Inside Hadassah: Celebrating Our Men, Building for the Future
February ushers in Tu Bishvat, the new year for trees, but the greening of the land is not our only reason to celebrate. We also toast the anniversary of our Hadassah Associates and their great contributions. Let us also note that our Children-at-Risk initiative is helping needy kids in Israel celebrate their birthdays. We are delighted, too, that so much progress is being made in our building and healing activities at Hadassah’s medical center at Ein Kerem. Yes, there is much to celebrate as we nurture the seeds of a bright future for generations to come. B’shalom.
For a child there are few thrills in life to compare with the excitement of being the center of attention at one’s very own birthday party. But when a family has limited resources, sometimes throwing a party just isn’t an option.
With a sizeable grant from Hadassah’s Children-at-Risk program and financial assistance from individual donors, Birthday Angels (www.birthday-angels.org) has enabled more than 1,000 Israeli children to invite friends and classmates to celebrate their special day at a party for the first time.
The project—which won the coveted Menachem Begin Award for service to Israeli society two years in a row—is the initiative of former Young Judaean Ruthie Sobel Luttenberg, who made aliya after spending a year in Israel on Year Course.
Birthday Angels provides a kit of materials for a party that is run by college students who volunteer to mentor disadvantaged children through the Weizmann Institute’s Perach Tutorial Program. Both Perach and Birthday Angels serve every segment of Israeli society: religious and secular, Christian and Muslim, Bedouin and Druze.
The party kits, which include games and activities, are designed to enhance the birthday children’s self-esteem, crowning them king or queen for a day.
Behind Every Great Women’s Organization…
Hadassah Associates turns 40 this year! Founded in 1966 as an affiliated association of Hadassah, the group is now 27,000 strong— and growing. The men undertake their own fund-raising projects: They equipped and maintain the cardiac surgical suite at Hadassah–Hebrew University Medical Center at Ein Kerem; they raised over $1 million for the Goldyne Savad Institute for Gene Therapy located there; and they fund ongoing scholarships for Hadassah College Jerusalem. Their most recent project is raising money for the fitness center at the new Young Judaean youth hostel in Jerusalem. Kol Hakavod and happy anniversary!
Hadassah–Hebrew University Medical Center at Ein Kerem builds bridges both figuratively and, now, literally as well. A roofed bridge was recently erected to connect the main entrance of the hospital to a hotel and commercial center that are currently being built. Overlooking the Judean Hills, the new structures are intended to cater to the needs of hospital patients and their families; the campus at Ein Kerem will provide numerous conveniences to people while they undergo medical treatments.
As the medical center continues to expand and reach new heights, three floors are being added to the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Mother and Child Center.
We’ve Got Chemistry
Hadassah College Jerusalem is now offering a program in chemical engineering. More than 40 students began the intensive two-year course of studies this academic year; they will graduate with an associate’s degree, prepared to work in both research and production environments.
The program was created in response to the growing demands of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries in Israel.
Israel by Boat
This summer offers exciting opportunities for teens to visit Israel with Young Judaea. Participants in the six-week Ma’apilim program will spend three days in Rome learning about Italy’s rich Jewish history before embarking on a boat cruise to Israel that will retrace the voyage of the Exodus, the ship that carried European refugees to prestate Israel in 1947. This trip is a unique chance to see the beautiful mountains of the Carmel approach before reaching the shores of Israel the same way Jews arrived there for thousands of years.
New this year, Young Judaea is also offering a three-week trip called Nofim, for teens who would like to tour Israel but have busy summer schedules. The itinerary will pack in touring, hiking and more.
For more information about either of these programs, call 800-725-0612 or e-mail email@example.com.
In “Sisters Helping Sisters” in the December issue, we neglected to mention that Hurricane Katrina also affected areas in Alabama, which is part of Hadassah’s Southern Region. We regret the omission.
Hadassah’s Work in the Fight Against AIDS
Hadassah Medical Organization is partnering with the University of Washington’s International Training and Education Center on HIV to create and implement a United States-sponsored education program for medical personnel from the Gondar region of northern Ethiopia. The staff at HMO’s AIDS center has gained valuable experience working with AIDS victims in Ethiopia over the past 10 years and is therefore in an excellent position to welcome the three teams of Ethiopian doctors and nurses who are each spending a month training in Israel.
Hadassah is also training nurses of Ethiopian origin in the multidisciplinary approach to AIDS care, to prepare them to join the University of Washington’s teaching and supervising unit in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is one of 12 sub-Saharan countries in Africa chosen to be recipients of United States’ funds allocated to fight AIDS worldwide.
Combining Work and Pleasure
From its inception, Hadassah has been attuned to the needs and interests of American Jewish women. As their busy schedules and increasing career responsibilities made it harder for them to find time to volunteer on a full-time basis, Hadassah formed special councils that combine members’ interests in Hadassah with their careers.
The first professional women’s council was started by and for nurses 15 years ago. There are now councils for attorneys, social workers, women in finance and business, educators and, most recently, women in the arts.
Of the more than 35 groups, 8 are attorneys’ councils. Their most popular event is an annual swearing-in ceremony before the United States Supreme Court in Washington, where they have met with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor, among other notables.
The councils offer various programs and seminars in their respective fields, affording women the opportunity to increase their professional knowledge and skills—and often earn continuing-education credits—on subjects of particular interest to the Jewish community. For instance, the social workers’ councils have run an accredited program on the impact of substance abuse on Jewish women and their families. In Chicago, the attorneys’ council hosted a session on how to represent a woman before a rabbinical court.
Councils reach out to those outside their professions as well. The finance and business councils’ financial management seminar is but one example.
In the larger community, the nurses’ councils have also partnered with the medical-device manufacturer Johnson & Johnson to address the nursing shortage in the United States by helping to recruit young men and women into the profession. Hadassah’s liaison to the campaign is Beverly Goldsmith, who says the council supports both her individual values and her professional interests. “I respect the women [I’ve met through the council] both personally and professionally,” she says. “We all share the same goals.”
More than 3,500 women are involved in councils. For many, like attorney Louise Aibel, the group is a helpful professional tool. “It’s good to hear different perspectives from women with more experience,” she says.
For others, the councils are a chance to contribute to the community. “As a government attorney, I’m precluded from doing pro bono work,” explains Joan Kripke, chair of the national center for attorneys’ councils and founder of Chicago’s attorneys’ council. Through Hadassah, however, she can use her skills as a lawyer for a greater cause. “I joined because I was looking for a women’s group to belong to,” Kripke says. “This is a great opportunity to meet other Jewish women with similar interests.”
For information on any of the professional women’s councils, please call 212-303-8023 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.