Why do we do Hadassah? People ask us all of the time … We are committed to the future of the Jewish people, the future of the Jewish homeland. We want to ensure Jewish continuity. I wear my Hadassah bracelet when I speak even though people say don’t wear a charm bracelet it will jingle – I want it to jingle. When my bracelet jingles you will ask about it, one of the charms is the world. It represents our responsibility for Tikun Olam, Repairing the World. We must leave this world a better place than when we arrived. We want to ensure that our traditions are carried on by our children and our grandchildren. These virtues are important to all of us. When people ask you “Why do you do Hadassah?” You should ask them, “Why don’t you do Hadassah?”
Members and friends travel to Israel every day. I want to stand here today and tell you that they are invited to visit Hadassah hospital and the Hadassah projects. All they need to do is tell us so that we can make the arrangements for them. They do not have to be with a Hadassah mission. They do not have to be on a mission. They can be with friends, in a group or by themselves. We want to share our wonderful secret of Hadassah with them and are happy to – only we need to do is RSVP, in advance.
Every year, our chapter has the privilege of hearing about the latest innovations that occur at our Youth Aliyah villages. The mandolin orchestra at Meir Shfeya; the equestrian program; the jewelry making that many of us have personally benefited from; the return to Poland experience with Hadassah leadership; just to name a few.
This year has seen wonderful innovations at Hadassah Neurim, which is located just outside of Netanya. Just to tell you about a few of them:
We have started an artisan carpentry course this year, which meets the needs of students who have significant learning disabilities. A professional carpenter/teacher has created wonderful relationships with the students, who are not only interested in the relationships they are developing but are also learning new skills. You can see the results of the students’ work all over the grounds of the village.
We have a new dog training program, focusing on the treatment and guidance of dogs, - it was opened this past January. It was created to be a matriculation based course and the students are able to obtain a professional diploma. All of the students benefit from the courses and they develop their own self-esteem.
A unique program was created for a biennial course for physical education instructors in partnership with the Tel Aviv University. The program provides a trainer’s diploma to its graduates and will enable those who take at least four matriculation exams to continue on to higher academic studies in the Wingate Institute, which is also located just outside of Netanya.
As an additional attraction to athletes in Hadassah Neurim, the National Center for Weightlifting was renovated and established in memory of the 11 murdered Munich Olympic Competitors. There is now an instructor, who lives in the village, for the purpose of developing this Olympic skill. As an added bonus to the students who are training, there are also Olympic athletes training at Hadassah Neurim, side by side, with our youth. They are showing our youth that there is nothing that they cannot accomplish.
The building of a martial arts center was completed and in cooperation with the Judo Association in Israel, a new course has commenced for 9th graders, guided by a newly hired instructor.
There are also 11th and 12th graders participating in a new computer technician course within the Net@ project, providing a 3-year after-school program for students, enabling them to become certified PC technicians and web managers. An additional group for the 9-10th grade students just started this past semester.
For the second year Hadassah Neurim students are participating in a project of personal empowerment, enhanced by survival field trips. Fifteen 10th grade students participate in this project.
We, you and I, are accomplishing amazing feats with our donations to youth aliyah, children at risk. The villages have changed with the times. I would love to tell you that they are no longer needed. That every family in Israel is a happy, functional family, however, that isn’t the case. The children need our help and the help of our villages. We are building the June Walker new science center at Meir Shfeyeh. In honor of our immediate Past national President. A village whose original roots were agricultural will have a center focused on sciences and academics.
So, what can we do? We can attend teas like this one today and ask our friends to as well. Even if they can’t attend, we would like them to make their donations. The luncheon today was beautiful and Israeli tea is being sold, an interesting twist to a tea!
This past December, in honor of Allison’s Bat Mitzvah, we made a donation to Youth Aliyah called a Matnat Mitzvah to help a child at Hadassah Neurim in honor of Allison.
Matnat Mitzvah can help a child become a Bat Mitzvah; participate in water sport activities, take diving courses; learn professional biking; take a break dancing hip hop course; or take a professional Make-up course, or more.
If you are going to go to Israel – please tell me so that I can make sure you get to go to one of our youth aliyah villages or Hadassah hospital. As I said before, you do not have to go on a mission – you do not have to be with a Hadassah group. We want to make sure you have the opportunity to visit any or all of the Hadassah projects that you have helped support and nurture over the years.
Remember, it is up to us to ensure the future, to pass on the traditions. It is up to us to SHARE THE SECRET OF HADASSAH.