Despite the uninviting combination of the streets of New York and the dog days, more than 1,000 young women have forsaken their holiday haunts to attend the eleventh annual convention of Junior Hadassah opening August 19 at the New Yorker Hotel. And these are not indolent maidens who can well spare three days from their fund of leisure. The majority of them hold full-time jobs, as business women, teachers, students and social workers, and plan their vacation each year so that they may be present at the conventions, wherever they are held. This amazing interest, in addition to the time and energy devoted throughout the winter to a constructive project in a far-off land, refutes the theory that unmarried women have only social interests aside from their jobs.
Particularly in the present crisis with its exodus of Jews from Germany and the influx of large numbers into Palestine the sympathies of these young women are drawn to the problem of settling the newcomers. Accordingly, they have undertaken to adopt forty-three German refugee children, thus easing the overwhelming task of the Central Bureau for the Settlement of German Jews. Thirteen of these proteges have been enrolled at Meier Shfeyah, a village near Haifa maintained by the organization for the accommodation of underprivileged children. The remaining thirty will be installed at a new agricultural farm and training school to be built at Pardess Anna, another Junior Hadassah settlement for adolescents. The chief issue at the convention will be the ratification of the plan for housing, educating and training these young immigrants for life in Palestine.
The Palestinian work, although predominant in the program of this youth organization, is not the sole interest. The members engage in multifarious tasks here raising funds through divers means, public speaking, organizing, and extensive cultural activities in the study of Hebrew, Jewish literature and history, religion and current Jewish questions. At the convention gold keys will be presented to ten members who achieved the highest records in cultural courses prescribed by the organization. The award represents painstaking study in the above subjects, submitting of original papers, and the passing of examinations in each.
Obviously, such accomplishments have not remained unnoticed. In its thirteen years of activity Junior Hadassah has played so vital a part in the lives of young Jewish women that its influence has spread beyond the borders of the United States. Recently several girls in a far corner of Saskatchewan joined as members-at-large, and have organized a “Zionist school” to interest other young women in the aims of the organization.