Benjamin Akzin was born in Riga, Latvia in 1904. In 1922, while at university in Vienna, he was among the founders of Hechaver, the Zionist student movement in Eastern Europe. In 1925 he joined the Revisionist Zionist Alliance and served as a member of its executive committee in Austria, as a member of the presidential committee of the New Zionist Association, and as head of its political department. Between 1926 and 1928, Akin prepared his thesis for a doctorate in law from the University of Paris. In 1949 he immigrated to Israel in order to teach at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as a professor of political science and constitutional law. He was awarded the chair in political science, named after Lord Herbert Samuel, the first Jewish high commissioner in Palestine. In 1950-1954 Akzin served as chairman of the Israel Political Science Association, and he also served twice as dean of the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University (1951-1954 and 1961-1963). Akzin’s publications examined aspects of public administration, the regime and statehood, and relations with Diaspora Jewry. In 1967 Akzin was awarded the Israel Prize for the Legal Sciences in recognition of his academic work. He was among the founders of Haifa University and served as its first rector. Professor Akzin passed away in 1985.
Menachem Elon was born in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1924. Between 1938 and 1945 he studied at Hebron Yeshiva in Jerusalem and was ordained as a rabbi. Toward the end of his yeshiva studies he began to study law at the High School of Law and Economics in Tel Aviv. He completed his studies in 1948 and received a license to practice law. From 1950 to 1954 Elon studied at the Faculty of the Humanities of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and from 1955 through 1962 he served as a senior assistant to the attorney and as a special consultant on Jewish law to the Ministry of Justice. In 1956 Elon began to teach family law and Jewish law at the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University. After receiving his doctorate in law from the university in 1962, he was awarded the chair of Jewish law. In 1963 he founded the Institute for Jewish Law and in 1972 he received the title of professor. In 1977 Elon was appointed to the Supreme Court, and in 1979 he received the Israel Prize. Elon published numerous books and articles, mainly in the field of Jewish law. In his work as a justice and as deputy president of the Supreme Court, he worked diligently to enrich Israeli law and to integrate aspects of Jewish law. This approach reflected his belief that, as he put it, Jewish law could bring a fresh and reviving spirit to Israeli law as it confronted contemporary problems. Professor Elon passed away in 2013
Ze’ev Falk was born in Breslau, Germany in 1923. He began to attend the law classes provided by the British Mandate government in 1945 and completed his degree at the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Falk received his license to practice law in 1951, and in the same year he also completed a master’s degree in law. In 1952 he completed an additional master’s degree in Talmud, international relations, and Jewish history at the Hebrew University, and in 1959 he completed a doctorate in philosophy. From 1970 Falk served as a professor at the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research initially focused on the history of Jewish law, but he later concentrated on the philosophy of Halacha, attempting to find new meanings that would enable Halachic rulings to provide solutions for modern problems. In 1955-1956 Falk served as the legal advisor to the Ministry of Welfare and the Interior Ministry. Prof. Falk established the International Society of Family Law and served as its first chairperson. In 1996 he was awarded the title of Worthy Citizen of Jerusalem. He passed away in 1998.
Nathan Feinberg was born in 1895 in Kovne (Kaunas), Lithuania. He studied law at the universities of Berlin and Zurich and received his doctor’s degree in law in 1918. He immigrated to Palestine in 1924 but continued to be active on the international academic scene. In 1928, for example, he traveled to Switzerland to specialize in international law, and some two years later he also received accreditation from the Institute for International Sciences at Geneva university, where he worked as a lecturer in international law through the end of 1933. Feinberg was a central figure in the establishment of the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and following the opening of the Faculty he was appointed a lecturer in international law and international relations at the university. In 1950-1951 he served as the first dean of the Faculty. Prof. Feinberg published numerous articles on legal and political subjects in journals and newspapers in Israel and around the world, writing in Hebrew, German, French, and Lithuanian. He received several awards for his work, including the title of Worthy Citizen of Jerusalem, and he served as an honorary member of the Institute for International Law. Feinberg passed away in 1988.
Shneur-Zalman Feller was born in Botoşani, Romania in 1913. He completed his academic studies in 1936 at the Faculty of Law of Cuza University in Yaşi, Romania. In 1945, after fleeing from Romania during the Second World War, he returned to his hometown and worked as an attorney. He also served as chairperson of the Jewish community and as deputy mayor. In 1948 he was appointed an investigative judge in Bucharest, and he later served as the head of Romania’s Legislative Department. In 1963 the authorities approved his request to emigrate to Israel. In 1965 Feller joined the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University, serving as dean in the years 1971-1974. He published a large number of books, articles, and case law comments in legal journals in Israel and around the world, and had a crucial influence over the drafting of amendment 39 to the penal code. Feller won many prizes for his legal work, including the Yoel Sussman Prize for Legal Research in 1984. He was awarded the Zeltner Prize in 1994 and the Israel Prize for Legal Research in 1994.
