RECENTLY CELEBRATING ITS 105TH ANNIVERSARY, HADASSAH, THE WOMEN’S ZIONIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA HAS FOCUSED ON THE TENETS OF PRACTICAL ZIONISM, STATE OF THE ART MEDICAL RESEARCH, ADVOCACY, COMMITMENT TO THE COMMUNITY, AND ITS PROMOTION OF PEACE BY PROVIDING HEALTHCARE TO ALL.
By Annabella Goshen
Hadassah’s namesake is of course Queen Esther, because this organization was established during the holiday of Purim. Just as Queen Esther was a forward-thinking woman who took care of her
community, Hadassah adopted and continues this same legacy.
Queen Esther and Henrietta Szold had many characteristics in common. Although these two Jewish women lived in di erent time periods and regions, they both valued advocacy and leadership. Henrietta Szold was born in 1860 in Baltimore into a family that valued education and female empowerment. While she lived in the United States and met Jewish immigrants who struggled to adapt to this new country, she pioneered English courses to maximize their opportunities. Nowadays, these English as a Second Language courses
that she established are still being taught to immigrants. According to Hadassah Greater Miami President Linda Goldstein, Henrietta Szold had a motto that we follow to this day: “Dream great dreams and then take the practical steps to make them a reality.”
It wasn’t until her rst trip to the Land of Israel (Ottoman Palestine) in 1909, that she felt
the strong desire to establish adequate Medical care. She noticed how Jewish refugees did not have access to proper healthcare, nutrition and support. Once she returned to the United States in 1912, she quickly founded Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. The original mission of the organization was aruhat bat ami “the healing of the daughter of my people.”
As time went on, Hadassah’s mission evolved. Henrietta Szold rescued Jewish children from Nazi Europe through its Youth Aliyah Villages which presently care for children at risk. With an approach to Practical Zionism (Tzionut Ma’asit), its mission is also focused on improving the healthcare of all individuals worldwide, regardless of their backgrounds or nationalities, while o ering medical care and engaging in cutting edge Medical research. Hadassah’s values encompassing advocacy, research and service for humanity has allowed them to amass 330,000 members, associates and supporters in the United States.
Hadassah has been at the forefront of numerous issues, including advocating against the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, anti-Semitism and human trafficking. While forming coalitions with other organizations, Hadassah is able to optimize resources and achieve milestones. Within the scope of health, their research is centered on women’s preventive health, affordable childcare and stem cell research, among other projects.
Dr. Judith Berson Levinson, Hadassah Greater Miami
Advocacy chair and VP of our Praze division,
visited the of ces of Marco Rubio and
Senator Bill Nelson to promote Gender Equity
in Medical Research, Anti BDS Act against
Anti-Semitism, Equal Pay and Human
Trafficking Awareness. Pictured,
Dr. Robin Schaffer-Hopes, Dr. Judith Berson
Levinson, Rubio assistant, Hadasssah
National Vice President, Dianne Gottlieb,
Rose Betancourt and Marta Olychk.
In terms of Hadassah’s Research in Service for Humanity, Hadassah has been a leader in stem cell research which has led to notable strides in the treatment of the following diseases: multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disease (ALS), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Parkinson’s, melanoma and heart disease, among others. Hadassah’s patients have experienced firsthand results of this goal driven organization. For instance, Aventura resident Stewart Greenberg was diagnosed with melanoma and was told he had three months to live. Through Hadassah’s efforts, technology and doctors, specifically Dr. Michal Lotem, head of the Melanoma and Cancer Immunotherapy Center of Hadassah Hospital, it is ve years now and Mr. Greenberg is currently healthy. Additionally, Malia Litman who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, noticed that her disease was impeding her movements, including walking.
Hadassah Associate Moshe Mann,
Dr. Yoram Weiss, Medical Director of
Hadasssah Hospital, Ein Karem, Hadassah
Greater Miami Region President Linda
Goldstein, Hadassah National Founders chair,
Dr. Judith Mann and host of event Raphael Weizman.
She met with Dr. Dimitrios Karussis, ,Hadassah’s Senior Neurologist Professor and she is currently stabilized and feeling well. As Hadassah’s resources have allowed patients to improve their health, their combination of research and drive has allowed them to stay at the forefront of developments and advances. A major milestone was reached 5 months ago, in which a patient who had multiple fractures of his spine underwent the world’s first double robotic spinal surgery—the surgery was such a success that the patient was able to walk shortly after surgery. Joining in the celebration in Israel of the 50th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem and the return of Hadassah Mt. Scopus were many Hadassah members led by Hadassah National President Ellen Hershkin. Hadassah Greater Miami President Linda Goldstein, who was a student at Hebrew University during the 6 Day War and Ellen Eisenberg of the Simcha Chapter were both privileged to participate in the Hadassah National Mission.
Jose Sapocznik, Ph.D., Human Trafficking
Panel Discussion with Hadassah Greater
Miami Region President Linda Goldstein,
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle,
Melissa Schwartz, Nancy Ratzan,
ICE Special Agent Victor Williams and Julie Cummings.
Hadassah’s new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower was dedicated in 2012, built at a cost of $363 million donated by Hadassah. This state of the art facility is built with ve oors underground, equipped with surgical suites which are impervious to any biological or weapon- related attack. According to Hadassah Greater Miami President, “there is always something we will be doing, and we will continue taking care of more patients. We will continue to save lives. Saving lives is most important to us”.
In 2005, Hadassah was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and is known as the “Bridge to Peace in the Middle East” thanks to these health initiatives, because not only does it take care of Jews, but also Muslims and Christians alike, without regard to race or ethnicity. Hadassah has also created coalitions with hospitals in the United States as well as around the world, and what is learned at Hadassah benefits all of mankind globally. This hospital is constantly doing advanced research that will bene t everyone. According to Hadassah Greater Miami President Linda Goldstein, “Our support of Hadassah enables some of the world’s best doctors, nurses and technicians to do their work in treating the more than one million patients who walk through our doors each year.”
Top Row: Bernard Siegel, JD, Founder & Chair World Stem Cell Summit; Diane Issenberg,Hadassah Chair of Development.
Bottom Row: David Pasternack, Hadassah Chief Development Officer; Dr. Raphael Gorodetsky, head of Hadassah’s Biotechnology and Radiobiology Laboratory in the Sharett Institute of Oncology; Stewart Greenberg, Hadassah melanoma patient; Malia Litman, Hadassah multiple sclerosis patient; Prof. Dimitrios Karussis, Hadassah Senior Neurologist.
While looking towards the future, the aim is to continue funding centers of excellence at Hadassah to expand the level of service and research. Through its membership, supporters and donors, Hadassah will continue working on its mission to save lives, just like Queen Esther’s commitment to saving lives, which Hadassah achieves by initiating research-driven results. There is still much to do at Hadassah, but thanks to its donors and advocates, it will all be done, B”H.