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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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