Inside Hadassah: Turning Our Thoughts to Israel
It is transition time—the end of summer and the approach of fall and the Jewish new year. We remember the days spent in Jerusalem in June at the World Zionist Congress and Jewish Agency meetings, but our deliberations were followed by an assault on Israel first from Gaza and then from Lebanon in the north. Our solidarity with Israel at these critical times is stronger than ever. Moreover, our prayers and thoughts are with its people for their well-being and for peace in the coming year. May we continue to strive through Hadassah to ensure Israel’s strong future. L’Shana Tova. —Ruth G. Cole
Hadassah Helps Out
As a barrage of rockets and missiles from Lebanon targeted northern Israel in mid-July, Hadassah opened its arms to help. Two Youth Aliyah villages welcomed Israelis relocated from the north of the country. Within a couple of days, Hadassah-Neurim, outside Netanya, made room for some 230 children, mostly from Safed and Kibbutz Ayelet Hashahar, as well as several families from Carmiel and Akko. Several of the young people were immigrants newly arrived from Ethiopia (below). At least 40 families—about 150 people—were accommodated at Meir Shfeya, near Zikhron Yaakov.
Hadassah College Jerusalem offered its facilities to the ORT Braude College of Engineering in Carmiel and to the Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee to use for testing, final exams and projects. In addition, families of students and employees from the north have been offered lodging in the college residences.
And the Winner Is…
This year, Hadassah Magazine received nine Rockower Awards, presented by the American Jewish Press Association—once again more than any other publication. The magazine won three first- place awards: Excellence in Illustration and/or Editorial Cartooning; Excellence in Commentary for David Klinghoffer; and Excellence in a Single Commentary for Noah Efron’s “The More Things Change.”
Gershom Gorenberg’s commentaries won a second-place award and Wendy Elliman’s story “Aliya of the East Wind” came in second for the new Nefesh B’Nefesh Award for the Story of Aliya.
David Weiss’s “Neighbors: Across Shifting Sands” and Rahel Musleah’s “Finding a Village” both received third-place honors for Excellence in Feature Writing.
Excellence in Photography was awarded to the photographers who contributed to the photoessay “So What’s the Big Megilla…” and to Paul Goldman for “Photo Treasures in the Attic.”
Cycling for Israel
Over 125 people from several countries biked from Jerusalem to Eilat in May, part of the annual Arava Institute Hazon Israel Ride: Cycling for Peace, Partnership and Environmental Protection (www.israelride.org). Among the cyclists who completed the 265-mile trip were numerous Hadassah members, associates, Young Judaea alumni and even some Year Course participants.
The funds raised went to support the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, the teaching and research center on Kibbutz Ketura that prepares Jewish and Arab students for environmental cooperation, as well as the Hazon organization in New York.
This past year, Young Judaeans chose the Arava Institute as the focus of a social-action project—dubbed the “Ahava Arava Initiative”—and undertook to raise money to provide semester scholarships for one Jewish and one Arab student.
Hope and Healing at HMO
Rachel was a 29-year-old physical therapist living in Columbus, Ohio, when she was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. She received treatment and things seemed to be under control. However, three years later a biopsy revealed the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. Rachel immediately underwent surgery and doctors said she had an 80-percent chance of relapse within two years.
Rachel’s one hope lay with the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem. Hadassah is one of the few research hospitals running long-term cancer vaccination projects and the only one using vaccines made from the patient’s own tumor cells. Rachel flew to Israel to receive several vaccines that forced her cancer into remission. She continues to receive six vaccinations a year to keep her healthy. Rachel is now married and the mother of a baby boy.
Hadassah’s research campaign, Building a Better World Through Research, focuses attention on the need to support medical investigation at HMO, the vital efforts that gave doctors the tools to heal Rachel. Medical research can take years, even decades, of microscopic inspection, drug trials and testing before a procedure or drug can be approved, and researchers, scientists and physicians need our help to continue this lifesaving work.
