Northern Seaboard Region > Message from the President

Message from the President

By Rhoda Dombchik

Our official centennial year is coming to a close officially this month. Henrietta Szold signed the charter of Hadassah on February 24, 1912. It has been an amazing 100 years beginning with the guidance and leadership of one woman who had inspired thousands of Hadassah members until today we number 330,000 strong, eager to learn and help those less fortunate.  

Sixteen hundred of us eagerly flew to Israel in October to take part in Hadassah Centennial Year Convention.  I attended a four day President’s Mission with 35 amazing women before the general Convention. 

Our first stop was at the Machaneh Yehuda Market. Each stall was filled with gorgeous fruits, small baked goods with their honey glaze glistening in the sunlight, candies or meats. We could feel the excitement of the arrival of Shabbat. 

After we checked into our Hotel, we left for a prayer service at the Kotel, the Western Wall. Marcie Natan, our National President and Marlene Post, past National President and past International Hadassah President, led us in a prayer service. 

At our Shabbat dinner Barbara Goldstein, a dynamic speaker who moved to Israel 25 years ago, shared the impact of Hadassah on the people of Israel. On Shabbat, our group met to discuss role models and how we can be a positive influence on others. Then we trekked to the Israel Museum, the 10thbiggest museum in the world, housing the famous Dead Sea Scrolls in the Shrine of the Book. Magnificent treasures covered world cultures from ancient through modern times. 

After a full day of touring the Israel Museum, we had the treat of listening to Barbara Sofer.  She spoke of Leadership and Women in the Torah.  Her messages give us a new perspective on what is happening in Israel through individual’s stories.  It was a pleasure meeting her in person. Havdallah was celebrated outside under the stars as we sang “Shavuah Tov.”

After a light supper at the hospital mall, we walked down the hall to the Bloomberg Mother and Child Center in the newly opened Sarah Wetzman Davidson Tower. Banners were up welcoming Hadassah members and many plaques were still covered for the special dedication. We were invited into one of the rooms by a an Arab woman with a shawl on her head whose husband was the patient. They exemplified why Hadassah Medical Organization had been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. All patients and staff, Jewish, Moslem, or Christian, are treated with the same respect. We stopped to view the healing gardens, lovely indoor landscaping visible from five floors and overlooking the Jerusalem Hills. 

Sunday morning was beginning of a very long exciting day. We passed through the Settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, viewed Bedouin encampments, stopped at the massive Tirziu Reservoir constructed by JNF, and stopped at two Jordan connections. The first was a memorial to six Israeli school girls killed by a Jordanian who was upset by the peace treaty. King Hussein visited the families during the week of shiva. The second one was an open crossing at the Jordan River to the Island of Peace. We had lunch at the Kibbutz Degania Aleph/Bet where Moshe Dyan grew up. From Haifa, we visited Atlit-the British Detention Camp where the book,A Day After Night, was based. We arrive at the Memorial for Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv at nightfall. The memorial is made up of very large square boulders that do not fit, as if from an earthquake, symbolic of the upheaval caused by Rabin’s death.

Wow what a week—one I will always remember. I am very proud of the accomplishments of Hadassah. I am looking with anticipation to what we will realize in the next century with your collective help.

Getting away and interacting with other Hadassah members in Israel was a worthwhile learning experience. You too can take advantage of a broader Hadassah interaction by attending the Region’s Conference at Rehoboth Beach on April 26-28. What a great time to meet other women from across our region and share programs, fundraisers and ideas for increased membership. 

Rhoda Dombchik, President

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