Members Mobilize for Israel
As a professional book restorer, it is second nature for Rosemary Abrami to notice any type of written word in need of rehabilitation, even if the words in question appear chiseled in stone. In 2012, the Hadassah life member and board secretary of the Tikvah-West Valley Chapter in Arizona was strolling through Independence Park in Jerusalem with her husband, Rabbi Leo Abrami, when she noticed a weathered, nearly illegible stone marker honoring Hadassah’s contributions to the city.
It so happens that the Abramis had been involved in restoring Jewish cemeteries in the Los Angeles area and had knowledge of what needed to be done to fix the stone. To Rosemary, the weathered marker evoked similar feelings to the ones she experienced when visiting Jewish cemeteries in Europe that were, she said, “at best neglected, and at worst vandalized,” forgotten places that serve to remind visitors that no Jews remain in those communities.
But that clearly isn’t the case for Hadassah. One hundred years after bringing health care to Jerusalem and opening its first nursing school there, Hadassah is the second-largest employer in the city and treats over one million people a year at its two hospitals. And so Rosemary did what Hadassah women do best: She mobilized to make a difference in Israel. Using contacts in the organization in both the United States and Israel, she set out to have the situation remedied.
Earlier this year, she received a message from Audrey Shimron, executive director of Hadassah’s office in Jerusalem, that her efforts had paid off. Though technically the restoration fell under the jurisdiction of the municipality, Shimron had personally arranged to have the marker restored. In a bittersweet turn of events, Leo Abrami passed away on March 19, just weeks after the couple learned of Rosemary’s successful campaign.
This small act of restoration Zionism is a testament to Hadassah’s enduring contributions to both the city of Jerusalem and the State of Israel. We commend Rosemary for taking this initiative, and for sharing her story with us.
Hadassah at AIPAC: Choosing to Lead
In early March, members and friends of Hadassah attending the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington, D.C., came together with Hadassah National President Ellen Hershkin and CEO Janice Weinman for a special forum, “Israel and the 21st Century,” featuring Michael Makovsky. In his remarks, the president and CEO of JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, and author of Churchill’s Promised Land: Zionism and Statecraft, addressed the significant geopolitical changes in the Middle East juxtaposed with Israel building a 21st-century startup nation with unprecedented success in economic, cultural and medical arenas. Later, we reconvened at the critically acclaimed Zaytinya restaurant, the Mediterranean eatery under the direction of renowned chef
At the larger AIPAC conference—which this year drew over 18,000 attendees—we met with members of Congress, dignitaries, scholars and fellow Zionists. Against the backdrop of our nation’s capital, we appreciated not only how government works but the vital role we play by choosing to participate. We, as American Zionists, were exercising the great bond of democracy that inextricably links Israel and America. Participants didn’t focus on “right” versus “left” but on right versus wrong. As always, attending AIPAC strongly and affirmatively reminds us of the crucial and potentially pivotal role we play when we choose to lead. “We the people!”
—Rhonda Lee Kaplan, Hadassah New York AIPAC chair and Zionist Affairs chair of the New York ATID Chapter
Hadassah’s New Podcast Series
Hadassah on call: New Frontiers in Medicine takes you behind the headlines at the Hadassah Medical Organization, from neurological malfunction to sexual dysfunction, from Alzheimer’s disease to women and heart disease. Hadassah On Call will help you understand the medical breakthroughs impacting our lives—and how Hadassah hospitals are leading the way. Join the 40 percent of Americans who listen to podcasts for entertainment, information and more. Listen to recent episodes such as “The Exciting Future of Stem Cells” and “Detective for the World’s Most Mysterious Diseases” at Hadassah.org/podcasts, iTunes, iHeartRADIO, Stitcher and TuneIn.