Zionism

Content type
Collection

Bobbi Fiedler

Retired Congresswoman Bobbi Fiedler of Northridge in Los Angeles considers herself “a very private person” who was “pushed into politics by necessity, not by plan.

Mary Fels

Mary Fels, an ardent and philanthropic Zionist, promoted Jewish settlement in Palestine and Israel throughout her life.

Sara Rivka Feder-Keyfitz

Sara Feder-Keyfitz was a Zionist leader, an accomplished sociologist, an outstanding educator, and an ardent feminist who worked hard on behalf of women’s rights in America and Palestine. An important leader in the American Labor Zionist movement, she became a lifelong leader of Pioneer Women (the forerunner of Na’amat U.S.A.) in the United States, Canada, and Israel.

Rokhl Faygnberg (Imri)

In his portrait of her in Mayn leksikon, volume 1, author and critic Melech Ravitch (Meylekh Ravitsh, 1893–1976) says of Yiddish-Hebrew writer Rokhl Faygnberg that her biography was “the biography of an era.” Although she witnessed many of the defining events of modern Jewish history—wars, pogroms, and the birth of the State of Israel—in her life, which took her from her White Russian (Yiddish) Small-town Jewish community in Eastern Europe.shtetl to several cosmopolitan European centers and ultimately to Israel, she herself is hardly typical. As Ravitch himself states, she was one of few women to establish herself as a professional Jewish writer and journalist, first in Yiddish and then in Hebrew, and in so doing was often outspoken, polemical and controversial. Highly versatile, she chronicled the 1919 pogroms in Ukraine and their aftermath, investigated in both fiction and journalism the changing relationships between men and women wrought by the breakup of traditional Jewish life, and sought to create a viable Jewish literature for the immigrant generation in Israel.

Sara N. Evans

Sara Nachamson Evans, the wife of Mayor Emanuel J. Evans, served as the “first lady” of Durham, North Carolina, from 1951 to 1963. Known affectionately as “Miz Evans” by her friends and family, she was, in her own right, a prominent local, regional, and national leader of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization with a national membership of 300,000 Jewish women.

Tamar Eshel

Descended on her mother’s side from a family of Bilu settlers who had come to Palestine in 1882, Tamar Eshel was born in London on July 24, 1920. Her lawyer father, Ze’ev Shoham (b. 1886 in Kurosvany, Russia–d. 1971), had studied at the university in St. Petersburg, where he first met his future wife, Zilla Feinberg (b. 1894 in Jaffa Palestine, d. 1988), before World War I. After the issuing of the Balfour Declaration in 1917 Ze’ev Shoham went via Sweden to London, where he was a member of the World Zionist Executive. Zilla joined him there on completing her studies in agriculture at the University of Berlin and the couple married in 1919, returning to Palestine in 1921. Zilla became a citrus grower in her father’s groves, eventually serving as a leading member of the Association of Citrus Growers in Palestine. A son, David, who was born in 1923, died in 2005. Although Tamar was born in the United Kingdom, Israel’s Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett later had her registered as a native of Israel, since her parents had been abroad as emissaries of the “state-in-the-making.”

Judith G. Epstein

Deeply committed to the establishment and development of the State of Israel, Judith G. Epstein dedicated her career as a social and political activist to Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. She served Hadassah in many leadership roles, including two terms as president. She also attended several meetings of the Zionist World Congress as a delegate, served as a representative to the United Nations, and was largely responsible for funding the Rothschild–Hadassah–University Hospital in Jerusalem.

Emma Lazarus Federation of Jewish Women's Clubs

The Emma Lazarus Federation of Jewish Women’s Clubs (ELF), a progressive women’s group, grew out of the Emma Lazarus Division, founded in 1944 by the Women’s Division of the Jewish People’s Fraternal Order of the International Workers Order (IWO). Formed to provide relief to wartime victims, but especially to combat antisemitism and racism and to nurture positive Jewish identification through a broad program of Jewish education and women’s rights, the Emma Lazarus Division attracted a membership of leftist, largely Yiddish-speaking women, many of the immigrant generation. Among its founders was Clara Lemlich Shavelson, the young woman who had called for the general strike of garment workers that sparked the 1909 Uprising Of The 20,000. Shavelson and other organizers believed that, because of the Holocaust, thousands of women had become “newly aware of themselves as Jewish women,” but they urgently needed “history, self-knowledge as Jews, and cultural products” that could sustain the fight against fascism. In its early years, the division offered fellowships for fiction and history on Jewish themes. It also supported a home for French war orphans and a day nursery in Israel, and championed a broad range of women’s issues.

Emunah

Emunah was founded in 1935 as the Women’s Branch of Ha-Po’el ha-Mizrachi, under the leadership of Tova Sanhedrai-Goldreich, who served the public throughout her life, first as a young woman in Poland, later in Israel, and as the leader of Emunah for more than fifty years. In addition, she served as a member of Lit. "assembly." The 120-member parliament of the State of Israel.Knesset on behalf of the National Religious Party, as well as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, from 1961 to 1974 (the fifth, sixth and seventh Knessets). During the 1960s, the Women’s Branch merged with the Mizrachi Women’s Organization to form the National Religious Women’s Organization, which later assumed the name Emunah.

