Inside Hadassah: Signs of Growth and Dedication
It is time for Tu Bishvat, the Jewish celebration of nature and trees. Trees symbolize the continuity of life. We note that Hadassah, with the Jewish National Fund, is helping replant the forests in northern Israel, which were burned during the conflict with Hezbollah last summer. We are also pleased that the Hadassah Leadership Academy is striving to “reseed” and that Hadassah in Florida is flowering, reflecting the growth of its Jewish community. And congratulations to Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity on its 100th anniversary. Let’s keep planting seeds for future generations.
Spreading the Wealth
A number of dedicated women are setting out to prove that where there’s a will, there’s a way. While financial concerns mandated cutting back the current Hadassah Leadership Academy program from a dozen sites to five (locations normally change for each class), some groups—Southern New Jersey, Las Vegas and Chicago—have decided that the program is so terrific that they want to make sure it will remain in their cities.
“These women are so taken by the HLA they’re not waiting until they finish the program before they start giving back,” says Karen Lustig, chair of HLA, a two-year program of Jewish study and leadership training. Responding to their enthusiasm, Hadassah agreed to support a new class in each of these venues if the community could raise half the necessary funds.
In Las Vegas, the women mapped out a fund-raising plan and have now reached over half of their goal; a private foundation committed to sponsor the next HLA class in New Jersey.
“This is creating a new cooperation, an understanding of responsibility [between Hadassah and local Jewish communities],” Lustig explains, as other organizations and foundations are seeing firsthand how the HLA is benefiting them as well. “These women are taking their places as leaders both in Hadassah and in the greater community. It’s a win-win situation.”
For more information regarding HLA, please e-mailHLAalum@hadassah.org.
Teddy Kollek’s goal in life was to give Jerusalem international status. As mayor from 1965 to 1993, he oversaw and directed the city’s explosive development. He died, at age 95, on January 2, but his name remains synonymous with that of Israel’s capital. Kollek also felt an enduring bond with Hadassah, partly because, as he noted on Hadassah’s 80th birthday, “Hadassah and I were born within months of each other,” and partly because he always credited Hadassah with reviving Israeli tourism by sending a large mission during a period of tension in the 1950’s. Over the years, at historic and crisis-filled moments, Hadassah and Kollek worked together, sharing their love of Jerusalem and desire for a strong and ethical Israel.
Smiles All Around
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity. Founded by Jewish dental students in Baltimore and Philadelphia, the group set out to combat the anti-Semitism that was common in dental education at the time. The fraternity has since grown to nearly 7,000 members worldwide and works to promote tolerance and cooperation in the field of dentistry.
The Alpha Omega fraternity, together with the Hadassah Medical Organization, was instrumental in establishing the School of Dental Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1953.
“We wanted to create the same standard of [dental] care in Israel as we have in North America,” says Dr. Lionell Greenberg, a Los Angeles periodontist and past president of the fraternity. “We feel a natural allegiance to the school.” Because of that, Greenberg says, fraternity members have made considerable endowments to the dental school over the years.
The centennial will be celebrated with symposia and banquets in venues around the world. A permanent historical exhibit will be dedicated in honor of the milestone at The Hebrew University–Hadassah School of Dental Medicine in Jerusalem, which is located at the Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem.
Leading the Way
The president of Hadassah College Jerusalem, Professor Nava Ben-Zvi, was awarded the first President’s Global Leadership Award by the University of South Florida in December 2006 at its fall commencement exercises. The award recognizes Ben-Zvi’s contributions to the advancement of higher education both in Israel and internationally.
“[Ben-Zvi] has been a major contributor in almost every crossroad in higher education since 1970…,” USF President Judy Genshaft said at the ceremony.
As she accepted the honor, Ben-Zvi (above) thought of her late parents, who both came from Europe to Israel to rebuild their lives.
“I said to them, ‘Look, I really did something,’” she recalled. “To me, it’s about caring for the young people of the world.”
Fighting Fires Before They Start
“And along came the water and extinguished the fire.…” One hardly notices this line in the famous Passover song, “Had Gadya.” But in an area ravaged by forest fires, this message is key.
This verse is inscribed on a new fire truck that Hadassah has donated to the Jewish National Fund. The truck—smaller than a full-size fire engine and better suited for the terrain— was dedicated in Israel last month and has been dispatched to the firefighting center at Hatzor Haglilit, in the north of Israel.
The northern forests were burned down during the conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon last summer, setting the country’s forestation efforts back decades. The JNF lost no time assessing the damage and setting out to replant the trees and ensuring that the area would be equipped with modern, sophisticated equipment for fighting forest fires in the future.
Hadassah, which has partnered with the JNF since 1926, has initiated a new campaign, Operation Northern Renewal. According to Hadassah’s JNF chair and former national president, Deborah Kaplan, the campaign will help “to rebuild northern Israel and make it home again for its residents.” The new fire truck, made possible through donations to Hadassah’s Emergency Campaign last summer, is a first step in the endeavor.
To contribute to Operation Northern Renewal call 212-303-8217.