Membership and Its Benefits
There was great wisdom in creating Hadassah as a membership organization. As a member, like you, I have been part of millions of Jewish, Zionist women worldwide who have not only connected to Israel in very practical ways but who have created an army here in America to get the job done. We have not been “friends of” but pioneers and pacesetters.
Because numbers count, we have the respect of our state representatives and the ear of the president of the United States and the prime minister of Israel. You are part of the force that built the Hadassah Medical Organization and, today, we are the second largest employer in Jerusalem. What’s more, wherever you go, here in the United States and around the world, there is always a Hadassah network to welcome you.
Your grandmother, mother or mother-in-law may have made you a member. Now it is your turn to gift someone else with a membership, which will come with a subscription to the award-winning Hadassah Magazine. Go for it!
The Magazine You Are Now Reading Has Just Won…
We are happy to share the news that Hadassah Magazine has won 10 Simon Rockower Awards this year—six first-place finishes and four for second place. The awards will be handed out in November by the American Jewish Press Association at its yearly conference, held in conjunction with the General Assembly meeting in Washington, D.C., organized by the Jewish Federations of North America. First-place awards are in the categories of excellence of graphic design/cover; illustration; commentary; writing about women; writing about Jewish heritage and peoplehood in Europe; and writing about health care. Our second-place prizes are for excellence in arts writing–critical analysis; feature writing; personality profiles; and writing about Jewish heritage and peoplehood in Europe.
Spreading Kindness—and the Latest Jewish and Hadassah News
Hadassah members have always taken pride in showing support for one another. This empowering trait was demonstrated recently when the Hadassah Northeast office received a call to action from Emily Pearlman, a fellow member from the Hadassah Southern Nevada chapter in Las Vegas. Pearlman was in Massachusetts visiting her stepmother at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and her stepmother’s roommate was a Hadassah Life Member named Lillian Burtman.
Burtman is 101 years old and comes from Brookline, but has no family left in the area. Burtman mentioned that her all-time favorite publication is Hadassah Magazine. Soon after, Hadassah volunteer and Waban resident Robin Birnbaum arrived in Burtman’s room with a recent issue. Burtman was touched by the kind gesture and lovely company, and thrilled to get Hadassah Magazine—even though she now needs help to read it.
Give the Gift of Hadassah!
Hadassah has started a “gifting campaign” now through the end of the year that allows Life Members and Associates to give the gift of a free annual membership.
Who can be gifted a membership?
• Women over age 17
• Nonmembers, or any woman not a member since 2013
• Enrollment must be done through a gift membership form and must include an email address
What do gifted new members receive?
• Hadassah Magazine
• Access to Hadassah Member Insurance Program
• Affiliation with a local unit, chapter or group
• Opportunity to re-enroll as a paid member at end of gifted year
Educating Women About Their Worth
Hadassah enjoys nongovernmental special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, where we take part in many worthwhile conferences and symposia furthering the goals of health care and women’s empowerment.
Last March, at the United Nations’ 59th Commission on the Status of Women, Hadassah’s United Nations Cochair Renee Albert moderated the panel “A Path to Financial Independence.” The presentation included three experts: Hadassah United Nations Cochair Ruth G. Cole shared the achievements of the Hadassah Foundation, which is committed to fostering women’s empowerment through legal, social and financial channels. Loribeth Weinstein, CEO and executive director of Jewish Women’s International, discussed her group’s program Know Your Worth–Own Your Future (which some Hadassah regions are offering in conjunction with JWI), stressing women’s financial literacy in the so-called First World. And Caryl M. Stern, president and CEO of the United States Fund for Unicef, told participants about her group’s role in fundraising for one of the United Nation’s most important agencies.
Kol Hakavod to all who participated!
Groundbreaking Medicine at Hadassah Hospitals
For more than 100 years, the Hadassah Medical Organization has been a health care pioneer in Israel—but its impact on modern medicine is felt far and wide. Hadassah’s team excels in finding innovative solutions to complex medical problems.
“All our physicians spend time with their teams in the labs, conducting pioneering research that will translate directly into better and more effective treatments for patients,” says Joyce Rabin, Hadassah’s national HMO chair.
In fact, the groundbreaking work of HMO has been making headlines for discoveries and collaborations that may offer new hope to patients. For example:
• Age-related macular degeneration is the leading causing of blindness among the older population in developed nations, and Hadassah has a promising new clinical trial to halt the progression of the disease. The trial involves stem cell treatment, created by Israel’s Cell Cure Neurosciences Ltd. with input from Dr. Benjamin Reubinoff, director of Hadassah’s Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Center and chief scientific officer of Cell Cure, and Dr. Eyal Banin, head of the Hadassah Center for Retinal and Macular Degeneration.
• A clinical trial designed and conducted at HMO may help patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In a clinical trial, 88 percent of ALS patients showed significant improvement after treatment. The experimental treatment, made by Israeli company BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics based on HMO research, uses enhanced stem cells from the patient’s own bone marrow. Three major American medical centers are now conducting ALS clinical trials using HMO’s model.
• HMO has begun the world’s first double-blind, placebo-controlled study treating patients who have multiple sclerosis with adult mesenchymal (bone marrow-derived) stem cells injected into the spinal cord. Led by Dr. Dimitrios Karussis, head of HMO’s Center for Multiple Sclerosis, and Dr. Tamir Ben-Hur, head of the Neurology Department, this treatment aims to facilitate repair of damaged nerve cells, prevent brain cell death and inhibit damaging inflammation.
• Dr. Michal Lotem, head of HMO’s Center for Melanoma and Cancer Immunotherapy, was awarded a grant from the prestigious Melanoma Research Alliance. Based in New York, the group grants millions of dollars to melanoma researchers, but recipients are normally based in the United States. Dr. Lotem’s research involves a receptor that she identified on the surface of inflamed cells and activated, stimulating it to accelerate an individual’s immune response against melanoma cells.
• As a bridge to peace, HMO encourages its staff to share their expertise with Palestinian colleagues to improve medical care for their local populations. Dr. Hadas Mechoulam, a pediatric ophthalmologist, has made it her mission to save the vision of premature babies, who often develop retinal detachment, causing blindness. Dr. Mechoulam has operated on 20 such infants from Nablus at HMO. She is now working with Palestinian physicians to screen and treat infants with the condition before their vision worsens.
• Hadassah’s teams collaborate with researchers around the world. Recently, a team of Hadassah Medical Organization physicians, working with colleagues at Columbia University in New York, discovered an arthritis medication that may help baldness caused by alopecia. The researchers found that Baricitinib, a medicine in development for rheumatoid arthritis, may be effective for severe Alopecia Areata, a common autoimmune disease that causes sudden or gradual hair loss, with no F.D.A.-approved treatments currently available.
While HMO works with its new board of directors and the Israeli government to improve its fiscal footing, its research and medical breakthroughs continue to make the news and touch the lives of people around the world.
“We are tremendously proud of the work being done by the Hadassah Medical Organization to unravel medical mysteries that will directly impact the lives of our children and grandchildren,” Rabin notes.