Inside Hadassah : Swartz Center Dedicated and Three Stars Shine
In May and early June, we celebrate Yom Ha’atzma’ut, Israel’s Independence Day, and Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day. Every major set of prayers in Judaism speaks of Jerusalem. In theAmida, for example, we end the prayer with “return in mercy to Jerusalem…rebuild it soon in our own days.” These words move us, and in Hadassah they move us to action. We build institutions such as our newly dedicated $50 million Center for Emergency Medicine. Still glowing with pride from this accomplishment, let’s meet in July at the 91st national convention in Washington. —Ruth G. Cole
Toward True Equality in the Middle East
In most of the Middle East, where laws, traditions and religious fundamentalism have kept women at a disadvantage, the rights of Israeli women are expanding. In the last decade, the Knesset passed more than 100 laws advancing the status of women. Hadassah has ensured that everyone—Jew and Muslim alike—has access to the best health care in the region, including prevention programs and treatment for diseases that particularly affect women. For information, contact Elyons@hadassah.org or 212-451-6236.
What So Proudly We Hail
Plan now to join colleagues and friends in Washington, D.C., from July 17 to 20 for Hadassah’s 91st national convention. Explore critical issues, meet with members of Congress, celebrate Hadassah’s accomplishments, shape dreams into reality—and have some fun.
On Sunday evening the 17th, enjoy witty behind-the-scenes song and dance routines by the Capitol Steps group as they parody the city’s goings-on. Exciting plenaries featuring prominent figures from government, academia, medicine and the press will be held throughout the convention. Monday you’ll choose two of four offered caucuses to highlight issues that state delegates will address with their congressional representatives.
Visit members of Congress on Tuesday’s Day on the Hill. At the evening banquet, see United States Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer and his wife, Sheila, receive the coveted Henrietta Szold Award, bestowed for humanitarian services. And be entertained by world-renowned singer Dudu Fisher.
Mark the date, be part of the action. Contact Hadassah’s convention hotline at 877-790-2676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Dolled Up
Hadassah members in the Greater Detroit area are stuffing dolls to comfort ailing children. The project, now in its 10th year, is spearheaded by Hadassah West Bloomfield. Other chapter programs include education initiatives for young men and women, a cell-phone collection for HAVEN, a battered women’s shelter, health-awareness programs and tutoring for area schools.
So far about 40,300 dolls have been distributed to hospitals in Michigan and Israel. Resembling the gingerbread genre, the adorable little 15- to 26-inch dolls come in a variety of shades denoting skin tone and are dressed in hospital gowns. To participate, contact 248-683-5030 or www.hadassahdet.org.
Young Judaea Camps Mean Social Action
To some, summer is about taking a break from the everyday. But in Young Judaea camps, summer is about learning Jewish values that can be carried into everyday lives. Last year, Camp Young Judaea Sprout Lake in Verbank, New York, initiated its innovative Make a Difference program to teach the young people about responsibility to their communities. The idea was so successful that
everybody is looking forward to participating again in 2005.
Activities ranged from harvesting food for food banks (right) to repairing a homeless shelter. To underscore the many opportunities to help their neighbors, all the projects were in the vicinity of the camp.
“This was a great way to remind the campers that Jewish values are not just about learning, but also about doing,” explains Talia Horan-Block, the camp’s assistant director.
After completing their projects, campers pledged to continue their social involvement back home.
Long after the summer ended, the influence of the camp experiences could still be felt. Taking the values of tikkun olam to a higher level, campers Aliza and Hallel Abramowitz-Silverman, ages 11 and 9, had an idea that inspired the creation of www.WorldManna.org, a nonprofit organization established to fight worldwide hunger.
At Camp Tel Yehudah in Barryville, New York, the Yachad (together) program is also centered on community values. During the summer, campers explore what it means to be part of community and their responsibility to others.
One of the choices offered for the third week of camp is a social action-oriented trip to New York. The high schoolers deliver food to homebound seniors and spend time cleaning up Jewish cemeteries.
“In the New York trip we got to put the sense of community to use in the real world,” says Seth Finkelstein, a participant in 2004.
For Finkelstein, the most interesting and fulfilling part of the trip was delivering food to a homebound World War II veteran, who recounted stories of his experiences during the war. “It was really amazing to connect with somebody who had lived through all of that,” he says.
Volunteering for the Hebrew Free Burial Society showed Finkelstein the value of participating in mitzvot that seem to be less glamorous or not immediately rewarding.
At Camp Judaea in Hendersonville, North Carolina, campers experience the importance of helping by visiting senior facilities and volunteering at a food bank. Even regular camp activities become a means of helping others, as arts and crafts creations are sent to children in Hadassah Hospital or to Israeli soldiers.
At Camp Young Judaea Midwest in Waupeca, Wisconsin, the new Teva (nature) program makes campers aware of how their actions have an impact on their surroundings.
As parents and kids contemplate the camp season nearly here, it’s nice to know that along with the fun and Jewish and Zionist connectedness, there are activities reaching out to help others.
For more information on all the camps, contact 212-303-8014 orwww.youngjudaea.org.
Mission Accomplished: Swartz Center Dedicated
With the Jerusalem hills as a backdrop under a Purim moon, Hadassah celebrated its 93rd birthday by dedicating its newest facility, the Judy and Sidney Swartz Center for Emergency Medicine at the Hadassah–Hebrew University Medical Center at Ein Kerem. National president June Walker (far right) praised the Swartzes at the ceremony. The extraordinarily generous couple hail from Marblehead, Massachusetts, and Delray Beach, Florida.
Israeli-born screen star Natalie Portman presented the first Mordechai Award to Dr. Avi Rivkind, chairman of general surgery and head of the trauma unit at the hospital, for “service to his people” and the courageous measures he took in saving lives and modeling ethical behavior during a difficult period in Israel’s history.
And while the 700-member major-donor mission was celebrating the CEM, The Jerusalem Post reported that the Hadassah Medical Organization has been nominated for a 2005 Nobel Peace Prize for its equitable treatment of all patients, regardless of religious or ethnic background.
The Two Charlottes—A Drama
With 661 members, the majority of whom are life members, the Tamar chapter in Israel is the largest Hadassah group in the Jewish state and the only English-speaking one.
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Tamar group presented The Two Charlottes, written by Nora Glickman and directed by Isaac Benabu, chair of the Department of Theater Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
The play tells the story of Charlotte Salomon, a well-known German Jewish painter, and Charlotte Delbo, a French Christian poet, both of whom were prisoners at Auschwitz. The experience was, in different ways, a fatal blow to each of them.
The Two Charlottes celebrates the lives of both women through their unique creations—art and poetry—each in her own medium, as it attempts to capture their inspiration.
First appearing at the Hadassah College Jerusalem, the play was a successful fund-raiser for financial aid to students at the college. Then it embarked on a triumphant tour of the United Kingdom and the United States—New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Miami. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Hadassah’s Greater Salt Lake chapter recently held an unusual women’s conference culminating in a havdala service with the theme of separating light from darkness. The event was held at the city’s Clark Planetarium for members of the eight-state Mountain region.
“The planetarium,” said chapter president Laura Green, “allowed members to see the end of the Sabbath, when the first three stars appear in the night sky.”
The presentation included the night sky above Jerusalem (below) and other areas of the world where there are Jewish populations, Green said, noting that as far as they knew, this was the first such service held in a planetarium.
Hadassah members—325 in Utah—have expanded their community outreach and fund-raising activities to include help to abused women and initiating Jewish immigrant children into Jewish life in Israel.
Remember—we’ll be looking for you in Washington this summer.