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Rahel Katznelson (Shazar)

(1888 – 1975)

Rahel Katznelson (Shazar) was a leader of the working women's movement in Ereẓ Israel, Hebrew writer, editor, and wife of the third president of the State of Israel, Zalman Shazar. Born in Bobruisk, Belorussia, she studied in Russia and Germany and was active in Jewish working women’s circles.

She settled in Ereẓ Israel in 1912 and worked in agriculture in the Jezreel Valley and Galilee. Raḥel Shazar was active in the women’s labor movement during the Second Aliyah and was the principal speaker during the first women workers’ conventions. With the establishment of Aḥdut ha-Avodah, she became the cultural coordinator of the movement and fulfilled the same post in the Histadrut from its establishment in 1920.

In 1920. she married Zalman Shazar. Throughout her life she was active in the women workers’ movement and carried out various missions abroad on its behalf and for the Histadrut. She edited the central journal of the women's movement, Devar ha-Po'elet (1934–59), and an anthology on its 25th anniversary, Im Pa'amei ha-Dor, 2 vols. (1964). After her husband’s inauguration as president of the state, she shared his work in participating in the various study circles that met in their home.

Raḥel Shazar published her first essays in 1918 and from then contributed to the labor press in Ereẓ Israel. Her articles were collected in two works, Massot u-Reshimot (“Essays and Articles,” 1946) and Al Admat ha-Ivrit (“On the Soil of Hebrew,” 1966). She also published Tenu'at ha-Po'elet, Mifaleha u-She'ifoteha (“The Projects and Aspirations of the Women Workers' Movement,” 1941) and She-Livvuni ve-Einan, essays on women active in public life (1969).


Z. Katznelson, in: La-Merḥav (May 20, 1968); I. Harari, Ishah va-Em be-Yisrael (1959), 358–60; D. Sadan, Bein Din le-Ḥeshbon (1963), 364–9; Kressel, Leksikon, 2 (1967), 904–5.

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.