by Janice Weinman
There are times when Hadassah is a lone voice when that voice is desperately needed. Yet far more often, we mobilize to advance our advocacy through strategic partnerships.
At Hadassah, we're united by our shared belief in the power of women who do. Building power beyond Hadassah is a crucial strategy for advancing our key initiatives. To do this, we've forged partnerships, mobilized movements and joined forces with organizations, policymakers and others. We often accomplish more when we mobilize to reinforce our voices.
My tenure as Hadassah's CEO comes to a close this month, and I’m honored to have served — with our leadership and my colleagues, especially the volunteers and staff of the Education & Advocacy Division — Hadassah’s mission this way for nine meaningful years. I couldn’t be prouder of the important ways we’ve been successful, including five examples of partnerships that have made it possible for us to reach more people, raise more voices and nurture more Zionists.
Joining Forces to Fight Antisemitism
This May, Hadassah joined four of the nation's most prominent national Jewish organizations to call on President Joe Biden to act swiftly in the face of rising antisemitism. The White House responded, organizing a meeting with us, followed by the President tweeting out a strong statement. Immediately, we — with four other organizations — organized a Day of Action Against Antisemitism to promote a virtual rally that drew more than 34,000 people together online, with speakers from government, our partner organizations (including Hadassah's president) and more. Senators Jacky Rosen and James Lankford introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning recent antisemitism (it passed unanimously on June 14), a year after Congress signed into law the Never Again Education Act, behind which Hadassah was a driving force.
In April 2020, Hadassah launched reConceiving Infertility, raising awareness, confronting taboos, driving policy change and empowering patients to advocate for their health. After a year of advocating, in April 2021, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Rep. Dan Crenshaw introduced a Hadassah-backed bipartisan resolution affirming the commitment of Congress to address issues associated with infertility. We created Your Family-Building Story to help raise the visibility of families who have faced infertility, a partnership with the Jewish Women's Archive and Uprooted: A Jewish Communal Response to Fertility Journeys. And this past Thursday, Hadassah advocates joined RESOLVE's Virtual Advocacy Day as a community partner to help advance the resolution in Congress that we helped introduce.
Coming Together to Pay Tribute
When we lost Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2020, we partnered with the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) and Jewish Women International (JWI), as well as the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Women's League for Conservative Judaism, Jewish Federations of North America and Moment magazine to memorialize her legendary life. In a bittersweet moment, we acknowledged this champion of women's rights, equality and justice — a Hadassah life member. Together, we affirmed our commitment to advance her legacy, including the American legal system now viewing women as equal under the law.
In 2020, we launched a digital and in-person effort to mobilize our members around all phases of voter engagement. This culminated in our joining Vision2020Votes, a national, nonpartisan effort to get more women than ever registered and voting using digital tools. In October, we hosted a special #JewishWomenVote pre-Shabbat event with NCJW and JWI, as well as nearly a dozen national Jewish women’s organizations. We're proud to know that our leadership and partnerships played a clear role in raising the percentage of eligible women who reported voting in 2020 to 68%, up from 63% in 2016. "Despite unique challenges to voter registration and voting created by COVID-19 and heightened concerns about turnout as a result, the 2020 election had the highest voter turnout of the 21st century," according to the US Census, with a total of 17 million more people voting than in 2016.
Providing Opportunities to Experience Israel and Women's Health
In addition to these examples of collaboration with other organizations to have our voices heard more loudly and broadly, we have been able to provide programs reflecting our mission through our relationships with partner organizations. Through Momentum, we have offered travel opportunities to Israel for our younger members with follow up by Hadassah members. And we were able to expand our reach to women before the pandemic by offering our health and wellness programs in local JCCs throughout the US through our collaboration with the JCC Association of North America.
These are just a few examples of our impact in mobilizing and joining forces as advocates with other organizations to strengthen our voices and expand our programs. Hadassah is unique, not just in our history, but in the way we bring people together, driven by our compassion and commitment to empower women and to heal our world.