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox