- Policy Statements Passed!
- Plenary: Hadassah Achieves the Dream: Jewish Continuity and a Love of Israel
- Plenary: Hadassah Achieves the Dream: Building Global Partnerships
- Breakout: Hadassah at the UN: Playing a Vital Role
- Breakout: To Be Young, Jewish, and a Female Leader
- Breakout: Youth Aliyah: Transforming Children's Lives
- Breakout: Securing Our Future: Young Judaea
- Breakout: Empowering Yourself, Empowering Your Daughters (and Granddaughters too!)
- The Increasing Power of Women in the Knesset
- Plenary: Against All Odds, Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO)
- Plenary: New Trends in the Jewish Communal World
Watch Hadassah Power of Our Dreams Award Recipient Gwyneth Paltrow, Oscar-Winning Actress
"In Understanding what Hadassah does, I feel that I should be the one honoring YOU all," the Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow said Monday when honored with Hadassah's Power of Our Dreams Award, presented by Hadassah National President Ellen Hershkin. During her remarks, Paltrow talked about her family heritage, which includes more than 30 rabbis, her own spiritual connection to Judaism, and family. An act of kindness done in Israel, she said, can be felt around the world.
Policy Statements Passed!
Yesterday morning, at the National Business Meeting, Convention Delegates passionately debated and unanimously passed four new Hadassah Policy Statements on the issues of UN Reform, Zionism, LGBTQ Equality, and Caregiving. Policy Statements affirm Hadassah’s positions and provide the mandate for advocacy by units and at the national level. These new policy statements are now available online at hadassah.org/policystatements.
Plenary: Hadassah Achieves the Dream: Jewish Continuity and a Love of Israel
Barbara "BG" Goldstein introduced the session where Lauren Stern Kedem, PR Director and English Teacher at Meir Shfeya Youth Aliyah Village, and YA National Chair Carol Goodman Kaufman spoke about the newest programs at our Youth Aliyah Villages. Lauren has been with this village for approx. 20 years and says she's very fortunate to be at the Meir Shfeya Youth Village.
BG introduced Natalie Silverman, Young Judaea Development Chair, and Leor Rosen, YJ Leaders of Tomorrow Award winner. Leor's mother and grandmother are also both at convention which led to her claim that her YJ experience began before she was born when her parents met at Camp Tel Yehuda. YJ has been an integral part of their family's lives. Leor has gone to YJ camps, Machon trip to Israel, is a YJ camp counselor this summer, and will leave for Year Course next month. She proudly says that she's been destined to go on Year Course since she was born. In the future, she wants to explore more about herself and Judaism. She knows she wants to continue to be involved in organizations including Hadassah and will definitely keep working to contribute to tikkun olam, repairing the world. With a show of hands of women going to Israel this year, Leor is happy that these women will visit her during the year.
Plenary: Hadassah Achieves the Dream: Building Global Partnerships
Joyce Rabin, Hadassah International (HI) President, opened the session by briefly describing how Hadassah International came to be. She also explained the redefined vision statement underscores HI's support for HMO, underscoring what makes HMO unique to HI's worldwide partners. She went on to show some of the successful programs around the world.
Dalia Itzik, the Chair of the HI Israel Board of Trustees, spoke about the need for a Board of Trustees in Israel because donors from around the world want to see Israelis contributing to HMO as well. Meir Mark, Director of Hadassah Israel, expounded on Dalia’s comments.
Jorge Diener talked about HI’s successes and expansion into Brazil and Moscow and upcoming partnerships with the Hispanic Christian Evangelicals.
HI Director Melissa Kaplan explained the strategic goal and recent successes of global partnerships with such companies as BMW, Christie’s, Forbes, Tory Burch, and others.
Breakout: Hadassah at the UN: Playing a Vital Role
Our UN Team presents programs to the Commission on the Status of Women, and represents Hadassah’s mission to the United Nations. The UN Team was pleased to present Nelly Shiloh, Head of the Human Rights Division at the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations. "Hadassah’s values — which embrace change, personal growth, pluralism, and social responsibility — all resonate with the work we do every day at the Human Rights Division of the Israeli Mission," Shiloh said. She discussed the challenges in the Middle East today and for Israel at the United Nations. Shiloh states that tolerance and mutual understanding are the way to peace,, but progress can only be made if there is mutual understanding and discussion between parties for the agreement.
