Hadassah Raised over $29 Million This Year; Membership Reaches 360,000
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Hadassah Raised over $29 Million This Year; Membership Reaches 360,000

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Hadassah, the largest women’s voluntary organization in the United States, with a reported 360,000 members, raised over $29 million this year, it was announced last night at the closing session of the four-day 63rd annual national convention meeting at the New York Hilton Hotel.

Frieda S. Lewis, national treasurer, reported that, even though the 360,000 members responsible for fund-raising achieved a remarkable feat, in light of the recession and inflation, Hadassah is forced to achieve higher collections for 1977-78, because of higher costs and increased services.

The convention, attended by 3500 delegates, representing over 1550 chapters and groups in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, voted the following quotas (1977-78) for Hadassah’s health, education and rehabilitation and land reclamation services:

In Israel: Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) maintenance–$9,000,000; HMO building and development–$3,333,333; Youth Aliya–$2,300,000; Hadassah Israel education services (community college, Brandeis/Seligsberg Comprehensive High School, and the Vocational Guidance Institute)–$1,000,000; Jewish National Fund–$700,000. In the United States, the budget is over $3,400,000. This includes Hadassah’s adult and youth education programs, and leadership development. “The additional funds come from endowments annuities, bequests and grants,” Mrs. Lewis said.


Rose E. Matzkin, HMO national chairman, reported that in addition to the Hadassah University Hospital on Mount Scopus with its Guggenheim Pavilion for Rehabilitation Medicine, which opened last year, other new facilities include: the Moshe Sharett Institute of Oncology, in operation since May; the new regional Neo-Natal Center at Mount Scopus, and the Lawrence and Aleen Schacht Day School at Ein Karem.

Mrs. Matzkin explained that over and above the costs of the new plants with the special equipment, there are the additional costs for the extra staff and the new community health services which are part of the Mount Scopus Hospital, which is a regional hospital. She also said that there is a nursing shortage.

“Unlike many areas in the United States, Israel still has a nursing shortage,” Mrs. Matzkin said, “and nurses are essential for staffing our new facilities. Despite the fact that the Henrietta Szold-Hadassah School of Nursing trains B.S., R. N., practical and public health nurses and midwives, many of these graduates do not work for Hadassah. They are from other parts of Israel and prefer to return to home base after they have fulfilled their basic army service.”

She said, “The shortage is especially acute in surgery, neo-natal, and acute respiratory and cardiac care units. To this end, Hadassah has launched a nationwide appeal in the United States for nurses to work as volunteers at Hadassah for one year or more. We provide round-trip fare, housing, board, a stipend and other benefits, which are the equivalent of a regular salary.”


Faye L. Schenk, Building and Development chairman, said, “After a year in which major construction has been completed, this is now a time of opening services. The chapters have fulfilled their three-year $10 million extra building quota; the Burns Unit at Ein Karem is ready; the Schacht Day Nursery for children of staff is equipped and will open in September; and increased computerization is expanding to include medical, research, diagnostic and therapeutic services. The cost of an additional new computer, with training of technicians, will run about $700,000, of which part will be paid from a $750,000 United States Agency for International Development grant.”

Edith Zamost, membership chairman, reported that “One of five Jewish women in the United States belongs to Hadassah. Furthermore,” she said, “at least one in four are, or have been, members who may have dropped out because of age, illness, aliya, or she has returned to work. We find, however, that of the latter, many rejoin Hadassah as they settle into their new careers.” Mrs. Zamost announced that as of June 30, Hadassah has 360,000 members of which one-third are Life Members.

Dr. Samuel J. Cohen, Jewish National Fund executive vice-president, said that when he recently visited Tefen, Hadassah’s new project, “I found it taking visible shape. Seven industrial complexes are in the process of being built here around an administrative and industrial center, covering thousands of dunams. Huge areas of land had been leveled and prepared for factories that will being employment opportunities to the entire Galilee region. The first factory has been built already and will soon be in operation. Hadassah can proudly claim to be the first American organization to have initiated this brilliant and vital concept of the industrialization of the Galilee.”


For the first time in over a decade, the Education Department, whose chairman is Naomi Gurin, presented a resolution to the national body. “We are deeply concerned not only about the fact that the Jewish family in the United States is at less than zero population growth, but we are also concerned about the role of Jewish women and the quality of family life in the United States today,” Mrs. Gurin said.

The resolution affirms Hadassah’s “deep conviction that the Jewish family is the Keystone of Jewish survival and of our communal viability….The family is a living experience in which the Jewish woman and mother serves as a central model for and conduit of religious values, education, identity and community. In an age of increasing women’s employment and professionalism, we recognize that no doors should be closed to qualified individuals of either sex. But it should be clear that this new fact need not and must not in any way denigrate the traditional role of the Jewish woman as wife, mother, volunteer and educator.” Bernice S. Tannenbaum was reelected national president of Hadassah.

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