Hoffert-Horani, Dr. Mirjam (born Fassbender, Maria)

מרים הופרט-חורני
Mirjam Hoffert (married Horani) was born on 13.10.1897 in Jaslo, Poland and died 1980 in Tel-Aviv. In her youth she was a member of the Warsaw branch of “Hashomer Hatzair". She recounts that this experience, in helping the needy later led her to study psychology and pedagogy at the University of Vienna. She was inspired by the ideas prevalent in social pedagogy at the time, and she chose to write her PhD dissertation on the psychological principles in the work of the Swiss educator Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. First, she attended the Jewish pedagogical seminar held by Zvi Peretz Chajes. Secondly, she studied psychotherapy at the Freud institute under the instruction of Anna Freud and Siegfried Bernfeld. But Hoffert was restless and returned to Warsaw studying the unique methods of working with orphan children developed by Janusz Korczak. Hoffert's first practical experience was as a pedagogical coordinator at the Jewish orphan house for girls in Vienna. After registering at the Alice Salomon school in 1926, she undertook her internship with drug and alcohol addicts, based on her former training in psychotherapy. After her graduation in 1928, she ran a social club for children with behavioral problems, the Kinderbeobachtungsstation, at the Charité hospital in Berlin. In 1933, soon after the rise of the Nazis and her dismissal, Hoffert emigrated to Palestine. She was sent by Dr Mordechai Brachyahu to treat and diagnose children with behavioral problems in a family clinic, where she applied psychoanalytic ideas. Then, she was invited by Henrietta Szold, the leader of the Hadassah movement and the initiator of social services in the Jewish community in Palestine, to work at the welfare department for German Jews in Tel-Aviv. Later, the department also began to treat immigrants from other non-European countries, such as Yemenite Jews, and was renamed “the social services for the Jewish immigrant” (the Oleh). After the establishment of Israel in 1948, Hoffert was asked to run the department, and was in charge of social work in the Ma'abarot. In 1954 she was one of the founders of the “Aluma Center”, which provided affordable subsidized family therapy for all classes. Mirjam Hoffert continued to support an international perspective, one that sought to exchange knowledge with other countries, even after her settlement in Palestine. In 1947, she took part in missions travelling to aid Holocaust survivors in refugee camps in Cyprus, and in 1952 she was sent by the Ministry of Welfare to the United States to expand her knowledge on the practice of community social work. Between 1953 and 1962 she founded and headed the community social work department in the Ministry of Welfare, and in doing so, introduced new social work approaches within the ministry, while again exchanging knowledge with peers from various countries, such as India.53 In 1961 she headed the Israeli social work school, established in Kenya – “the Kenya-Israel school for rural social workers at Machakos” – a diplomatic project that aimed to strengthen the local population and promote Kenyan independence. After her retirement, Hoffert continued to work on a voluntary basis, consulting the public housing organization “Amidar”, the official worker's union, and elderly care services. Additionally, she established a community theatre project for endangered youth, and in 1978 she was part of the committee which organized the international summit for social work held in Israel. Little is known on her private life, besides that she was married in 1934 to Yaacov Horani, a Zionist pioneer, and that the couple did not have children. Every year, the Mirjam Hoffert Award is given to pioneering and innovative projects by the Israeli Social Work Union.
Feiga Hoffert (born Müller)
Naftalie Hoffert
Abraham Hoffert
She was married to Yaacov Horani. They had no children.
Age at Migration
Year of Migration
Archival Materials
Alice-Salomon-Archives, Berlin (C2.10); Barkan private archive (Israel); Israel state archive; CZA; Petach-Tikva archive (008.005-1); Nahalal archive (16-05)
Other Sources
Nechama Marshuk (relative) in Israel; articles in Israeli Journals (Saad, Dvar hapoelet); Jpress (daily Hebrew press); Papers of Ayana and Stefan, paper of Dr Elisheva Sadan, paper of John; Hebrew wikipedia page