Israel at 70, HMO at 100, Building Bridges

Wednesday, Apr 18 2018

Dear Friends,

As we joyfully celebrate the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel on Yom Ha'Atzmaut and reflect on how much Israel can achieve in the next 70 years, I hope you'll share my pride in Hadassah's positive impact from pre-state Israel to a nation of innovation.

Since our founding, Hadassah has advanced a Zionist vision of building bridges to peace, ensuring the health and well-being of Israel and all its people.

This spirit was captured beautifully in this mini NBC News documentary: "While conflict affects daily life, these Israeli and Palestinian transplant surgeons at the Hadassah [Medical Organization] work together to save lives, with no regard to political differences."

Every day, our hospitals, Youth Aliyah villages, and advocacy efforts are building bridges to peace while supporting a strong Israel.

That's always been true. In a 1921 letter, for example, our founder Henrietta Szold wrote about a project to combat malaria near the Sea of Tiberias, saving lives in Arab villages and in Jewish settlements in the Yishuv. Today the Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) — 100 years old! — helps a million patients each year, regardless of faith, race or nationality, while our research brings hope to families around the world.

"No institution models a place of complete peace under the most demanding circumstances more than Hadassah," said the late beloved statesman and peacemaker, Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

Inside Hadassah's hospitals medical teams and researchers tend to patients side by side, of all faiths, providing some of the best treatment in the Middle East. This care and HMO's humanitarian initiatives extend far beyond the hospital's sliding doors. To share just a few:

  • For 15 children from Gaza and the West Bank who were born deaf, Hadassah means hearing for the first time.
  • A Gaza offshoot of the Hadassah Center for Cystic Fibrosis provides much-needed care while training Palestinian medical professionals.
  • HMO's ART Joy Love combats HIV in orphanages in Kenya, Ethiopia, India and Uganda.
  • The HMO Ophthalmology Department — also celebrating its centennial this year — brings eye care to many African countries.
  • HMO nurses create communities of compassion among Israeli and Palestinian nurses. It's also the 100th anniversary of the Henrietta Szold Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Nursing!

As we celebrate Israel's 70th, Hadassah is committed to continuing to build momentum around our vision of Zionism as a positive and proactive force, kulanu b'yachad. Together.

Despite the prevalence of divisive rhetoric, most Americans — 74% — view Israel favorably, according to the 2018 Gallup poll, "Americans Remain Staunchly in Israel's Corner." As Dan Shapiro, former US Ambassador to Israel, once said, "With its deep American roots and branches, [Hadassah] represents how truly unbreakable the bonds are between our two great nations."

You're a part of that. Thank you — for all that you do for Hadassah, for HMO, and to counter negative attitudes by sharing these stories of bridges to peace and this moving video. What a powerful way to share our values, too.

Happy 70th, Israel.

Ellen Hershkin (signature)

Ellen Hershkin
Hadassah National President

PS: Join me next month for a powerful celebration at Hadassah's Women's Health & Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC.


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