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Judith Cohen Montefiore

(18th - 19th Century)

Judith Cohen Montefiore was known for her social influence and generosity throughout the Jewish community. She married Moses Montefiore in 1812, and together they became two of the most well known members of the Jewish elite.

While they participated in the upper-class Christian society in London, they also spent much of their time and earnings on Jewish causes. The Montefiores helped to fund the first settlement for farming in Israel. The couple traveled to Israel several times and were always well received on their visits there. Judith herself was acknowledged even by the most observant of rabbis and was honored by taking part in Shabbat services - an act that most women were not permitted to do.

Judith was also a member of the board of the Jews' Orphan Society and the Ladies' Loan and Visiting Society, and she was given the title Lady Montefiore when her husband, Moses, was knighted by Queen Victoria. Judith Cohen Montefiore died in 1862, and in her honor, Moses Montefiore opened the Judith Lady Montefiore College at Ramsgate, England. She is remembered as a generous and inspiring leader among the Jewish community, and especially within the State of Israel.

Sources: The JPS Guide to Jewish Women