Halpern,Ayana (2019): 'Social Work Pioneers in Mandatory Palestine: Forgotten Women and Professional Traditions'

This is an introductory biographical chapter which describes the main social workers, the ones that were excluded from history, with emphasis on the Jewish-German and Zionist influences upon them. 

This article explores three biographies of Jewish-German social workers in Mandatory Palestine, focusing on their professional perspectives. In Israel, the importance of woman who have contributed substantially to social work development and their pre-immigration German heritage have been relegated to the margins. This article fills this gap by marking these women as a unique group worthy of study and highlights their important contribution to the profession, both locally and internationally. The findings indicate how together with the transnational transfer of knowledge from the Jewish community in Germany to the one in Palestine, social workers created a new profession affected by their value system, aiming to be Zionist and universal at the same time.

Based on a qualitative analysis of Hebrew and German primary texts and secondary literature, several leitmotifs guiding the Jewish social workers in Palestine have been found: the German-Jewish tradition that represented the past, the Zionist ideology that represented the future, and the encounter with a diverse immigrant population in a new geopolitical reality that represented the present.


Halpern A (2019). ‘Social Work Pioneers in Mandatory Palestine: Forgotten Women and Professional Traditions', In Gal J & Holler R (Eds.), Not Charity but Justice: Historical chapters of Social Work in Israel. Ben Gurion University press (Hebrew).