NEW YORK—Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc. is excited to announce the
creation of an annual Hadassah Shabbat to be held on the Shabbat preceding Purim.
Shabbat Zachor holds particular importance as Hadassah was founded during Purim and
was Esther's Hebrew name. Hadassah is encouraging rabbis and congregations to
become part of the first Hadassah Shabbat Zachor on March 14 and 15, 2014.
Hadassah Shabbat will celebrate Parshat Zachor, reminding us how evil can be transformed
into good, focusing on the victory of Israel over Amalek and of Esther and Vashti over
oppression and discrimination. As an organization of over 330,000 women across the
country, Hadassah will read Parshat Zachor as a reclaiming of Vashti as a force against
discrimination. Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Assembly
(RA) of the Conservative Movement states, "The story of Esther emphasizes Jewish
women's pivotal role in our communities. The Rabbinical Assembly encourages
congregations to reflect on women's equality during Hadassah Shabbat."
Shabbat Zachor was chosen because of its particular importance to Hadassah, provider of
medical care in Israel to patients regardless of race, religion or nationality, and in
international disaster relief. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union of Reform Judaism
(URJ), describes, "The circle of God's love leaves no one out, but too often our Jewish
community can shut its hearts and doors to those in need. Hadassah is committed to
providing medical attention and care around the world and Hadassah Shabbat brings these
important values to light."
Rabbi Fredi Cooper, Acting Director of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, shares
her support, "Years ago my husband's mother made me a lifetime member of Hadassah. As
a lifetime member I encourage you and your congregation to make use of these materials to
celebrate Shabbat Zachor in the manner suggested by Hadassah." Hadassah will partner
with congregations of all denominations to provide tools and readings as well as speakers
to open discussion on the teachings of Parshat Zachor. "Hadassah is an organization which
inspires passion for the land of Israel, the health and wellness of people worldwide, and
Jewish education. Hadassah Shabbat will celebrate and connect our many goals and
missions back to their origin, the Torah," explains Hadassah National President Marcie
Natan. Hadassah Shabbat Zachor will strengthen old memories of these teachings while
welcoming new connections during the celebratory and reflective time of Purim, when
Hadassah came to be.
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, is the largest women's Zionist Jewish membership organization in the United States, and was founded in 1912. 330,000 members, associates, and supporters strong, Hadassah is now in its second century, growing our commitment to innovative and life-changing medical care and research, women's empowerment, education, advocacy, philanthropy and building Jewish identity – in Israel, America and around the world.