Hadassah founder gets Flat Stanley treatment


Dec. 21 marks the birthday of Henrietta Szold . The pioneering founder of Hadassah, the women’s Zionist organization, has been immortalized a la Flat Stanley.


In the YouTube video seen above, "Traveling Henrietta" – a miniature cardboard cutout in the likeness of Szold – makes the rounds with 13-year-old lifetime Hadassah member Amy Wald.

More about Szold from JTA’s 1945 obituary:

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Miss Szold was the daughter of the well-known Rabbi, Benjamin Szold. She was educated in Hebrew, French and German by her father and in the public schools of the city. When the Jewish Publication Society of America was founded, Miss Szold became its secretary in 1898, a post she held until 1916.

In the 1890’s when thousands of Russian Jewish immigrants fled to America from the pogroms in Russia, Miss Szold started a new activity, when she became one of the first women in America to engage in Americanization work. She organized classes where Russian Jewish immigrants were taught the language, customs and the ideals of America.

In 1909 Miss Szold went to Palestine for the first time. She was horrified by the Near East standards of living which prevailed in Palestine under a Turkish regime and was galvanized into action. She returned to America the following year, and in 1912 organized a group of women whose specific task was to bring modern methods of medical science into Palestine. Her unique talents as an organizer, her broad Jewish background and her compelling personality were in a large measure responsible for taking this group, which became known as Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, one of the largest and most influential Zionist bodies in the world.

Our archive has a long list of birthday presents and celebrations. One highlight: the Roosevelts signed her 80th birthday book.

You can follow some of Henrietta’s actual travels in our archive. For actual video of Henrietta Szold, check out this digitized item from the Center for Jewish History.

Recommended from JTA