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Message from the President

  As the long days of summer stretch out through the month of July, many  chapters tend to go into a kind of warm weather hibernation. The Fast of  Tammuz (more on this later) is the only Jewish calendar date and  Independence Day is the only national holiday in July, as important as that long weekend is. My favorite July activities include Hadassah’s  National Convention.

Lucky members go away in July for a change of scenery. About 800 members and Associates are expected to attend the Hadassah National Convention July 21-23 in Las Vegas. Delegates to the Convention will celebrate Hadassah’s past, present and future. Desert-Mountain Region attendees will report to us about all the speakers and events that crowd into two days of inspiration, imagination and re-ignition. 

With all this July time on our hands, we can think ahead to Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 24-26, 2014). Hadassah’s very colorful Rosh Hashanah cards are available now and some are on sale. Contact your Chapter Cards chair to order yours. Then sit by the pool or beach or in the air conditioning and write your Rosh Hashanah cards out in while you summer hibernate in July!

Our two hospitals in Jerusalem, known collectively as Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO), have gone through a difficult time of reorganization. Out of all the negotiations with the government of Israel and our loyal staff, HMO has emerged financially stronger and able to see its way through the next 100 years of medical service to Israel and the world. HWZOA has promised to complete and furnish the Sarah Wetsman Davidson. Hospital Tower and to continue our $19 million a year support of HMO. With your help, my Hadassah Friends, we will do that and more.

Although we may be “summer hibernating,” our HMO hospitals have been very busy.The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the start of multi-center Phase II clinical trials in the United States to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with adult stem cell technology first introduced by the Hadassah Medical Organization’s Prof. Dimitrios Karussis, Senior Neurologist and head of Hadassah’s Multiple Sclerosis Center. The treatment, developed by Israel’s Brain Storm Cell Therapeutics, involves injecting autologous stem cells (coming from the patients themselves) into the spinal fluid. Earlier clinical trials at Hadassah have shown that the treatment was both well tolerated and safe. “Ten of the 15 patients in the Hadassah trials responded or stabilized,” reports Prof. Karussis, “and their disease was halted, with their breathing improved. About three of them even showed that the disease had receded, with them improving dramatically.” He notes, however, that the treatment is not a permanent cure. The injection “probably has to be repeated after several months.” Trials will begin at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the University of Massachusetts Memorial Hospital in Worcester and later be initiated at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

 

We should all be especially proud of Hadassah Magazine, which has just received twelve Rockower Awards, the “Jewish Pulitzers,” nine of which were for first place. Hadassah Magazine received more awards than all other magazines combined. Remember reading these articles?

 
Awe & Memory: the Yom Kippur War"by Esther Hecht, David W. Weiss, Yehoshua Sivan, Barbara Goldstein and Rochelle Furstenberg
"Herod Revisited" by Esther Hecht
"Blood Libel on Main Street" by Shirley Reva Vernick

 

Now, as I promised, here’s more about the Fast of Tammuz on the 17thof the Hebrew month of Tammuz or July 15ththis year. It begins three weeks of mourning for the destruction of Jerusalem and the two Holy Temples by the Babylonians in 586 BCE and by the Romans in 69 C.E. During this period ofShivah Asar b’Tammuz,Shabbat is celebrated and engagements may be announced (without a party).

 

Circumcisions(of course), and a few other mitzvot are permitted, but weddings may not take place. The period will end this year after the Fast of Av, on Tuesday, August 5. As a people, Jews bounce back, even from such total destruction of our holy places. You and I, we are the builders of a strong Jewish nation, in Israel and around the world. I wish you a safe fast

If you are attending a wedding before the 15th of July, this would be a good time for the mother of the bride, or even the mother-in-law, to present her with a gift Bridal Life Membership certificate, tying her marriage and her commitment to Jewish Continuity to her entry as a bride into the Community of Jewish Women. Contact your Membership Vice President to make this lovely and meaningful gift.

Cathy Olswing, President
Impact a Life – Impact the Future

 


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