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Message from the President

Dear Friends,

I am just returned from the Presidential Training & Shabbatone (I had an Aliyah!), national board meeting, and our 97th national convention in Las Vegas.  With me were 7 WNER Hadassah sisters from Rhode Island all the way to the Berkshires.  At this most critical time for our people and our organization, we were joined by over 700 members and supporters.  Our theme was INSPIRE, IMAGINE, IGNITE and the various plenaries and breakout sessions did just that.
Yet, I return home with more questions than answers:

Why does the world ask how many Israelis were killed by Hamas rockets rather than how many would have been killed without the Iron Dome?  (aka Iron Kippah). And why is the fact that Israel protects its citizens seemingly less moral in the eyes of the media than if it allowed its citizens to be victims?  How do we imagine the US would respond if missiles were raining down on 70% of our nation?

Where is the condemnation for a terrorist organization that builds weapons tunnels instead of shelters?  Schools?  Medical clinics?  And who imagines the Gazan population would even need shelters if Hamas didn't obsessively bomb Israeli civilians?

And where is the outrage that  UN (!) schools, Gazan mosques and homes are used as human shields to hide armaments and terrorists?

Which other national defense force would drop leaflets urging civilians to vacate before their homes are to be bombed?  Or provide medical clinics to treat the casualties at the borders of both Gaza and Syria?  Only the IDF.  How proud we should be that the first responders of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were recipients of Hadassah's highest honor, the Henrietta Szold Award.

And finally, where are all our military casualties being treated?  This one has an easy answer:  your hospital, HMO.

Those of you who have been fortunate to attend prior conventions can imagine how emotional this year's gathering was.  The HMO session, the magic you make possible, had us in tears.  Finally a woman is at the helm of HMO; Professor Tamar (Tammy) Peretz, MD is our new interim director general. The financial concerns of the last year are resolved thanks to the heroic efforts of our leadership and the Israeli government.  Now it is time for us to focus on raising much needed funds to complete furnishing the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower as well as continuing our ongoing support to the medical center.  If you have an outstanding pledge, please pay it now.  And if you haven't signed a Letter of Intent for an after life gift to Hadassah, please consider it now.  At convention, a wonderful family bequest to our nursing school in Jerusalem was announced.  It will provide $20 million dollars over the next several years and will transform the school.  Even though your family and mine cannot make that sort of bequest, if all of us perpetuate our gifts to Hadassah as best we can, we will MAKE AN IMPACT.

The Zionist affairs sessions were remarkable and complex and we devoted time to considering how best to trigger the kinds of discussions about Israel we want to have on our college campuses and in our communities.

Our delegates passed eight policy statements, most related to our American Affairs agenda. You can read the full texts on our website but they run the gamut from advocating for women's economic equity and security including affordable child care; to combatting human trafficking; to reproductive choice; to combatting anti-semitism; and, of course, our unwavering support for Israel.  We need your help.  The 50 State Advocacy Training teams are just getting established.  We had an excellent first training session at convention.  But we do not yet have adequate representation from our western New England area.  Luckily, Connie Freeman, one of the Advocacy Team Leaders lives in nearby CT.  She is our nearby resource. If this is an area where you can give your limited time, please let me know and I will help you join the team.

A fun opportunity to participate is UPLIFT & OUTREACH:  HADASSAH SUPPORTS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS FROM A TO DD.  Find your hidden artist and get busy.

Randi Zuckerberg of Facebook and Broadway fame guided our delegates through the new world of Dot Complicated.  Other  opportunities to learn with the women who will lead us tomorrow included a panel discussion as well as a break out with the Hadassah Leadership Fellows, a truly remarkable group.

At this moment when you can make a meaningful impact in so many arenas, I invite you to join me in saying "Hineni...I am here".


Sue Polansky, President

Western New England Region

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