Zionism

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Shoshana Werner

Shoshana Warner was appointed as the second commanding officer of the Women’s Corps (see “CHEN:” Women’s Corps of the Israel Defense Forces) in 1949. In 1942, after some years of membership in the Haganah, she was among the first sixty-six women who volunteered for the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) of the British Army.

Rosa Welt-Straus

In 1878, she received her medical degree and was one of the first women in Europe to practice medicine. Rosa Welt, together with one of her sisters, immigrated to the United States, where she worked for many years as an eye surgeon in New York in the eye hospital and also in the eye clinic at the Women’s Hospital. In addition to her professional work, Welt-Straus was active in the struggle for women’s suffrage in New York and a partner in forming the International Woman Suffrage Alliance founded by Carrie Chapman-Catt.

Vera Weizmann

A Zionist and a physician, Vera Weizmann was also Israel's first "First Lady."

Trude Weiss-Rosmarin

Trude Weiss-Rosmarin was one of the foremost Jewish intellectuals of the twentieth century. She was the editor of the Jewish Spectator, author of many books, and a woman of intense passions and commitment to Jewish life, with very strong and often provocative opinions. A dynamic speaker backed by broad-ranging Jewish scholarship and a prodigious memory, she was a popular lecturer at synagogues and Jewish centers across the United States and a foremost critic of American Jewish life and institutions.

Helen Weil

These words, written by Helen Weil, illuminate her sensitivity and commitment to older people that she developed during a long and active career in gerontology and social services.

Charlotte Wardi

Charlotte Wardi, professor of French and comparative literature at the University of Haifa—and for a time general inspector of French-language instruction in Israel—was born in Cologne on September 21, 1928 and brought to France at the age of five months.

Rose Viteles

Rose Viteles, an immigrant from the United States, was a member of the Haganah committee in Jerusalem during the 1930s. She founded the first Magen David Adom in the city, raised funds for the purchase of arms and, during the Arab uprising of 1936, supplied daily meals to thousands of Haganah volunteers. From 1934 to 1940, she served as de facto treasurer of the Haganah in Jerusalem, increasing its income twentyfold.

Lia Van Leer

Pioneer in the field of art film programming and film archiving in Israel, Lia van Leer was the founder of the Haifa Cinematheque, the Jerusalem Cinematheque, the Israel Film Archive and the Jerusalem Film Festival.

Union of Hebrew Women for Equal Rights in Erez Israel

The Union of Hebrew Women for Equal Rights in Erez Israel which led the fight for women’s suffrage until 1926, continued to work for full and equal political, legal and economic rights for women until the establishment of the State in 1948, when it merged with the WIZO organization.

Turkey: Ottoman and Post Ottoman

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, far-reaching changes took place in the Ottoman Empire in the political, social and geopolitical spheres.

Zelda Nisanilevich Treger

Zelda Treger belonged to the Nekamah (Vengeance) battalion, the Jewish unit under the command of Abba Kovner (1918–1987). As a courier, she was continuously sent to the city to obtain weapons, medicines, information on the army’s movements and even on rescue missions from the labor camp. Together with her fellow partisans, Treger participated in the liberation of Vilna.

Sarah Thon

As a child in Galicia, her father ensured that Sarah Thon would receive a good education despite the family's poverty. As an adult in Palestine, she established a network of lace-making schools around the country to provide a source of livelihood to hundreds of girls from destitute families.

Hannah Thon

Hannah (Helena) Thon was a social worker, journalist and editor, a student of Israel’s ethnic communities and one of the leading figures in the women’s voluntary social-welfare organizations during the Yishuv (pre-State) period in Israel.

Hannah Szenes (Senesh)

One of the more poignant songs included in many Holocaust memorial convocations held in Israel, is a short poem, set to music, known popularly as “Eli, Eli.” The four-line poem, actually entitled “Walking to Caesarea,” was written by one of the more mythological figures in contemporary Jewish and Israeli history, Hannah Szenes, whose short life and death have propelled her into the pantheon of Zionist history.

Hasya Sukenik-Feinsod

Hasya Sukenik-Feinsod, one of the first kindergarten teachers in Palestine and among the earliest to fight for equal rights for women in the Yishuv, received her professional training in Berlin and devoted all her time and energies to the development of kindergartens in Palestine.

Suffrage in Palestine

The building of an egalitarian Jewish society in pre-state Israel was a keystone of the Zionist plan in general and of its socialist component in particular. The question of women’s suffrage arose locally, in every community, and in some communities women even succeeded in being elected.

Rivka Sturman

Rivka Sturman was a pioneer in creating Israeli folk dance and established the style and character of the genre. Her goal was to culturally unite the immigrants who had come to Palestine but had retained the dances of their old nations. For forty years she choreographed the development of Israeli folk dance and spearheaded programs to help it become a part of Israel’s national identity.

Rahel Straus

Rahel Goitein Straus, one of the pioneering women medical doctors trained in Germany, can serve as a model precursor to the “New Jewish Women” of the twentieth century. Successfully combining a career as a physician with marriage and motherhood, she adhered to traditional Jewish values, while also embracing feminist and Zionist ideals.

Eva Michaelis Stern

Eva Michaelis Stern was the co-founder and director of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft fuer Kinder und Jugendalijah, the fund-raising arm of Youth Aliyah in Germany, during the 1930s, and director of the Youth Aliyah office in London during the critical years of World War II. After her retirement from Youth Aliyah, she devoted twenty years to caring for the mentally handicapped in Israel.

Judith Steiner-Freud

Judith Steiner-Freud, herself a graduate of the Henrietta Szold Hadassah School of Nursing, became the director of her alma mater, as well as deputy dean of nursing in the medical faculty of Hadassah and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and thus had an important influence on the development of nursing education and practice in Israel.

Hannah Stein

Hannah Stein’s life was devoted to advocating for the rights of disadvantaged women and their children. She served for 14 years as the executive director of the National Council of Jewish Women and worked in cooperation with other advocacy groups such as the National Council of Negro Women and the United Church Women to establish the Women in Community Service (WICS) coalition.

Sports in Germany: 1898-1938

From the 1890s, despite fierce resistance, German women increasingly participated in gymnastics, games and other sporting activities.

Ruth Sperling

Born into a family with a strong Zionist tradition and pioneer spirit, Ruth Sperling has kept this thread firmly woven through a life dedicated to scientific research. Ruth Sperling's most important scientific achievement was her co-discovery, with her husband, of the 3-D structure of spliceosomes, the cell's "machinery" for chopping up and re-attaching pieces of DNA to create its requisite assortment of functional proteins.

Dora Spiegel

Dora Spiegel rendered distinguished service in many fields: in the organization of league sisterhoods, in education, and in publications that stimulated women’s loyalty to the synagogue and the Jewish home. She helped found the Women’s Institute of Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and influenced the lives of countless Jewish women and children.

Bertha Solomon

Bertha Solomon was one of the first women’s rights activists in South Africa. At first as a practicing advocate of the Supreme Court and then during her long career in parliament, she was indefatigable in her fight for women to be treated as equals in the eyes of the law.

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