Ruth Gavison was born in Jerusalem in 1945. She completed her bachelor’s degree in law cum laude from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After interning at the Supreme Court with Justice Benjamin Halevy, she received her license to practice law and began to study for a master’s degree in law at the Hebrew University, while also undertaking undergraduate studies in economics and philosophy. In 1971 she began doctorate studies in the philosophy of law at Oxford University, under the supervision of the British scholar H.L.A. Hart. Her doctorate research examined the legal protection of privacy. In 1974 Gavison joined the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, heading the H. Cohen Chair of Human Rights. Her studies examine issues touching on the relationship between law and morality; issues of religion and state; the nature of law and the relationship between law and the role of the judge; and diverse issues from the field of public law. Gavison is a leading scholar in the field of law and society and a pioneer in the struggle for civil rights in Israel. She was one of the founders of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and served as the association’s chairperson and president. Gavison has received numerous prizes over her many years of legal work, including the Zeltner Prize for Legal Research, the Avi Chai Prize (for her work on the new social covenant between observant and non-observant Jews in Israel), a prize from the Movement for Tolerance, an Emet (Art-Science-Culture) prize in the legal and social sciences category, and the Israel Prize for Legal Research (2011).
Shalev Ginossar joined the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1951 and served as dean in the years 1954-1956 and 1963-1967. During the course of a wide-reaching legal career, Ginossar’s writings examined diverse fields, including civil and criminal legal proceedings, the laws of evidence, property law, the laws of obligations, commercial law, professional ethics, the laws of damages, the laws of unlawful enrichment, and the structure of the Israeli legal system. Ginossar received the Belgian Order of the Crown. He taught at the Faculty of Law until 1971 and passed away in 1984.
Steve Goldstein was born in Philadelphia, where he acquired an education and gained extensive legal experience. In 1976 he left a promising legal career in order to immigrate to Israel. He joined the Faculty of Law and specialized in civil law proceedings and comparative law. His writing exposed fascinating issues relating to the basic principles of government and law, key issues in the field of legal proceedings, judicial authority, structural problems in the courts, the functioning of the appeals court, the roles of the judge and attorney, the status of foreign states as litigants in the Israeli courts, and class action suits. Goldstein served as director of the Harry and Michael Sacker Institute for Legislative Research and Comparative Law, edited the Israel Law Review, and served as dean of the Faculty from 1987 to 1990. Prof. Goldstein passed away in 2009.
Eliyahu Heron was born in Czernowitz (Chernivtsi), Romania and immigrated to Israel as a child. He acquired his legal education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he completed a master’s degree and a doctorate. He was appointed a lecturer at the Faculty in 1963 and headed the Sylvan M. Cohen Chair of Laws of Evidence and Criminal Procedure. After teaching civil law proceedings for a year, he chose to concentrate on the law of evidence and criminal law procedure – fields that have remained his focus of interest throughout his years as a teacher at the Faculty. Prof. Hernon served as a member of the criminal law proceedings committees headed by Justice Eliahu Matza and President Miriam Naor. His research in these fields has left a profound mark, leading to a far-reaching revolution in terms of the right to representation and other aspects of criminal justice in Israel.
Yitzhak Klinghoffer was born in Galicia in 1905 and acquired doctorate degrees in political science and law from Vienna University. After the Nazis came to power he fled to France, and in 1941 he escaped to Brazil. In 1955 he immigrated to Israel and was invited to teach and engage in research work at the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Klinghoffer laid the foundations for administrative law in Israel and served as dean of the Faculty of Law from 1959 to 1961. He specialized in constitutional law, administrative law, international law, and the theory of law. After his retirement from the university, he was among the founders of the Liberal Party, serving as a Member of Knesset for the party in the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Knesset. As a parliamentarian he campaigned to promote personal rights and drafted a proposed constitution for Israel. Prof. Klinghoffer also served as legal advisor to the comptroller for the defense system in 1975-1976 and as the first president of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel in the years 1976-1982. He was awarded the Zeltner Prize in 1988. Prof. Klinghoffer passed away in 1990.
