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Rebecca Shulman, 100, dies; former president of Hadassah

NEW YORK, April 7 (JTA) — Rebecca Shulman, a former national president of Hadassah, has died. She was 100 years old. “Rebecca’s passion for Israel and the Jewish people have inspired generations of Hadassah leaders and members and
she will be greatly missed,” said Marlene Post, national president of Hadassah. At the time of Shulman’s milestone birthday in October, Post said it was the first time in Hadassah’s history “that a former national president has reached the venerable age of 100.” Shulman served as national president from 1953 to 1956. Born in Vienna 15 years before the founding of Hadassah in 1912, Shulman came to the United States as a child and later became a lifelong Zionist activist. She was first elected as a delegate to the World Zionist Congress in 1929, and in 1932, she became a national board member. In 1945, as chairman of the Hadassah National Convention in 1945, she called for mobilization of the then-150,000 members to become “soldiers” in the fight for Jewish liberation and nationhood. For the next three years, Shulman’s home in Stamford, Conn., was the “core and hub of activity for the Jewish state” during the years just prior to the establishment of the state, Abba Eban, former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement. David Ben-Gurion, Chaim Weizmann, Golda Meir and other activists for a Jewish state were frequently “whisked away to that hideaway” for weekend retreats after United Nations conferences and meetings, said Eban, who also participated in the meetings. A trained nurse and social worker, Shulman was sent in 1946 to Palestine to examine Hadassah’s medical services and its capacity to absorb thousands of refugees from Europe. After she retired from the Hadassah presidency, she continued to dedicate her energies to the improvement of medical services in Israel and the construction of Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, one of the largest medical care and research facilities in the Middle East.