Shiloh mentioned an upcoming seminar on anti-Semitism at the United Nations on September 7, which will be open to the public and webcast. Hadassah will share additional information in the coming weeks. Attendees were also encouraged to download and use the new UN program Alphabet Soup at the United Nations, available on myHadassah.
Breakout: To Be Young, Jewish, and a Female Leader
Moderated by Rabbi Ellen Flax, Director of the Hadassah Foundation, with panelists Rachel Glicksman, Alumni Director of Avodah Noam Green, Rising Voices Fellow at the Jewish Women’s Archive, and Rachel Wasserman, Executive Director, Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta.
The dynamic session focused on the role young Jewish women play in our society, what their vision is for female leadership, how their identity as Jewish women contributes to leadership, and what the systemic barriers are to being leaders.
All felt it isn’t necessary to identify young leaders as "Jewish" female leaders, but it is far more important to identify them as "female leaders." Additionally, all felt their Jewish identity is an important element in their roles as leaders. Noam said being a Jewish woman is "where my strength comes from."
How to attract a young Jewish women:
- Be open to shifting help us feel safe and provide a comfortable opportunity for connection remove any possible barriers.
- Even if we can’t participate with time yet, due to personal/family obligations, with time, we can still participate as donors.
- Engage us based on our stage in life, not where you think women our age are at.
Rachel Wasserman shared a story about when she was in 6th grade and responded to an injustice: "It’s not hard to be a leader when you are brave enough to speak out about something that you feel is wrong."
Breakout: Youth Aliyah: Transforming Children's Lives
Interactive and inspiring panel discussion on our Youth Aliyah project, moderated by Dr. Carol Goodman Kaufman, Youth Aliyah Chair, about the serious challenges these children face. Lauren Stern Kedem, Director of PR and English teacher at Meir Shfeya Youth Aliyah Village, described how Youth Aliyah Villages work. "Hospitals save lives. Villages change lives." Dr. Peter Ash, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Services at Emory University, discussed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Much PTSD research in Israel focuses on war and terrorism.
Judge Steven Tuskegee, Chief Judge of the Clayton (GA) County Juvenile Court in Atlanta, said that his court is well versed in the assessment tools used to determine which kids should remain in the community. "Traumatized people traumatize people," he said, adding that "disruptive behaviors don't happen by chance." He also stated that "we too frequently treat the symptoms."
Breakout: Securing Our Future: Young Judaea
Simon Klarfeld, Director of Young Judaea Global moderated the session about Young Judaea, which provides youth with strong skills for becoming Jewish educators and leaders. YJ stresses the Jewish people's rich heritage and strong values, focusing on tikkun olam and how you and I will change the world. Panelist Lauren Magalnick Berman says that life values are taught and absorbed at YJ, which teaches leadership and advocacy skills deep love and passion for Israel.
The Hadassah Leaders of Tomorrow Award, said recipient Leor Rosen, strengthened her bonds with community and inspired activism for social activism and change.
Breakout: Empowering Yourself, Empowering Your Daughters (and Granddaughters too!)
A vibrant Naomi Katz, founder of The Beautiful Project, talked emphatically to a multi-generational room about how poor body image negatively impacts too many girls’ and women’s lives. This interactive session put a spotlight on the value of women’s friendships, and how a lack of trust — as well as envy, and competition — can have negative consequences for everyone, lowering women’s self-esteem. Naomi Katz says that to change it, we need to "create environments for the girls and women around you," especially for girls, so they develop a sense of safety — like she had at Young Judaea. As adults, we need to be comfortable accepting — not deflecting — compliments. We need to not judge other women, and start being intentional about thinking about our strengths, not our weaknesses, especially in a culture where we are all bombarded with unattainable beauty standards.