Levontin was born in Tel Aviv in 1922. He studied at the High School of Law and Economics, specializing in Arabic and Egyptian Islamic culture. During the 1940s he studied law at the University of London. He wrote his doctorate thesis in the field of public international law at Harvard University. During the course of his professional career, Levontin worked for a brief period as an attorney in Israel and received a license to practice law in England. He also served as a member of the Israeli delegation to the United Nations. Despite his strong interest in both private practice and diplomacy, he was among the founding staff of the Faculty of Law in 1949, serving as dean of the Faculty in 1958-1959. Levontin taught a range of subjects at the Faculty, including the laws of penalization, the laws of obligations, property law, the theory of law, and British law, though his primary research interest was in private international law. In addition to his extensive knowledge in all fields of law, Levontin also maintained a strong interest in the natural sciences, national and social life, and international relations.
Shmuel Shilo was born in New York in 1936. He completed his doctorate degree in law at the Hebrew University under the supervision of Prof. Menachem Elon, joining the Faculty of Law in 1970. As a Faculty member, Shilo has specialized in Jewish law and inheritance law, serving over the years as head of the Institute for the Study of Jewish Law. He also served as head of the Yaakov Herzog College in Alon Shvut. In 1973 Shilo was awarded the Ben Meir Prize for the study of Jewish law.
Gad Tedeschi was born in Rovigo, Italy in 1907. He studied law at the University of Rome, receiving his doctorate in 1928. I the years 1930-1936 he served as a lecturer of law at various Italian universities. In 1936 he was appointed professor of civil law at the University of Sienna. In 1939 he was dismissed from his post at the university following the adoption of race laws in Italy and he immigrated to Israel. He went on to devote himself to the study of domestic civil law – firstly the law of Mandate Palestine and later that of the State of Israel. In 1941 he became a member of the faculty of the Hebrew University, and in 1949 he was appointed professor at the Faculty of Law, which was founded in the same year. In Italy he had already gained a name for himself thanks to his studies in the field of law, and his books were published in numerous editions. Tedeschi’s articles and ideas shaped Israeli private law. He was the leading spirit behind the Interpretation of Contract Law and the Interpretation of Damages Law and he contributed significantly to the process of civil codification. In 1954 he was awarded the Israel Prize for Law, and in 1961 he was selected as a member of the Israel National Academy of the Sciences. He later declined an offer from the justice minister to serve as a Supreme Court. In a letter to the minister, he explained that he preferred to devote all his time to the teaching and study of law. Prof. Tedeschi passed away in 1992.
Joshua Weissman was born in Jerusalem in 1931. After completing his military service he began to study for a master’s degree at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, graduating cum laude in 1954. He went on to work as teaching assistant to Prof. Avigdor Levontin while also working at a law firm. After completing his first year of doctorate studies at the University of London, Weisman was invited to return to Israel to teach Property Law at the Tel Aviv annex of the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Law (which later became the Faculty of Law of Tel Aviv University). Weisman completed his doctorate studies in 1963 at the Faculty of Law in Jerusalem and then joined the Faculty as a lecturer. In the years 1981-1984 he served as dean of the Faculty of Law. Weisman was one of the first lecturers on Property Law in Israel to engage in research into Israeli legislation in this field, including the Land Law, 5729-1969, in whose enactment Weisman was himself involved. He also specializes in Copyright Law and initiated the establishment of the Israel Copyright Association, the Israeli branch of the International Literary and Artistic Association (ALAI). Over the years Weisman has headed professional committees in the Ministry of Justice and served as a member of the Private Law Codification Committee. He has published dozens of books and articles in Hebrew, English, an French. In 2001 Weisman was awarded the Israel Prize for Legal Research, and in 2007 he received the title of Worthy Citizen of Jerusalem.
Reuven Yaron was born in 1924 in Vienna, Austria. He studied in the first class at the Faculty of Law of the Hebrew University and wrote his doctorate thesis at the University of Oxford. In 1957 he joined the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and in 1968 he was appointed a professor. In the years 1967-1971 Yaron served as dean of the Faculty of Law. During this period the Faculty moved into the renovated campus on Mt. Scopus, becoming the first faculty at the university to return to the institution’s original buildings. Yaron specialized in the study of the history of law in ancient times and taught Roman and ancient Far Eastern law. In addition to his research activities, Yaron filled various public positions, including director of the National and University Library at Givat Ram, chairperson of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, and state archivist. Prof. Yaron passed away in 2014.
Prof. Aaron Yoran, an alumni of the Faculty of Law and the Department of Economics at the Hebrew University Summa Cum Laude from 1965, continued for graduate studies at Columbia University and Harvard University.
In 1971, Prof. Yoran joined the teaching faculty at the Faculty of Law as an expert on tax and business law, and published many books and articles on tax, companies, securities and banking. Among his functions at the Faculty, Prof. .Yoran served as the head of the Harry and Michael Sacher Institute for Legislative Research and Comparative Law.