Young Leaders/Young Women
24 participants from around the country return from Young Women's Mission Participants on the recent Young Women's Mission to Poland and Israel were entertained by one of Hadassah's medical clowns during their recent visit to Hadassah University Hospital on Mt. Scopus.Lylah Pinellas member, Marcia Shane Co-Membership VP - Young Women/Young Leader Chair (Back row, far right)
I was chosen along with twenty-three other Young Women (age 45 and younger) from around the U.S. to participate in Hadassah's Young Women's Legacy Mission to Poland and Israel. We were Mission 14! The process began with a recommendation from our region president, Sharon Sisselsky, then I had to complete a lengthy essay application. There were about 100 applications received in the New York office. I was ecstatic when I found out that I was chosen! Then I had to commit to a $500 donation to Hadassah to the project of my choice and to two projects to be completed within the next year.
Our adventure began long before the departure date of October 28th. Our leaders, Ellen Steinberg and Iris Altschuler, emailed all of us each other's names and addresses so that we could begin getting to know one another. Then, some of us met in New York at the National Convention. We all continued to email with questions and concerns and comments. There were even some Traveler's Prayers going around the group. While I was sharing my excitement locally I found out that our very own Tami Wolf went on this Mission a few years ago and a friend of a friend at a recent Bar Mitzvah party was on the Mission just two years ago. She was counting down the hours till my departure because she was so excited for me!
I left from Tampa on my own, but quickly met many new friends at JFK in New York. We were all carrying our winter coats, scarves and gloves because we were on our way to Poland...brrrrrrrrrr. In Poland we visited the Jewish Cemetery, old synagogues, Jewish ghettos, the Deportation Square, Birkenau and Auschwitz I. The weather was dreary, cold and moist.
We spent one night in Poland, then excitedly boarded El Al for Tel Aviv. Then we spent six amazing nights in Jerusalem. We visited Independence Hall, The Western Wall, Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, Hadassah Youth Hostel (Year Course for Young Judaea), the Valley of the Communities at Yad Vashem, Hadassah College Jerusalem, Masada, the Dead Sea, the JNF Forest, Hadassah Youth Aliyah Neurim, Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus, the Mount of Olives (including the grave of Henrietta Szold), Mount Herzl, The Old City, Shira Chadasha (a modern orthodox congregation), the Harbor in Tel Aviv and some fabulous restaurants. We also met with a Holocaust survivor in her home, an NPR host, the Vice President of Hadassah College Jerusalem, a journalist and author, a Social Worker who works with people who have physical challenges, the foremost feminist in Israel, and many Hadassah Office Israel (HOI) employees. I hope I haven't left anything out.
We had dinner together on the evening of Day 11 and sadly said our good-byes. Some of us remained in Israel and the rest of us flew back to JFK. Now we are sharing our pictures and our lives with one another. I have twenty-three new friends along with our "fearless" leaders, our bus driver, our tour guides, Hadassah employees in Israel and the many inspirational men and women who spoke with us during our visit.
I will be sharing more details...and pictures...with you at our Chanukah Celebration on Monday evening December 3rd. I look forward to seeing you there.