Hadassah Raises over $31.75 Million; Membership Reaches 370,000

Hadassah raised over $31.75 million this year, it was announced at the closing session of its 65th national convention meeting at the Palmer House here. Bernice Tannenbaum was reelected president for her fourth one-year term.

Bess Katz, national treasurer, reported that even though the members responsible for fundraising achieved a remarkable feat, in light of the inflation, they will have to accept even higher quotas for 1979-80.

“The inflation and devaluation of the U.S. dollar has put a tremendous burden on our Israel budgets. Thus, Hadassah’s banner collections are eaten up by the rise in costs, ” she told the 3000 delegates and guests who approved the following quotas (1979-80) for Hadassah’s health, education and rehabilitation and land-reclamation services:

In Israel: Hadassah Medical Organization maintenance — $9 million; HMO building and development — $3.3 million; youth aliya — $2.3 million; Hadassah Israel Education Services (Community College, Seligsberg/Brandeis Comprehensive High School, and the Vocation Guidance Institute) — $1.5 million; Jewish National Fund — $700,000.

In the United States the budget is over $4 million. This includes Hadassah’s adult and youth programs in Jewish Education, American Affairs and Youth Activities as well as leadership development. “The total includes funds from endowments, annuities, bequests and grants, as well as the money raised directly by the members,” Mrs. Katz explained.

MEMBERSHIP GREW FROM 360,000 TO 370,000

Edith Zamost, national membership chairman, reported a leap in membership this year from 360 to 370,000. In analyzing the reasons for the leap, Mrs. Zamost said:

“First, one must understand that when one must figure an annual loss of members through death and attrition this means that more than 25,000 new members joined Hadassah this year in order to show an overall gain of 10,000. Furthermore, it is significant that the special drive for Life Membership this year resulted in the enrollment of 15,000 new Life Members. This brings Life Membership in Hadassah to the unprecedented figure of 35 percent of our total enrollment.

“Secondly, membership in volunteer organizations usually increases in response to emergencies. But this year our great leap forward dates from the good news and rising expectations emanating from Camp David. The hope for peace has encouraged the American Jewish community to support programs designed to improve the quality of life such as Hadassah’s health, education and land reclamation projects in Israel.”

LOT’S WIFE NO EXAMPLE FOR HADASSAH

Hadassah’s new Jewish National Fund project for the renewal of land in Israel, is at Biblical Sdom where Lot’s wife looked back and turned to salt. “Since Hadassah women look forward,” Fannie Cohen, national JNF chairman said, “we have only good expectations.” The new project is in the Arava, the northern Negev, adjacent to the Dead Sea.

The area, Ms. Cohen said, is “made up of sculptured hillocks, of sand, and practically no vegetation. It looks absolutely primitive, like an area no human being ever touched; yet, we know that in Biblical times it supported a creative life and a good-sized population. We will, in partnership with the INE, help turn this area into an agricultural development. Furthermore, it will provide a home not only for natives and newcomers, but for those who are crowded into over-populated areas.”

The new area will have a packing house which several communities can share, Ms. Cohen said. Regional schools, community cultural centers, and other regional facilities will enhance living and provide further security in this area on the Jordan border.

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