(New York, NY -- August 13, 2004) -- June Walker of Rockaway, New Jersey, was re-elected the National President of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, at the organization’s annual national convention held last month in Phoenix, AZ. She is the organization’s 23rd national president, a post to which she can be re-elected three times for a total of four years; this is her second year in office.
In the coming year, Walker intends to mobilize the 300,000 grassroots members of Hadassah to advocate for public funding of stem cell research, both at the national and the state level. On March 2, 2005, Hadassah members in all 50 states will meet with their state legislators to encourage the passage of state legislation, permitting public funding of this invaluable research. Inspired by the continued pioneering successes of Hadassah’s Goldyne Savad Institute of Gene Therapy, which owns six stem cell lines approved for U.S. federal funding, Walker said: “We are critically interested in the intersection of science and public policy and want to ensure that medical research flourishes in this country, unfettered by politically motivated regulations.”
Also in 2005, fundraising projects will continue and intensify so that the Judean Youth Hostel, for which ground has been broken in the Massuah neighborhood of Jerusalem, can be completed. At Ein Kerem, the Mother and Child Center will be expanded, as will the Sharett Institute of Oncology. The centerpiece of the capital program to strengthen the infrastructure of the Hadassah Medical Organization will be the development of a new patient tower for which the national board recently authorized $180 million. Over the course of the next 12-18 months, a major capital campaign will be developed and subsequently launched to raise the necessary funds.
“Whether it be the concrete and mortar - or the theoretical building of minds, skills and self esteem at our various educational and youth programs - we are building for the future of our great organization and for the State of Israel,” Walker said.
During the past year, under her leadership the organization completed a record $50 million fundraising campaign and broke ground for a new Center for Emergency Medicine, which will be dedicated on March 25, 2005 at the Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem. As major advocates on a variety of issues critical to Israel, Zionism and Jewish women, Hadassah continued its series of educational missions to Israel by sending 13 groups, familiarizing hundreds of first-time and repeat visitors with the Jewish state. High level delegations were sent to observe the hearings on the legality of Israel’s security fence by the International Court of Justice in The Hague and to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Conference on Anti-Semitism in Berlin. On the domestic front, the organization mobilized hundreds of women to attend the “March for Women’s Lives” in Washington, DC on April 25, and brought numerous chapters to Washington to advocate with Congressmen and Senators on issues of interest.
Walker, who was born and spent her early years in the Bronx, comes from a rich Hadassah tradition and has risen through its ranks, coming to the presidency from the position of National Treasurer. Before that, she served as National Vice President and National Chair of the Hadassah College of Technology (now Hadassah College Jerusalem). She has also been chair of the American Affairs/Domestic Policy Department and was responsible for the development of the Washington Action Office and a fully staffed National Department of Women’s Health.
Walker’s academic degrees are in chemistry, respiratory therapy, and public health administration. As a chemist, she participated in virus research at the Rockefeller Foundation. After becoming a practicing respiratory therapist, she taught at Passaic County Community College, and was director of In-Service Education for Pulmonary Medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.
She and her husband, Barrett, an engineer, have three children and six grandchildren.