President’s Column: Hadassah’s Voice
The best part of being Hadassah’s national president is meeting with the members and supporters who give our organization its strength and its Jewish soul. But with the exception of a Hadassah convention, which can attract as many as 2,500 people, I rarely see more than a few hundred members at a time.
The only way I reach the entire Hadassah family is through this column. When I do meet face-to-face with groups of members I am always surrounded by people who know me from my byline.
This is my 38th column and I have addressed many issues. But I have never before written about one thing in particular that is dear to my heart: the magazine whose pages and Web site have brought you all of those columns.
Hadassah Magazine projects this organization’s finest image, to our membership and to the world beyond. You see it not only in your mailbox or on your computer screen, but also on your friends’ coffee tables and in your doctor’s office. You see people reading it on airplanes and in Starbucks.
Wherever I go, people tell me how much they love Hadassah Magazine, from the features on new trends in Jewish life to the travel section, from a review of a book they recommended to their chapter book club to medical research that can help someone in their family.
The February/March edition told the story of Linda Jayaram, a member in Houston with multiple sclerosis, who showed marked improvement after participating in clinical stem cell trials at Hadassah Hospital; she learned of the trials through an article in this magazine.
The magazine not only tells Hadassah’s story, it also nourishes the underlying Jewish identity of readers. If you line up a few years’ worth of issues you have nothing less than an encyclopedia of Israel, Zionism and Jewish life.
But if Hadassah Magazine has maintained its quality over the years, it is still caught in the tectonic movements of technology and economics. If you noticed the demise of magazine giants, or have seen the razor-thin size of Time and Newsweek, you know that it’s not just Hadassah’s fortunes that tax the resources of our flagship publication.
In the spirit of Passover—the holiday on which we celebrate finding our voice as a people—I want to put in a special word about our journalistic voice, Hadassah Magazine. Advertising has never paid all the costs of publication. Over the years, Hadassah has had the luxury and good sense to make the magazine a benefit of both life and annual memberships. But that leaves a budget gap that has grown ever more difficult to fill.
This edition provides a way for you to express appreciation for the years of enlightenment we’ve received from the work of journalism and art we call Hadassah Magazine. We have established the Hadassah Magazine Circle, and by making a contribution, you can help us sustain the magazine and, hopefully, grow it.
Much of the credit for the magazine’s success belongs to Alan Tigay, who has served as executive editor since 1980. During his tenure, Hadassah Magazine has garnered more than 300 awards for excellence in journalism. The continuity of leadership also includes Ruth Cole, who has served an unprecedented eight years as the magazine’s chair, and a talented editorial staff with a combined total of more than 75 years of service to the magazine.
As we approach Hadassah’s centennial, the clearest evidence of our vitality is that we are working toward our 2012 convention in Jerusalem and the dedication of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower on our Ein Kerem hospital campus, both of which will be covered in detail in Hadassah Magazine.
I hope to see you in large numbers as my presidency comes to an end at our National Business Meeting, which will be held in Las Vegas, July 10-13. In addition to raising our individual voices there, I hope you’ll help ensure that our magazine’s voice continues to thrive. H
Write to Nancy Falchuk at firstname.lastname@example.org. To see her latest podcast, go to www.hadassah.org/podcast.