President John F. Kennedy today greeted Hadassah on the 50th anniversary of its founding, and characterized it as an organization which has found “a vital place in human affairs.” The special message from President Kennedy was read by Mrs. Arthur J. Goldberg, wife of the United States Secretary of Labor, before more than 1,200 leaders and members of Hadassah at a Golden Jubilee Luncheon, The event inaugurated a year-long, country wide celebration of Hadassah’s Golden Jubilee.
Mrs. Siegfried Kramarsky, national president of Hadassah, based her address on the theme of the Festival of Purim, since it was on Purim 1912 that Hadassah was founded in New York City, and the name Hadassah is the Hebrew for Esther. Pointing out that Purim commemorates the annihilation of anti-Semitic elements in ancient Persia, Mrs. Kramarsky stated:
“Whenever the venom of anti-Semitism seeps into a society, whether it be instigated by a Haman in Persia, by a Hitler in Germany, by Communists or Nazis–the echo of Mordecai’s injunction to Esther is a call to action. And the Jewish people throughout the ages have responded even as Esther did.” Calling upon Hadassah and “men and women of good will everywhere” to fight against anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination wherever it may exist, Mrs. Kramarsky asserted that “so long as the curse of anti-Semitism is not eradicated, Purim reminds us that the need for the response is still with us.
Mrs. Rose L. Halprin, national chairman of Hadassah’s Golden Jubilee Committee, outlined a credo for Hadassah which, she said, “leads us along the broad highway that is entry to the next 50 years.” Mrs. Halprin, who is a former national president of Hadassah, declared:
“We believe that the Jewish people is an eternal people; that it is one people and that to insure its survival and its unity must be the task of every successive generation. We believe that Israel reborn and the people of Israel settled on its own soil can create its own image, develop its own character, strive for its own perfection in a way that is impossible for any community in the Diaspora and that to aid Israel in this task is the responsibility of all of us.
“We believe that the Diaspora can be creative, that Jewish life can become more deeply rooted; that we can put the brakes on against the trend to ignorance. To this task we must dedicate ourselves for it would be a historic tragedy if the State of Israel were to be reborn and the Jewish people lost. We believe that Jewish communities everywhere and the Jewish community of Israel must be partners in the great task of survival.”
PRESIDENT KENNEDY, IN HIS GREETING, SAID:
“Hadassah has demonstrated for more than a generation that our society receives in giving. Our significance as a nation is often more visible in the hopes and aspirations that others entertain for us than in our own estimates of ourselves. For many years, immigrants to these shores constantly rekindled the vision of opportunity and freedom that inspired our first settlers. Now the tide runs in new channels. For all men everywhere are immigrants to freedom and opportunity; as our nation bends its strength and lends its hand to help them achieve this horizon in the spirit, in that act free men discover their own worth.
“Hadassah has realized this great truth for many years. It has brought not only help to others, but awareness to our own nation. For that, you are to be thanked and commended. As the world struggles from the dark ways of the past, and seeks the destiny of peace in freedom, organizations like Hadassah will continue to find a vital place in human affairs.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.