Sara Schenirer (1883-1935)

Born on 3rd July 1883 in Krakow, Sara Schenirer,  daughter of Becalel and Roza, née Lach, was an educational and social activist and a founder of  the Bajs Jakow school.

According to Sean Martin, Schenirer, who grew up in a religious sprit, dreamed about secular education, which, at that time, was unavailable for a Jewish female.  Since she had no opportunity to expand her knowledge of secular subjects, she audited courses ran in Polish by Polish educational female activists. Inspired by Rabbi Flesch, whom she met in Vienna, Sara Schenirer founded a girls-only school in 1917, located in Krakow, św.Katarzyny 1. Over time, the school had expanded. Despite the school’s profile being in juxtaposition with the role of a woman in traditional Jewish families, it had lots of supporters in the community, including senator Mojzesz Deutscher.  A few years down the line, Schenirer realised that there were not enough Jewish women who could teach girls and set up a teacher-training college located at św. Stanisława 10. In 1937 alone, the college had 120 students. Schenirer ‘s activity had many followers and  in 1937 , there were approximately 250 Bajs Jakow schools globally. Thanks to her pionier role in education, she was called ”The Mother of Israel”.

Sara Schenirer died on 1st March 1935 in Krakow. She was buried at the new Jewish cemetery in Podgorze where a matzeva  was placed in 2004.