Our hearts ache in sorrow as we mourn the death of past President and Prime Minister, Shimon Peres.
We, the members and supporters of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc., have lost more than a powerful senior statesman and peace-maker who dedicated his life in service to the Jewish State.
We have lost more than a strong defender of Israel, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and a father of the Oslo Accords, a past prime minister and president.
We have lost a friend. We have lost a powerful voice, the sound of which always resonated deeply within me. We have lost a Hadassah Henrietta Szold Humanitarian Awardee, who many of us were so proud to have represent us, and the Jewish people.
May his family find solace in his memory and his legacy.
"No institution models a place of complete peace under the most demanding circumstances more than Hadassah," Peres once said. At Hadassah's Centennial Celebration, he told our delegates: "Our greatest institutions were established during the time of the Yishuv, before the establishment of the State, institutions like the Hebrew University, the symphony orchestra, and Hadassah."
In 2007, when Peres was elected Israel's ninth president, our then Hadassah national president, June Walker (z"l) praised him and his generation of pioneers who came from Europe to build a homeland for all Jews, reflecting the values of Judaism.
As we hold close his memory, we must do all we can to support and defend the Jewish State that Peres helped build. "We are best," Peres once told a Hadassah gathering, "when we work together, motivated to lift up the lives of others."
May his words guide us now that he is gone and may his memory be a blessing.