What Do You Know About Hadassah Circa 1948?
Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, turned 36—double chai!—about two months before Israel’s founding in 1948. Here’s a glance at the organization during that era:
The Rothschild-Hadassah University Hospital, the first teaching hospital and medical center in Mandate Palestine, opened on Mount Scopus in 1939.
On April 13, 1948, a convoy bringing medical and military supplies and personnel to the Mount Scopus hospital was ambushed by Arab forces. Seventy-eight people, including doctors, nurses, students, patients, faculty members and the Haganah fighters escorting the convoy, plus one British soldier, were killed. Hadassah lost access to the Mount Scopus campus for 19 years.
Hadassah doctors and nurses treated many of the 15,000 wounded in the War of Independence (1947 to 1949).
Rose Halprin was serving the second of her two terms as Hadassah national president when, on May 12, 1948, she authorized a statement to preempt any assumption that Americans Jews might owe dual allegiance to America and the soon-to-be-declared Jewish state. The statement affirmed that American Jewish citizens owed their allegiance only to America. Similar statements were disseminated by a number of Jewish organizations around the founding of Israel.
In 1948, membership in Hadassah rose to 242,962—an almost 40 percent increase from 1945.
Young Judaea, then under the auspices of Hadassah, had over 30,000 members in 1948.
Henrietta Szold once said of her leadership of Youth Aliyah that “I, too, am a totalitarian. I want to rescue the totality of German youth.” By 1948, Youth Aliyah had rescued 12,332 children from Europe and another 4,000 from Asia and Africa.
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Earlier, in 1942, Hadassah was the fifth-largest contributor in the country to the effort to market war bonds, selling over $200 million in bonds.
In the advocacy arena, in 1946, then-Hadassah National President Judith Epstein testified before the Anglo-American Board of Inquiry to urge the British to open Palestine to Jewish refugees.
In 1947, Hadassah leaders and members lobbied the American government to support the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine.
Now you know… More About Hadassah Circa 1948
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