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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Rachel Katznelson

b. 1885, Bobruysk, Russia; d. 1975, Jerusalem

Rachel Katznelson emigrated to Palestine in 1912 along with thousands of Russians fleeing pogroms and virulent anti-Semitism. Like many of these emigrés, she was inspired by an amalgam of socialist and zionist ideals and, in 1915, co-founded the Working Women’s Movement in the Galilee. Committed to the encouragement of women’s cultural expression, in 1930 she edited the pioneering anthology D’var Ha-Poelet (The Working Woman Speaks), which evolved into a monthly magazine of writings by women. Katznelson served on many cultural committees for workers and contributed to the formation of a working-class perspective in the public education system. As a literary critic, she focused on Hebrew writers such as Chaim Nachman Bialik, helping to solidify the modern revival of Hebrew. After her husband, Zalman Shazar, became president of the state of Israel in 1963, Katznelson continued her work with Jewish women’s organizations.