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Hadassah’s National President Marcie Natan and past presidents Bonnie Lipton, Marlene Post and Nancy Falchuk cut the ribbon on the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Hadassah Heritage Center at Hadassah Ein Kerem on Saturday night, October 13.
The interactive museum, which brings to life the history of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA), occupies a suite of rooms linking the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower with the Chagall Windows, near the new Rotunda.
Attending the ceremony were the 31 of the 34 Region and Big Chapter Presidents whose regions comprise the 330,000 members of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, and representatives from the Herzteins' hometown of Houston.
Heritage Center Chair Bonnie Lipton said, “I look at those who have lead us and I am almost speechless. Working on the Heritage Center in this building is beyond fulfillment. The Center will grow to reflect our changing history.”
Audrey Shimron, Executive Director of Hadassah's Offices in Israel explained that she had presented the idea to the National Board a year and a half earlier. The “man of their dreams,” Jerusalem architect David Shapira, was chosen as designer and a group of dedicated, educated volunteers in Israel and the US they began collecting stories, photographs, videos, newspaper clippings and artifacts.
“I hope you will receive the sense of pride we have had over the past year and a half as we were led on an incredible journey by Bonnie Lipton,” said Shimron. ”The days have passed when a visit to a museum was monotone and where visitors followed a fixed path along mute exhibits. Today, interactive museums entertain as well as educate, reaching out to a generation of kids raised on Nintendo DS, as well as their parents and grandparents who are smartphone savvy.”
With the generous support of the Herzstein Foundation, the Heritage Center provides dynamic multimedia expression to the rich and dramatic history of the organization’s accomplishments and future directions. Making use of the most advanced interactive, multimedia techniques, the 100 years of Hadassah allow visitors are able to discovery and explore, tailoring the visit to their own pace and interests.
On entering the 1,300 square foot Heritage Center, visitors receive a headset and audioguide that responds to the various exhibits.
At the heart of the Heritage Center stands a sculpture of the symbol of Hadassah: a six-pointed Star of David with the message from the Prophet Jeremiah: “The Healing of the Daughter of My People m by Jerusalem Shapiro.” At three of the star points, a time-line with Hadassah history and holograms presenting speaking personalities will introduce the visitors to the dramatic story of Hadassah’s partnership with Israel.
The sculpture also provides exhibit space for outstanding artifacts of Hadassah’s history, such as Henrietta Szold’s personal diary.
Using state- of -the -art technology like such as talking hologram, and electronic books, the Heritage Center features 100 years of the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. Portraits of the each National presidents, each are superimposed on a newspaper with a major event that occurred during her presidency.; There is a lit map on a wood tree- of -life sculpture with showing Hadassah projects in the fields of health and education,; and Hadassah’s links and connection to Israel cover one wall, beneath photographs of Hadassah’s 25 National Presidents, from Henrietta Szold to Marcie Natan.
An interactive “MonkeyBook,” a convex projection screen in an authentic book design, will invite visitors to learn about Hadassah, Israel, and world events, that occurred as well as the personality personalities and achievements of Hadassah’s national leaders.
Photos, recordings, and movies will can be summoned by touch from the transparent, acrylic MonkeyBook, which includes an integrated, continuous operation -capable Micro-PC and a high-precision camera tracking system enabling interaction for the intuitive user interaction, such as scrolling through the virtual pages of books, and video playback.
An elegant sculpture by David Shapira integrates the map of Israel with a tree of life on another wall of the Center. It, too, is interactive, providing it provides photos and films of Hadassah’s pioneering health centers, schools, and projects throughout the country.
Homage to those members of the extended Hadassah family who have lost their lives in the effort to build Israel will be expressed in the Memorial section of the Center.
A movie of Hadassah’s history and accomplishments runs in a loop in the second room, providing an exhilarating uplifting flourish to the end of the visit.
In the future, before leaving, visitors will be given the opportunity to have be photographed with a historical or modern background and to have the photo sent to them by e-mail. This will provide an opportunity for us to establish a visitor’s data base for further contact.
The Center is not opened to the public yet, but will be completed over the next year.
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