Inside Hadassah: New Frontiers for Young Judaea
The recent dedication of Young Judaea’s new center, Beit Ar-El, in Jerusalem symbolizes Hadassah’s commitment to youth and our partnership with Israel, Judaism and the Jewish people. As noted New York Times columnist and author Thomas Friedman wrote, “I did my sophomore year abroad at Hebrew University on Young Judaea’s program…. There’s a mantra in the news business…if you don’t go, you don’t know. If young Jews don’t go to Israel, they’re not going to know.” So let’s celebrate Young Judaea’s new home in Israel. Better yet, come see it for yourself!
It’s Convention Time Again
- It’s time to make plans to attend Hadassah’s 92nd national convention, from July 23 to 26 in Nashville, Tennessee.
- Don’t miss noted Middle East authority Daniel Pipes, who will speak on militant Islam in Europe and its impact on an increasingly interconnected world.
- Meet exceptional women who do exceptional work, including renowned writer Judith Viorst; Shulamit Reinharz, Jacob Potofsky Professor of Sociology at Brandeis University and founding chair of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute; and Linda Hooper, principal of the Tennessee school whose project on tolerance and understanding of the Holocaust was documented in the film Paper Clips.
- Explore Israel’s current economic, military and political reality with Israeli Minister of Economic Affairs Ron Dermer; Israel Defense Forces Brigadier-General Michael Herzog; and Shlomo Avineri, professor of political science at Hebrew University. Also hear about new cutting-edge marketing campaigns to “brand Israel.”
- Learn about Jewish life below the Mason-Dixon Line and dance to the beat of bluegrass and klezmer in the country music capital of the world.
- Applaud Blu and Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg, winners of the prestigious Henrietta Szold Award for humanitarian service.
For more information about this year’s convention, call the toll-free hotline 877-790-2676 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
New York’s Israeli Art Scene
To celebrate Israeli art on the centennial anniversary of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, leading Israeli artists are showcasing their contemporary works at several New York venues: the Cooper-Hewitt, Pace Wildenstein, The Jewish Museum, Sotheby’s and many more. The events and exhibits began in March and continue through this month (for a schedule, visit www.artis-israel.org).
Hadassah is a partner in this milestone event and is especially proud to boast two Hadassah College Jerusalem graduates among the artists: Michal Heiman and Israeli Arab Noel Jabbour. They represent not only the talent of the college’s alumnae but also the diversity.
Also among the artists is Aliza Olmert, wife of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Getting Inside Israel
Young Judaea’s Hamagshimim Israel Fellowship on college campuses is nearing the end of the first semester of its new Inside Israel track.
The fellowship began as a peer-led leadership and training seminar to enhance students’ advocacy skills on behalf of Israel. The program is currently being run at the University of California at Davis, Stanford University, the University of Michigan, the University of Maryland and the Claremont Colleges.
The new track allows students to custom design their Israel education; participants choose subjects such as history, culture or politics.
“There used to be a lot more anti-Israel sentiment on campus,” says Ari Nahmani, a graduating senior at the University of Maryland. “Now we’re talking about what’s going on inside Israel—the things that took a back seat during the intifada.”
A native of Rockville, Maryland, Nahmani says it’s harder to get students motivated now when they are not facing criticism from fellow collegians and professors.
“Israel programming should not only be reactionary,” he explains. “It should also be proactive. We’re talking about larger issues within Israel, like the [security] barrier and the Ashkenazi-Sefardi divide.”
Following the seminar, participants are encouraged to bring their knowledge to the community through social-action projects and leadership positions in student governments.
Under Our Wing
At the request of the Jewish Agency, Young Judaea has taken over the administration of the World Union of Jewish Students Institute in the desert town of Arad.
WUJS Institute (www.wujs-arad.org), founded in 1968, offers an intensive ulpan and courses in Judaism to college graduates and young professionals from around the world. The two-semester program emphasizes hands-on opportunities to get to know Israel, including weekly tours, overnight hikes (above), volunteer options and chances to meet Israeli counterparts.
WUJS offers two specialty tracks. The Artist Program is a residency for talented visual artists, musicians and writers, and offers a supportive environment to further their creative work through seminars and courses.
The second track is the Peace and Social Justice Program, designed to give participants an understanding of contemporary Israel, advance the cause of social justice in a Zionist framework and work to strengthen Israeli society and democracy. Students spend one semester at WUJS and the second placed at an internship at a social-change organization elsewhere in the country.
Bringing the Patient to the Healer
Until last Passover, Melanie Cornstein was a fun-loving 9-year-old. But within weeks of finding red spots on her legs, she went from being a lively girl to a listless shadow of herself. The family’s doctor in Chile told Melanie’s parents, Dalia and Fernando Cornstein, to consult Dr. Shimon Slavin, a world-renowned specialist in Jerusalem.
Dr. Slavin, head of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cancer Immunotherapy at Hadassah–Hebrew University Hospital, receives nearly 100 e-mails a day from patients and physicians around the world. The Cornsteins contacted him to ask if they could bring their daughter to see him. “I cried the whole way to Israel from Chile,” said Dalia Cornstein. “Imagine bringing your sick child so far from home for drastic treatment.”
Dr. Slavin diagnosed Melanie with aplastic anemia, a rare and extremely serious disorder that results from the unexplained failure of the bone marrow to produce blood cells. Bone marrow transplantation was the best option. Within a week, a match was found in Israel. For five months, Melanie and her mother lived at Hadassah Hospital while her father and brother remained in Chile.
In February, the family celebrated Melanie’s recovery at a party in Jerusalem; Dr. Slavin was the guest of honor. “We will never be able to thank Dr. Slavin and Hadassah enough for giving us back our daughter,” Fernando Cornstein said.
Home Sweet Home in Jerusalem
In the darkest days of the intifada, Hadassah followed the advice of the prophet Jeremiah to buy property in Jerusalem and strengthen the city during troubled times. As a vote of confidence in the city, a daughter company of Hadassah built a youth hostel on panoramic Masua Hill in southeastern Jerusalem. This past January, Akhsaniat Yehuda, the Judaean Youth Hostel, opened to the public—a magnificent 127-room development with an outdoor swimming pool, gym, Internet café, basketball courts and terraced gardens.
The building was designed by prize-winning Israeli architect Yaakov Molcho, who used Jerusalem stone for both interiors and exteriors to minimize the boundary between indoors and outdoors and to create the atmosphere of a traditional Jerusalem courtyard. Neighbors in the fast-developing Masua neighborhood are the Israel Defense Forces’ Beit Halohem rehabilitation and recreation center, the Jerusalem Mall, the Ein Yael Living Museum and the Tisch Family Zoo.
The first to enjoy the sumptuous new hostel are members of Young Judaea’s Year Course, who spend up to three months at a time in Jerusalem. Young Judaea’s Jerusalem headquarters moved, after 37 years, from Beit Riklis on Mount Scopus to its new facility, Beit Ar-El, the Young Judaea Youth Center in Israel, situated at the Judaean Youth Hostel.
Year course has been growing quickly with over 400 high school graduates now taking part in the program. In Beit Ar-El classrooms, computers replace blackboards when courses in Jewish history, philosophy and Zionism are taught. On site are the Fielder Synagogue and Beit Midrash, an extensive Jewish and Zionist library and multiple computer terminals for student use.
“What an exciting way to celebrate Hadassah’s 94th birthday,” said National President June Walker. “Taking on a project always has its moment of joy coupled with fear. But now we can enjoy the deep satisfaction of knowing that generations of Young Judaeans will have a new and wonderful home.”