President’s Column: Projecting Into the Future
Few people live to 100, but one of the ways we enhance the meaning of our lives is by supporting causes that continue to express our values after we are gone. Hadassah has grown and flourished because of the faith members place in our mission of building Israel and strengthening the Jewish people. In just three years, we’ll celebrate our 100th anniversary.
But organizations and companies—just like people—also worry about their lives. In this difficult financial season, pillars of our economy have crumbled and many once-solid institutions are fighting for survival. Even those on a firm foundation are working on backup plans to sustain their existence during what may be a long recession. And on top of the global financial crisis, Hadassah suffered a $90 million loss in the investment fraud allegedly committed by Bernard Madoff.
Hadassah has always stood on three pillars—of leaders, members and donors. In thousands of cases over the generations, those three words have described a single person. The combination of visionary leadership and impressive numbers is responsible for our success and our reputation. Hadassah is more than an organization. It is an empowering movement in which the individual gets as much strength from the organization as vice versa.
Our synergy of contributors, members and leaders has changed the world. Our hospitals and child-rescue missions have saved thousands of lives. We’ve built bridges to peace between Israel and other nations and changed legislation in Washington. We’ve fought for a woman’s right to choose, for stem cell research, for civil rights and for effective environmental policies. We recently led the successful battle against an economic and medical boycott of Israel.
Nowhere is our impact more apparent than in Jerusalem, to which we sent our first medical mission within a year of our founding in 1912. In laying the foundations for Israel’s health care, education and social welfare infrastructure, we strengthened ourselves as well. Consider that Hadassah’s membership today—300,000—is five times the population of Jerusalem at the time of our inception.
It is because of what we have built and those 300,000 members that the president of the United States and the prime minister of Israel listen to what we say. It is because we have members in every congressional district of America that Congress pays attention to our concerns. So it is natural that our survival strategy rests on those three pillars of member, leader and donor. That is why we are launching a campaign that uses the numeric symbol of our centennial to sustain this organization so dear to all of us.
In the 100 days leading up to Passover, we have set a goal of contributions from 100,000 donors. We are challenging all of Hadassah’s units to do their share. Imagine the added strength we will gain from 100,000 new contributions. Imagine the ground we will gain and the resources we will add to sustain our projects in Israel, in America and around the world.
I’m asking all of Hadassah to get involved in this important campaign. Times are tough for many of us, but please give what you can and encourage the women around you—those who are not yet members as well as those who already are—to contribute as well. No donation is too large or too small.
I know from past calls to action in this column what you can do. This 100-day initiative is short-term, but I hope it will be the start of a larger campaign. I’m confident that when Hadassah celebrates its bicentennial, our granddaughters and great-granddaughters will look back on our accomplishment and be inspired. At this difficult time, let’s tap deeper into the wellspring of our strength. Let’s add to the life force of Hadassah. H
To respond to Nancy Falchuk’s column or view her monthly podcast, go to www.hadassah.org/podcast.