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Golda Meir (Goldie Meyerson) Encourages the Jewish Pioneer Women’s Organization
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May the spirit of Chalutziut [pioneering] from Palestine spur you on to even greater results

GOLDA MEIR. Autograph Document Signed, draft telegram, in English, on verso of blank American Honor Roll certificate for the Palestine Labor Maritime Company, c. 1938. 2 pp., 4 x 8½ in.

Inventory #23945       Price: $1,400

Complete Transcript

Pioneer Women’s Org. Congress

Very sorry because of appointment arranged before my arrival I cannot be with you stop  My sincerest best wishes and admiration for your splendid work stop  May the spirit of Chalutziut[1] from Palestine spur you on to even greater results stop  Shalom will try to come if only possible

Goldie.

<2>

[Nachson Ltd. Palestine Labor Maritime Company letterhead]

AMERICAN HONOR ROLL

Wishing to contribute to the Maritime development of Palestine and thus to participate with others in the upbuilding of the country, I hereby agree to forward the sum of $___________, for which I am to receive _________ certificates of the Nachshon enterprise. One certificate will be issued for each $5.50 received.

I enclose herewith the sum of ____________ and the balance will be forwarded by me not later than ________________, 1938.

[Blanks for name, addresses, and telephone numbers]

Historical Background

As a committed Zionist, Golda Meir supported the goals of the Pioneer Women’s Organization to aid Jewish women settlers in Palestine. The Council of Women Workers sent Meir as an emissary to the United States in 1928-1929 and from 1932 to 1934, and she regularly toured Pioneer Women clubs in cities around the United States, where she promoted the Zionist cause. She later recalled of the Pioneer Women, “Suspicious of frivolity, it was a long time before the earnest women tolerated purely social gatherings where the ladies might play bridge instead of listening to a lecture on A.D. Gordon, Borochov or other socialist Zionist theoreticians.” According to the head of the Pioneer Women from 1942 to 1945, Meir and other leaders of the women workers’ movement in Palestine “were really the soul of the organization.” “Around them,” she continued, “there was such a holy feeling! They were the ones who gave (Pioneer Women) content, who gave it wings, who gave it imagination.” By 1939, Pioneer Women had 170 chapters in seventy cities with approximately 7,000 members.

On February 24, 1938, Meir spoke at the Jewish Community Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In May, Meir spoke to an annual meeting of the Pioneer Women at the Pfister hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which may be the Congress to which Meir refers in the telegram.

In July 1938, Meir attended the Évian Conference in France, where delegates from thirty-two countries met to discuss the future of 450,000 European Jews escaping Nazi persecution by fleeing to Palestine. President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent businessman and close friend Myron C. Taylor to represent the United States. Meir was only an observer at the conference, not a delegate.

Golda Mabovitch Meyerson (Meir) (1898-1978) was a signer of Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Born in Kiev, she lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1906-1921), then settled in Palestine and took up social work, becoming a leading figure in the Labor Movement. She married Morris Myerson in 1917, and they immigrated to Palestine, where she had two children. In 1928, she became secretary of the Women Workers Council and moved to Tel Aviv with her children. In 1948, she returned to the United States to raise money from the American Jewish community to support the new nation of Israel. She served as Israeli Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1948-49) and then was elected to the Knesset. She served as Minister of Labor from 1949 to 1956, when at David Ben-Gurion’s insistence, she adopted the more Hebrew-sounding Meir as a surname. Ben-Gurion appointed her as Foreign Minister, a position she held until 1966. In spite of intentions to retire, she became Israel’s Prime Minister in 1969. In 1973, many blamed her for the devastation of the Yom Kippur War, forcing her to resign in 1974.

Pioneer Women’s Organization of America (1925-present) was created by Sophie Udin and six other women who had been active in the labor Zionist organization Po’alei Zion to appeal to immigrant, working-class, and Yiddish-speaking women Zionists. In 1947, the organization became Pioneer Women, and in 1981 Na’amat (a Hebrew acronym for “Movement of Working Women and Volunteers”). After 1948, the organization focused on helping female pioneers and working women in Israel.


[1] Chalutziut (halutziut) is pioneering, specifically the pioneer movement in Palestine.


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