Menu JTA Search

Hadassah Opens Conclave in Jerusalem

Over 2,000 Hadassah delegates and guest filled the Binyanei Ha coma auditorium last night for the opening session of the 68th national convention meeting here till September 2. This was the first major national convention to be held in Israel since “Operation Peace for Galilee” began.

President Yitzhak Navon received a great ovation as past president Rose Matzkin presented him with the Henrietta Szold Award, Hadassah’s highest honor.

Before delivering the keynote address, Frieda Lewis the national president of Hadassah, asked the audience to rise in a tribute to the soldiers of Israel who had fallen in “Operation Peace for Galilee.” She said that they had fought “not only to free the northern border of Israel from terrorism, but to extirpate one of the most vicious centers of terrorism in the world for the benefit of all free men.”

The Henrietta Szold Award citation to Navon describes him as a “poetic writer, Zionist leader and idealist, who exemplifies the best qualities of the Jewish people.”

In accepting the award, Navon recalled that in 1913 his father had been employed by Hadassah to set up a soup kitchen in Jerusalem. After running it for 22 years, his father was compelled to close it down because Henrietta Szold, the founder and head of Hadassah, had no more funds for it.

“Tonight,” he said, “I am accepting this award in memory of my father as compensation for 22 years of service — and of sadness and happiness on the job.” Mrs. Matzkin announced that Navon had declined the check which accompanies the award, asking instead that Hadassah plant a dunam forest of 200 trees. The Jewish National Fund presented him with a citation for the forest.

NEXT STORY