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Message from the President
As I begin this new journey as the President of the Northern NJ Region of Hadassah, many thoughts are going through my mind. I would like to briefly share some of my history with you. My great grandmother, Rebecca Zimmer, was a charter member of the Bridgeport, Ct. chapter of Hadassah. I learned recently that my other great grandmother, Esther Bowman, was also a member of that chapter. In fact, in 1927, when my grandmother, Anne Bowman Zimmer was 12 years old, she first set eyes on my grandfather at a Hadassah bridge luncheon, where he was helping wash dishes for the ladies. It was love at first sight, and the rest is history. If it weren't for Hadassah, my grandparents may never have met, so I truly owe everything I am to Hadassah.
The women in my family from my great grandmothers, to my grandmothers, to my mother, have all been amazing role models in their devotion to Hadassah. They have had an indelible impact in molding me into the committed Hadassah woman that I am today.
I have always been a very idealistic person and I must confess that for me, Hadassah embodies all that I find important in the world. Hadassah empowers women to do good for others. Hadassah connects women to other women and creates bonds of friendship. Hadassah teaches women to care for themselves with education programs such as the teen breast cancer "Check it Out" program and our successful heart health program "Every Beat Counts". Hadassah encourages advocacy, and provides women with the tools they need to contact their congress people, the president, and newspapers to promote issues that affect women's health, fair and equal pay, a woman' right to choose, and support of Israel to name a few.
We all are aware that Hadassah has been dealing with financial issues in recent times. At this point in time, we are moving in the right direction. We have reached an agreement with the government of Israel and our medical staff and we have found a way to help Hadassah Medical Organization return to solvency. Our doctors and nurses continue to provide the best medical care available. They go out of their way to help their patients and do not discriminate based on gender, race, religion, or ethnicity. Hadassah doctors and nurses are known to pull over on the side of the road if they see someone in need. Part of the problem with our financial situation was the result of Hadassah doctors spending more than the expected time with their patients, learning their health histories and taking more than just a moment, to learn about their personal situations. That caring time was not reimbursed financially. But this situation is mostly behind us, we must remember that over our 102 year history, this has not been our only challenge. We raised enough money to send two nurses to pre-state Israel in 1912, when women did not have the right to vote in the United States, and most women did not work outside of the home. But Hadassah women led by Henrietta Szold, our founder, understood the need to bring modern medical care to the people of Jerusalem and made it happen. The United States was in the midst of a depression, when Hadassah started to sponsor Youth Aliyah which rescued Jewish Youth from Nazi Germany. Today Youth Aliyah villages continue to support children at risk in Israel. Additionally, youth villages in Rwanda have been modeled on the Youth Aliyah plan to help the many children orphaned by the wars there. Hadassah also built their medical campus on Mt. Scopus during the depression, and continued to provide medical care at their Mt. Scopus campus until the convoy of doctors and nurses was attacked by Arabs on April 13, 1948. This is just the tip of a list of times in which Hadassah has overcome adversity. In spite of it all, Hadassah has grown and continued to do the work Henrietta Szold set out when she first returned from Palestine in 1909. We are Healing the Souls of our People "aruchat bat ami."
My goal as Northern NJ Region president is to inspire our membership to give generously to our projects. What Hadassah accomplishes is recognized worldwide. Just recently the world's most exclusive society of orthopedics, the ISOC which was founded in 2006, decided to expand its membership from ten original orthopedic centers to a larger pool to gather people of different cultures into the society without compromising its rigorous membership standards. This past week, ISOC announced that it was including a single center in the Middle East: Hadassah.
Immediate past Hadassah Director General Dr. Avigdor Kaplan stated "The global election of Hadassah's Orthopedic Complex by ISOC brings an international spotlight to its excellence and contribution to development of medicine in Israel and throughout the world. " When we share stories such as this one, we allow people to see the amazing work of Hadassah. As a result, we have the potential to bring in many fundraising dollars from those inspired people. I know that there are challenges ahead, but we need to get the message about the incredible work of Hadassah out to the wider community. What we do for the people of Israel is unbelievable. What we do for the world of medical research cannot be matched. Each member matters and each member can make a difference. I urge everyone here today to talk about the wonders of Hadassah to others and do their best to motivate them to become involved in our incredible organization. As Henrietta Szold once said, "When you dream, dream big!" That's my mission, I have dreams for what the Northern NJ Region of Hadassah will be able to accomplish and I hope you will join me in order to make those dreams a reality.
Stephanie Z Bonder