NEW YORK (Feb. 28)
Plans for Hadassah work in Israel and the United States will be mapped out at the four-day annual mid-winter conference of the organization which opened here tonight at the Park Sheraton Hotel. The conference, attended by Hadassah leaders from all sections of the country, will hear reports on the political, economic, social and educational problems confronting Israel today.
At the opening session tonight Mrs. Rebecca Shulman, national president of the organization, submitted a presidential report in which she called upon 300,000 members to take the initiative in implementing a new program which provides for: the fostering of a creative Jewish life in America; the deepening of a sense of identification with Israel through strongly-knit spiritual and cultural ties; personal participation in the development of Israel as a democratic stronghold in the Middle East; and the study of Hebrew.
Mrs. Shulman reported that Hadassah has initiated a two-year study by leading educators and sociologists of the basic values in Jewish culture and traditions to indicate how these concepts have influenced and shaped Jewish life throughout the centuries, what has been their effect on civilization, and how they have exerted universal influence. The findings of the study will be published in book form. The sum of $25,000 has been allocated for this project.
HADASSAH MEMBERS TO STUDY HEBREW; 5,000 TO VISIT ISRAEL
Mrs. Shulman announced that Hadassah’s national board of 120 members, as well as the boards of each of Hadassah’s 1,200 chapters throughout the country, have voluntarily undertaken to learn Hebrew in the coming year. She added that the board members have pledged themselves to learn 1,000 Hebrew words – the linguistic goal of all new immigrants in Israel. Hadassah has been working with prominent educators to devise special study courses, both for beginners and advanced students, for its membership.
Simultaneously with the promotion of the study of Hebrew, Hadassah will encourage American Jewish parents to visit Israel themselves, and to send their children to that country for one year’s study following their high school or college graduation, Mr. Shulman reported. “In this area, too, Hadassah will take the initiative and will send as many of its leaders as possible to Israel to study at first hand economic, social and political conditions in that country, ” she said. The first group of 22 national Hadassah leaders will depart for Israel on March 3. Mrs. Shulman estimated that 5,000 Hadassah members would visit Israel before the end of the year.
On the question of immigration of American Jews to Israel, Mrs. Shulman said; “It is our hope that through all these means, through the deepening of Jewish life and the preservation of our Jewish heritage, that there will be those who will find their personal fulfillment in immigration to Israel.”
Mrs. Shulman emphasized that the new program which Hadassah will henceforth pursue is in addition to the organization’s present programs in Israel and the United States. Hadassah currently maintains comprehensive medical, social welfare, youth rehabilitation, vocational education and land redemption programs in Israel, and projects designed to preserve Jewish education, traditions and scholarship, and to preserve the American way of life, in this country. Hadassah spends more than $9,000,000 annually on its programs.
At the concluding session on Wednesday, the Henrietta Szold Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service will be conferred posthumously upon Monnett B. Davis, United States Ambassador to Israel until his death last December. Previous recipients of the award, named in honor of the founder of Hadassah, were former President Harry S. Truman, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, Prof. Selman Waksman, Senator Herbert H. Lehman and Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.