Elisheva Bichovsky

After making Aliyah in 1925, Elisheva Bichovsky (born in Russia as Elizaveta Zhirkova), helped shape the Yishuv’s literary scene as one of Palestine’s first Hebrew poets. Her 1926 Kos Ketannah and 1929 Simta’ot were, respectively, the first poetry collection and first novel written by a woman to be published in Palestine.

S. Deborah Ebin

S. Deborah Ebin was a national community and Zionist leader who devoted her life to the advancement of Jewish education and Zionist ideals. A dynamic orator, fund-raiser, and world traveler, she was fluent in several languages and versed in the Lit. "teaching," "study," or "learning." A compilation of the commentary and discussions of the amora'im on the Mishnah. When not specified, "Talmud" refers to the Babylonian Talmud.Talmud, making her a formidable figure in American Jewish life.

Rose Dunkelman

A forceful and innovative Zionist leader, Rose Dunkelman came to prominence in Toronto during World War I because of her work for veterans, Jewish war orphans and the Red Cross. Born in Philadelphia to Harry and Dora (Belkin) Miller, at the age of twenty-one she married David Dunkelman (1880–1978), who became one of Canada’s most successful industrialists and retailers. For a short time, she participated in his business activities, chiefly the Associated Clothing Manufacturers and Tip Top Tailors, a chain of stores selling moderately priced clothing across Canada.

Gusta Dawidson Draenger

Gusta Dawidson was born in 1917 in Cracow to an extremely religious family of Gur hasidim. She was a member of the B’nos Ya’akov youth movement of Agudat Israel. After graduating from the local school, she took supplementary courses at a school for foreign languages.

Devorah Dayan

“All the links in the chain of Devorah’s life cast a light of great activity and influence on her surroundings, both near and far. Love of her motherland was the main force behind all her writings (and actions) and intermingled with everything: home, village, motherhood, the farm, teaching new immigrants and their children, the fate of her sons in battle and her bereavement.” Thus Rahel Katznelson-Shazar eulogized the new Hebrew woman as exemplified by Devorah Dayan.

Edis De Philippe

Currently one of the country’s flourishing arts, opera in Israel owes its creation primarily to singer, director, producer and impresario Edis De Philippe, who founded the Israel National Opera Company in 1947 and ran it with an iron hand until her death on July 5, 1979, following brain surgery.

Carrie Dreyfuss Davidson

Founder and longtime editor in chief of Outlook magazine, Carrie Dreyfuss Davidson, born in Brooklyn, New York, on February 12, 1879, exemplified the often competing paradigms of Jewish homemaker and accomplished writer and community leader. Introduced to many in American Jewish society as the wife of renowned professor Israel Davidson of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, this gifted woman eventually founded and fostered an array of significant organizations and publications.

Cuba

The history of Jewish women in Colonial Cuba is still wrapped in mystery. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia (1903): “Jewish women, forcibly baptized, and sent to the West Indies by the Spanish authorities, seem to have been among the early settlers [of Cuba].” The term “Jewish women” in this context needs explanation: In 1492, King Ferdinand (1452–1516) and Queen Isabella (1451–1504) of Spain signed the infamous edict that ordered the expulsion of all professed Jews from their kingdoms.

Rosalie Cohen

I have lived through most of this century and observed all the -isms: Communism, Socialism, Fascism, Nazism, Zionism … only Zionism survives. It has been a great privilege to devote my life to Zionism, the millennial dream of the Jewish people.

Hannah Chizhik

An agricultural teacher and leader of women workers in The Land of IsraelErez Israel, Hannah Chizhik was born in 1889 in Tomashpol (Ukraine).

Phyllis Chesler

Phyllis Chesler, a self-described “radical feminist” and “liberation psychologist,” is a prolific writer, seasoned activist and organizer, and committed Jew and Zionist. Also a psychotherapist and Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies, Chesler is the author of twelve books.

Shulamith Cantor

Shulamith Cantor not only directed the Hadassah School of Nursing in Jerusalem (later the Henrietta Szold Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Nursing), but was a leader and founder of the nursing profession in Palestine during the Mandate for Palestine given to Great Britain by the League of Nations in April 1920 to administer Palestine and establish a national home for the Jewish people. It was terminated with the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.British Mandate Period (1920–1948) and the first years of statehood.

Canada: From Outlaw to Supreme Court Justice, 1738-2005

The positive aspect of the Canadian mosaic has been a strong Jewish community (and other communities) which nurtured traditional ethnic and religious values and benefited from the talent and energy of women and men restrained from participation in the broader society. The negative aspect has included considerable antisemitism and, especially for women, the sometimes stifling narrowness and conservatism of the community which inhibited creative and exceptional people from charting their own individual paths.

Hayuta Busel

One of the outstanding members of the Second Lit. "ascent." A "calling up" to the Torah during its reading in the synagogue.Aliyah (1904–1914), Hayuta Busel believed profoundly in the liberation of Jews, especially women, in the Hebrew language, and in the creation of a new model of family which would facilitate women’s liberation.

Fanny Fligelman Brin

A riveting public speaker, masterful politician, skilled organizer, and administrator, Brin, who served two terms as president of the National Council Of Jewish Women (NCJW), 1932 to 1938, is best remembered for her work on behalf of world peace during the interwar years.

Brazil, Contemporary

The Brazilian Jewish community is the second largest Jewish community in South America and one of the ten largest in the world.

Subscribe to Zionism

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

Can We Talk?

listen now

Get JWA in your inbox