HMO, which conducts more than half of Israel’s medical research, tackles diseases using the latest technology combined with innovative procedures and stem cell research; its six stem cell lines are used in 30 countries around the world. Scientists are investigating treatments and cures for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, macular degeneration, cancer, diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
Join Hadassah in this vital campaign. This is your opportunity to help extend life and hope to Rachel and thousands like her.
For more information on how you can help or to order your HMO Research Kit, please contact Major Gifts at 800-928-0685 or e-mail research at HMO@hadassah.org.
Hadassah Magazine fondly remembers Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, a longtime member of its editorial advisory board, who passed away last April.
A renowned congregational rabbi, professor and noted author of numerous seminal works on Zionism and Jewish life, Rabbi Hertzberg was an active and outspoken leader of the Jewish people through the positions he held at the American Jewish Congress, the World Jewish Congress and beyond. He was also a champion of humanitarian causes.
Hadassah Magazine will especially miss his unique and memorable contributions.
Hadassah also mourns the passing of Roslyn Brecher, member of the national board and honorary council of Hadassah. Among her many roles within the organization, Mrs. Brecher was the chair of Hadassah Magazine from 1971 to 1975, and as a member of its editorial advisory board she shared her passions and strong opinions with others for many years.
A Golden Anniversary for Year Course
For half a century, Young Judaea’s Year Course has been changing the lives of Jewish teenagers. This month, the 50th group of students—nearly 500 strong—is heading to Israel to spend the year after high school studying, volunteering and getting to know the land of Israel.
Undoubtedly, the tense situation in Israel will color their experiences; no two years are ever the same, as current events touch Year Course directly.
For example, Year Course director Keith Berman, who attended the program in 1984-1985, worked at an absorption center with the first group of Ethiopian Jews to arrive in Israel on Operation Moses. “We weren’t allowed to take pictures or talk about it because it was still a secret operation,” he recalls. “But we played with the children and taught them some Hebrew and Israeli dances.”
Micha Liberman, an Emmy Award-winning music editor, participated in Year Course in 1991-1992. “It was the year after the [Gulf] war,” he says. “We were a tiny group. It was the wettest year in Israel’s recorded history. It looked like we’d finally have peace. It was a great year to be in Israel.”
Some years, the history unfolding in Israel has been more ominous. Steve Friedman, an alumnus of the first Year Course in 1956, arrived in the fledgling country with 14 other teenagers a week before the Sinai Campaign began. “We felt what it was like being in a new country—under pressure, facing sanctions,” he recollects. “We didn’t have butter or sugar the whole year. But everything was growing, changing, coming back to life.”
For Friedman, Year Course was a true pioneering experience, as he and his friends participated in shaping both the young state and the new Young Judaea program. “We were putting into practice the plans we had made,” Friedman says. “It was being built dynamically.”
According to Berman, the essence of Year Course has not changed over the 50 years, but it has adapted to fit the realities of Israeli society. At one time, every student spent time working on a kibbutz or moshav; nowadays, this is no longer a main component of the program. “Agriculture isn’t the same force in Israel as it was [once],” he notes. Instead, the teenagers spend more time working with the underprivileged in cities. The participants also have many more options, which has been made possible partly because of greater numbers.
It has become more popular to take a year off between high school and college, but until recently Year Course alumni made waves when they chose to spend the year abroad. Now, however many years later, they’re glad they did.
“I was in college for three years and Year Course just one, but it was a much more profound experience,” says Liberman. “You [start college with] a jump on your peers. It’s a critical point of life and it builds your self-confidence.”
“If not for that year, I probably would have wasted my [college] education,” says Ronit Tarshis, who attended Year Course during the first intifada (1987-1988). “I grew personally that year. You really form friendships in that setting that are unique. Some of my closest friends today are from Year Course.”
“We still have a hevra here,” says Friedman, who made aliya with his wife in 1972 and lives in Rehovot. “We spend Thanksgiving together every year. We’re the closest and best of friends. This is the most precious heritage from Year Course, 50 years later.”