Sarah Bavly

As one of the chief nutritionists and dieticians of Palestine and the emerging State of Israel, Sarah Bavly had to improvise workable plans for everything from offering school lunches to feeding boatloads of refugees. Bavly earned an MS in chemistry from the University of Amsterdam in 1925 and took and extra year to study nutrition and economics before immigrating to Palestine. Once there, she began teaching nutrition and chemistry at the WIZO agricultural school in Nahalal and the Hadassah Hospital in Tel Aviv. After a year of further training in New York in 1928, Bavly became chief dietician for Hadassah’s five hospitals as well as its school lunch program in 1929. Over the next several years, she trained the public in proper nutrition, sent food to Haganah outposts and camps for new immigrants, and weathered riots and attacks, all with limited staff and budget. After a brief hiatus in 1947 to earn a PhD from Columbia, she returned to Jerusalem. In 1953 she established a College of Nutrition and Home Economics with a rigorous two-year program for teacher training, and served as director and dean until her retirement in 1965. She was declared an honorary Citizen of Jerusalem in 1984 for her years of service.


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Dutch-born Sarah Bavly (1900 – 1993) was a pioneer nutritionist in the Yishuv who laid the groundwork for Israel's nutritional infrastructure and educational programming, directing Hadassah's hospital nutrition departments and school lunch programs, and establishing the State's first College of Nutrition.

Institution: Miriam Bavly.

Date of Birth


Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Sarah Bavly." (Viewed on January 20, 2020) <>.


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