WASHINGTON (JTA) — Young Judaea’s spinoff from Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, has begun.
Hadassah’s board had voted for the separation in June 2011, and both organizations announced this week that the change had begun.
The spinoff comes as Hadassah, which supports two hospitals in Israel and other programs, faces financial difficulties. Hadassah was forced to return $45 million in connection with the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, and Hadassah recently announced the $71.5 million sale of its New York headquarters.
Hadassah will provide $7 million in transitional funding over the next three years as Young Judaea works to secure independent funding, according to a spokesperson. Hadassah chapters also will continue to raise scholarship money for the youth organization and Hadassah will have representation on Young Judaea’s board. In December, Simon Klarfeld was hired as Young Judaea’s executive director.
“Like a child leaving the nest, Young Judaea will always be part of the Hadassah family," Marcie Natan, Hadassah’s national president, said in a statement. "Hadassah members take tremendous pride in how effective Young Judaea is in creating permanent connections between American youth and Israel.”
Founded in 1909 as a Zionist youth organization, Young Judaea serves 5,000 Jewish youngsters and young adults through U.S. camps and Israel programs. The group had been supported entirely by Hadassah since 1967.