In May, Jews around the world celebrated Shavuot — the day on which the Torah was revealed to the Israelite nation at Mt. Sinai. Many Jews regard Shavuot as a minor Jewish holiday. As a religious matter, perhaps; however, historically, one could well argue it is one of our most important holidays in terms of celebrating Jewish survival and generating Jewish Exceptionalism throughout the ages.
Jewish Exceptionalism is the proposition that Jews have a specific mission to heal the world and provide a moral compass. It is not a notion that Jews are better than other people, but rather that they are qualitatively different. Historically, Jewish Exceptionalism stems from our emergence as the first people under a single humane God with a unique set of strict rules centered on alleviating suffering and promoting fairness among all peoples', including strangers.
How did this lead to Jewish Exceptionalism? Since the first millennium, in order for Jews to practice their faith and participate in their community, they had to be literate, had to understand the intricacies of the Torah, and had to abide by a set of complex rules and rituals regarding their relationship with God, themselves, humankind, and all of nature. In a world of almost universal illiteracy, this was an absolutely revolutionary transformation.
The literacy of the Jewish people passed from generation to generation, coupled with a set of self-enforced ethical guidelines that gave Jews a comparative advantage in occupations that were generally not land-based and thus available to Jews as they dispersed voluntarily and involuntarily throughout the world.
This was the generation of our fathers, mothers, and forebears, but will Jewish Exceptionalism continue for assimilated Jews in America? Do we continue to be people of the book? Or by assimilating, do we as Jews lose our Exceptionalism? And does this matter?
For Israel and our Jewish institutions, such as the Hadassah Associates, to continue to thrive, it is imperative that not only must our Exceptionalism survive in us and in future generations but also we must act on its precepts by actively and consciously supporting them both financially and by our participation.
Please demonstrate your Exceptionalism. Support the Mission of the Hadassah Associates of "Advancing Medical Research, Healing and Education" by contributing to the Men's Health Initiative fighting Alzheimer's Disease.
FROM PASSION TO ACTION
The Associates participated in Hadassah's "Health and Advocacy" Conference in Washington, D.C. last month.
The Associates' Men's Health Initiative for 2018 is supporting research in seeking a treatment and cure for Alzheimer's disease. Partnering with the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA), the Associates hosted a Memory Screening Booth at Hadassah's Health and Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC, provided by the Arden Courts Memory Care Community. The Associates wish to extend their sincere thanks to those who helped make this event happen, especially our screeners Francia Smith and Linda Ryan. The Screening was a great success with about 50 attendees participating.
Our thanks go to many but at the top of the list is Dovey Schneider, a Hadassah volunteer, who acted as a guide to the 30 Hadassah Members who visited our Memory Screening Booth on Tuesday. On Wednesday afternoon, Shelia Leiss volunteered alongside Associate Executive Vice President Louis Numkin. The Associates are planning to partner with the AFA to provide memory screening at Hadassah's National Convention in NYC in July 2019.
On Tuesday, May 15, in the evening, a most informative panel discussion moderated by Judy Woodruff (PBS News Hour) took place over dinner at The National Press Club. The timely topic was "Privacy & Information," focusing on the intersection of health and technology. Louis Numkin and myself had the honor of doing the Hamotzi.
On Wednesday, May 16, the Associates participated in an Awards Ceremony, which included a discussion by the Israeli Ambassador to the US, the Hon. Ron Dermer, of American-Israeli relations and the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem. At the conclusion of his presentation, Ambassador Dermer was made an Associate and presented with an Associates pin by Louis Numkin and myself.
On Thursday, May 17, the Associates joined the Hadassah Women on the Day on the Hill visiting with members of Congress advocating for issues important to the Jewish community and healthcare — support of Israel and the Jewish community, combating anti-Semitism and gun violence, and promoting gender health equity.
Mother's Day Cards
Thanks to all of you who sent our Mother's Day card to the significant women in your lives. Through your efforts, the Associates raised approximately $12,000 for Alzheimer's research
Imagine what miracles 2018 could bring -- as, on Sunday, May 6, the Nassau Region's Hadassah Associates and women participated in the 12th Annual Walk-a-thon for Stem Cell Research. Several hundred men, women, and children walked to turn research into cures as the Nassau Associates separately raised about $15,000 at the 2018 event. It should be noted that over the past 12 years, the Walk-a-thon has raised a total of about $1 million from the men and women and corporate sponsors participating in this event.