On a long journey, it is not uncommon to stop just short of your destination to reflect on where you have come from and see your destination on the horizon. Imagine looking at the New York sky-line from the New Jersey Palisades, or peering out the window of the plane as the coast of Israel comes into view. Those moments can be precious.
It was 98 years ago this February that Henrietta Szold and her study circle met at New York’s Temple Emanu-El and founded Hadassah. We will celebrate the centennial in 2012 with a convention in Jerusalem and the dedication of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower on the Ein Kerem campus of Hadassah Hospital. The journey has been long enough, and the great anniversary close enough, that this seems like a good observation point for viewing our future and contemplating our past.
Hadassah Magazine will devote a special issue to the 100th anniversary in 2012, as we have done in marking past milestones. But at 98, we decided to do something a little different, more impressionistic. The centerpiece of this issue is a series of “defining moments,” short pieces on Hadassah—some well known, others obscure—that express our mission, our identity and our success. The stories, beginning on page 44, range from Hadassah’s link to the Titanic to its advocacy for stem cell research in Washington, from Henrietta Szold’s meeting the first boatload of Youth Aliyah children from Germany to a neurosurgeon’s quick-thinking innovation that saved a soldier’s life.
Other articles in this issue take just the kind of look at the horizon that a long-distance traveler might take right before arrival. Barbara Sofer surveys Hadassah’s profile on the Israeli landscape (page 12) and Rahel Musleah looks at how Hadassah changed the inner landscape of the American Jewish woman (page 16).
The celebration isn’t for another two years. But the road Hadassah is on is a path of wonders. Take a look. —Alan M. Tigay