Professor Hana Safrai, a leader in the Orthodox Feminist Movement in Israel and a beloved teacher in the HUC-JIR Israel Rabbinic Program, has died in Jerusalem. Her funeral took place immediately following that of HUC-JIR Professor Rabbi Ben Hollander.
Safrai was born in Jerusalem in 1946. After studies at the Hebrew University, she became the first principal of the Judith Lieberman Institute. Safrai completed a Doctorate at the University of Utrecht and continued to teach in the Netherlands following her research.
A natural linguist, Safrai showed mastery of Hebrew, English, Armenian, Dutch, German, and Ancient Greek. She worked closely with Professor David Flusser, and was deeply involved in inter-religious dialogue. She was affiliated with the Hartman Institute, the Hebrew University, and, during her last years, with the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem. She had been working on a monumental project a new interpretation of the Mishna along with her late father and her brother, both noted experts.
A founder of the Kolech movement for Orthodox feminists, she was a pioneer amongst traditional Jewish women, and a renowned and beloved teacher.