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First Skirmishes in Zionist Controversy at Hadassah Convention

A series of resolutions concerning the Hadassah work during the coming year were adopted by the fourteenth convention of the women’s Zionist Organization at the late Wednesday afternoon session.

The resolutions adopted are to be presented to the National Board of Hadassah and to the Actions Committee of the World Zionist Organization which will meet in Berlin July 19. Mrs. Edward Jacobs, vice-president of Hadassah and chairman of Palestine activities, presented the resolutions.

The penny luncheon project in Palestine is constantly growing and becomes more and more necessary as an educational factor. The convention decided to continue the $1,000 month budget for the lunches for Palestine school children, and to continue a grant of $1,000 yearly to the Histaruth Nashim Ibriot, women’s Hebrew organization, for an organizing secretary. The convention also decided to grant $1,000 a year to the Haisha, to urge Dr. Bluestone, who recently resigned as director of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Palestine to remain in office, to see to it that the health center in Jerusalem which the Hadassah is to maintain after its foundation by Nathan Straus be ready for occupancy during the course of the year. It was decided to leave to the National Board the dealing with questions of budget and to defer action on aid for the Kupath Cholim, sick benefit fund, until after the meeting of the General Council of the Zionist Organization, where the general health program of Palestine will be discussed. The budget for this year will be the same for next year, sending the same amount monthly until after the Actions Committee meeting and the action of Hadassah following the Jewish Agency Commission report is decided upon. About $40,000 for infant welfare work in Palestine and supplies, as part of the next budget depends upon the donations of supplies. The total budget of $608,000 will be resumed for the coming year.

Wearing colorful summer apparel and serence, determined expressions, the 500 delegates representing 280 chapters of Hadassah listened to the messages from Miss Henrietta Szold and Mrs. Irma Lindheim, president of Hadassah. In her message, Miss Szold, founder of Hadassah, pleaded for unity in Zionist ranks, declaring: “Disunion is paralysis, union is strength.”

In her letter from abroad, where she has gone because of her health, Mrs. Lindheim explained what has motivated the action of Hadassah during the past year. “Why was it treason for us to ask that the Zionist Organization live up to the standards we impose upon ourselves?” she writes. “Was it wrong for us to reject a dual standard? Why was it wrong that we asked for the same type of good government as members in good standing of the Zionist Organization as we do as members in good standing of Hadassah? Why was it wrong for us to desire and work for a new leadership in the Zionist movement when we honestly believed that the present leadership was inadequate to meet the needs of Palestine?

“Why was it wrong for us as members of a democratic organization to inform our constituency of the facts in time for them to examine into their truth before the convention? Why should a Zionist public not protest against a political machine that crushes out the energies of those whose only desire is to work for Palestine?”

The first tangible signs of the controversy which has been raging between the National Board of Hadassah and the Administrative Committee of the Zionist Organization of America came up over the choice of a permanent chairman for the convention. Sympathizers of both factions attempted to install one of their own. Mrs. Archibald Silverman of Providence was nominated by the group in opposition to the National Board of Hadassah and Miss Pearl Franklin, vice-president of the Hadassah, as representing the National Board. After much disturbance Miss Alice L. Seligsberg, New York social worker, was elected because she is not a member of either group.

Another note of controversy was struck when Mrs. Dorothy Lefkowitz, treasurer, read her report, preceded by criticism of alleged failures by the United Palestine Appeal to meet Hadassah’s financial commitments to Palestine. A motion to accept the treasurer’s report was amended to strike out from the foreword the criticism of the U. P. A. The amendment was defeated.

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