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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.

Lillian Rock

Lillian Rock was a pioneering twentieth-century lawyer, advocate, and organizer who fought for the advancement of women around the world.

Frances Raday

Frances Raday’s career as a leading human rights advocate, feminist academic, and litigator evolved on no less than three continents: starting in England, passing through Africa, and finally settling in Israel.

Ayala Procaccia

During her years on the bench as a judge and a Supreme Court Justice, Ayala Procaccia shaped Israeli law to support equality for all, regardless of gender or religious practice. Guided by a dedication to equality and constitutional rights, she never hesitated to pronounce forthright and decisive rulings on controversial issues such as Sabbath observance, women’s military service, and freedom of speech.

Erna Proskauer

Erna Proskauer dreamed of becoming a judge in Germany but lost her job in 1933 and emigrated first to France and then to Palestine. After returning to Germany, Erna faced several setbacks in her quest to return to her career as a lawyer but ultimately opened her own firm. At the age of sixty-five, she took over her former husband’s law office and continued working for another twenty years.

Deborah T. Poritz

Deborah T. Poritz was New Jersey’s first female attorney general and in July 1996, she was sworn in as the first woman chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. She served in that position until she reached the compulsory retirement age of seventy in 2006.

Nora Platiel

The Russian Revolution of 1917 made a convinced socialist of Nora Block and inspired her to study law. After leaving Nazi Germany for France and then Platiel, Platiel returned home, eventually becoming the first woman director of a German district court and being elected for three terms in the Hessian State Parliament.

Harriet Fleischl Pilpel

Harriet Fleischl Pilpel was a prominent participant and strategist in women’s rights, birth control, and reproductive freedom litigation for over half a century.

Alice S. Petluck

Alice S. Petluck was one of the first women in the United States to attend law school and to practice in New York. She was a prominent social reformer in the early twentieth century who, through her example, was able to open the door for generations of future female lawyers.

Vera Paktor

In her too-short life, Vera Paktor reached unprecedented heights for a woman in maritime law, forging regulations for new developments in the shipping industry.

Jewish Women in New Zealand

Although New Zealand’s Jewish community is small, “Kiwi” Jewish women have punched well above their weight and account for a significant number of the country’s “historic firsts” and remarkable achievements.

Shoshana Netanyahu

Shoshana Netanyahu served as a judge on the Magistrates Court in Haifa from 1969 until 1974 and as a District Court judge in the city from 1974 to 1981. In 1981 she was promoted to the Supreme Court, from which she retired in 1993.

Miriam Naor

Miriam Naor was widely esteemed for her expertise in criminal law. In her many famous court cases, Naor’s decisions were always based on profound legal knowledge and on rigorous analysis of the facts.

Margarete Muehsam-Edelheim

Margarete Muehsam-Edelheim was a journalist with a doctorate in law. In her native Berlin, she co-founded the organization Women Law Graduates and served as a City Councilor. In the United States, Muehsam-Edelheim was a founding member of the Leo Baeck Institute’s Women Auxiliary, as well as serving in many capacities for various organizations.

Rebecca Pearl Lovenstein

In 1920, Rebecca Pearl Lovenstein became the first woman lawyer allowed to practice in Virginia. She went on to create a state bar association for women.

Frieda Lorber

Frieda Levin Lorber made a name for herself as a prominent lawyer in the mid twentieth century and helped other women rise in the profession in New York and worldwide.

Ruth Lewinson

Born in 1895, Ruth Lewinson was one of the earliest female Jewish lawyers in the United States. In addition to her own private practice, she was active on multiple boards and committees as well as other organizations including charitable work.

Melba Levin-Rubin

Melba Levin-Rubin was an accomplished early-twentieth-century lawyer who was active in both professional and Jewish communal organizations.

Lawyers in Germany and Austria

German and Austrian women were first allowed to enter careers in law in the mid-1920s, following rules permitting their admittance to universities at the turn of the century. Although women were a small proportion of all lawyers, judges, and prosecutors in Germany and Austria, Jewish women were a significant group among those women, and they often faced both religious and gender-based discrimination.

Law in the United States

Until recently, “law” in relation to the Jewish community meant religious law, but in a “post-emancipation” context, “law” is related to offical behavior, enforcing equal treatment of all groups. For Jewish women who immigrated to the United States, this modern approach afforded them new freedoms, especially under secular as opposed to religious leadership.

Law in Israel

Although women constitute a large portion of those who work in the Israeli legal field, women in law mostly have refrained from feminist identification, and feminist activism has been promoted by only a tiny minority of women lawyers.

Ruth Lapidoth

Professor Ruth Lapidoth is a major Israeli expert in international law. As a young woman, she decided to specialize in this field, seeing it as a path towards dialogue and a means to solve the Arab-Israel conflict.

Anna Moscowitz Kross

Anna Moscowitz Kross helped reform the New York prison system by curbing abuses and offering felons chances to train in new skills. As the city’s third female court judge, she created and ran a Home Term Court that handled family law. She also served as the elected commissioner of corrections for the city and was on the board of Hadassah.

Phyllis A. Kravitch

Phyllis A. Kravitch was the third woman circuit court judge in the United States. One of the first female trial lawyers in the South, Kravitch became the first woman president of the Savannah Bar Association in 1973 and served as the first woman superior court judge in Georgia. She also established a rape crisis center and shelter for women survivors of domestic violence.

Ida Klaus

Ida Klaus was an influential labor lawyer, advocating tirelessly for the rights of workers. She was solicitor of the National Labor Relations Board under Harry Truman, head of the New York Labor Department, and an arbitrator in the Long Island Railroad Strike.


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