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Centennial Story

"Make my eyes look to the future"
- Henrietta Szold, Hadassah Founder

"If we are Zionists…what is the good of meeting and talking and drinking tea? Let us do something real and practical—let us organize the Jewish women of America and send nurses and doctors to Palestine." — Henrietta Szold, Feb. 24, 1912, the day Hadassah was founded, to 38 women gathered at Temple EmanuEl, New York City

And so they did.

And here we are: Daughters and granddaughters and great granddaughters of those strong, committed, visionary, feet-on-the-ground women. What made them different? Why did the organization they started continue and thrive, when others of the time are long forgotten?

Because they were practical Zionists. They dreamed of what could be in Palestine—and then they took off their gloves, rolled up their sleeves, opened their pocketbooks, and made it happen. They did send nurses to a bleak and barren Jerusalem…and laid the groundwork for Israel's healthcare system. They made the deserts bloom. They rescued and nurtured and educated children who would grow up to shape a new nation.

They dreamed of what could be for American Jews. They taught women to be leaders, and advocates for issues that matter to Israel and to American families. They championed the budding Zionist youth movement—their promise that Hadassah's partnership with Israel would last forever.

They could not know that the future would bring Depression, Holocaust, and wars. With intelligence, energy and grace, they met every call to action with action.

Today we stand with a prosperous, proud Israel. Like those pioneering women a century ago, we are practical Zionists. Today, because of you—Hadassah hospitals treat one million patients a year, and our medical research and trauma care are world renown. Today, because of you—Israel's earth is green, and youth become productive citizens and leaders, adding their strength to the land we love.

We move together into our future with confidence and with a love for the Jewish people, a steadfast commitment to Israel, and a mission to ensure Jewish continuity. Happy Centennial, Hadassah!

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