The Increasing Power of Women in the Knesset
In this intimate session, Dalia Itzik, chair of the Hadassah International Israel Board of Trustees and Israel’s first woman Speaker of the Knesset, share personal reflections on a life that started in financial distress, yet led to multiple powerful levels in Israel’s government, including as acting president. In an emotional conversation with Barbara Sofer, PR director, Hadassah Office in Israel, Itzik shared moving stories from her childhood, including not having enough to eat. Attendees laughed as Itzik described her own work-life balance issues as an Israeli politician: "On the one hand, you give an interview on the budget of Israel, on the other hand you’re ironing…. Yet, when I compare my life to my mother’s life, there’s no comparison. But we still have a lot, a lot, a lot of obstacles [to overcome]." Women, she said, need to stop feeling guilty. "We feel always we have to do more. We feel we’re not a good enough woman, not enough wife, not enough…. but just in being not enough, we’re so tired. We have to tell ourselves ;— we are doing the best, we try to do the best." As the session wrapped up, she stressed her gratitude to past National President Nancy Falchuk for coming so often to Parliament to advocate, and strengthening her bond with Hadassah.
Breakout: Medical Ethics: End of Life Care
Everyone should have an advance directive for healthcare. You can find one online and download. Make sure your family knows your wishes. Things you must think about: who will make decisions, how the decisions will be made, rationale for making decisions, never be bullied by a physician. The session also touched on how Jewishly we make decisions on end of life care, such as if intervention (such as a feeding tube) will lead to healing, it is obligatory, but not acceptable if it simply prolongs life.
Plenary: Against All Odds, Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO)
HMO Chair Dr. Rachel Schonberger opened the session with a salute to Hadassah Past National President Bonnie Lipton for her leadership role in building the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower.
A humorous video got a standing ovation. Next up was HMO Director General Zeev Rotstein who stated "I'm here to testify that Hadassah is excellent in quality, as Hadassah Ein Kerem was recently given a #1 rating in Israel. He stated many facts about new research, new treatments and that Hadassah is outstanding in the area of orthopedics—people are contantly coming from the north to HMO. Prof. Rotstein loved the HWZOA brand tagline so much that he stated that "the Power of Doing will be my Compass."
He also claimed that "HMO is not less than the Ivy League of hospitals, here in the States" and announced a project with the Mayor of Jerusalem to bring the trains to Hadassah.
National Vice President Diane Gottlieb announced that Hadassah-Hebrew University medical school approved a Doctorate of Nursing. Diane Issenberg, Development Division Coordinator, gave highlights on the research campaign and the attendees learned about Prof. Polina Stepensky’s successful work on children with osteopretrosis.
Finally, Barbara Sofer, Director of Public Relations at Hadassah Office in Israel, led a panel discussion featuring Dr. Abed Khalaileh, HMO Senior Surgeon, Karen Lakin whose husband Richard Lakin z"l, died from stab wounds in an October 2015 terrorist attack. It was an emotional session.
The session concluded with a celebration of 25 years of HMO’s trauma center. After a video showing the recovery of three trauma patients, one of them, Liana Alvarez, "jogged" up the aisle and told her remarkable story of recovery.
Plenary: New Trends in the Jewish Communal World
Executive Director/CEO Janice Weinman said, this panel will "bring to light the challenges that we face here in the US in being able to create generations and generations of... Jewish leaders who will be willing to commit to the kinds of activities and good deeds that are done through Hadassah here in the US as well as in Israel.
Kathy Manning, former chair of the board of trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America and partner, Manning and Associates Zoya Raynes, leader on Jewish and philanthropic boards including the Jewish Communal Fund and Chairman of the Council of Young Jewish Presidents, and Dov Wilker, Regional Director of AJC Atlanta, talked about strategies for keeping younger Jews engaged in Jewish communal organizations in the face of declining memberships.
Raynes talked about the importance of content, innovation and ;"creating communities around things people really care about. Jewish continuity is all about ensuring the ideas that we share with our children and friends and family — the things that are important to us —that they’ll be able to share that with someone else later on. Manning spoke of meeting "people at different parts of their lives: day schools, camps, Hillels. In our communities, we have to be open to bringing in Jews in whatever way they want to come to us."