SWAMPSCOTT – “Whenever I go anywhere around the country, that’s what rejuvenates me and makes me feel we are an organization setting a precedent for the future,” said Hadassah CEO Janice Weinman about why she’s excited to come speak in Swampscott on Aug. 13 at the organization’s Seaside Luncheon.
This year, Weinman can look forward to sweeping ocean views, popovers, and a bit of fashion advice as she takes the stage at Hawthorne-By-The-Sea to discuss the mission and initiatives of Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America (HWZOA), a 300,000-member nonprofit promoting women’s rights, health, education, and the strengthening of American-Israeli ties. She will be joined by Tali Katav of Tali BK, an Israeli personal shopper and stylist, who will give a talk entitled, “How to find your style at any age.”
“I am so thrilled to bring this program to Swampscott because Hadassah has so many powerful connections – locally, nationally, and internationally – to offer women of all ages,” said Julie Newburg, managing director of Hadassah Northeast, which is sponsoring the gathering. “My hope is that this event will be the first of many new partnerships and activities on the North Shore.”
Weinman will discuss a number of HWZOA initiatives and trends. At the top of the agenda will be Hadassah Medical Center, which is comprised of two large research hospitals in Jerusalem. Though the hospitals were in deep financial trouble a few years ago, collaboration between HWZOA – which has raised close to $200 million –and the Israeli government has significantly reduced the deficit and allowed large-scale renovations. At the same time, the hospitals are conducting research about ALS, MS, macular degeneration, stem cells, helping IDF soldiers quit smoking, and more.
“The range of research that we conduct in so many fields is state-of-the-art, and in many cases, first of its kind,” said Weinman.
Weinman also will highlight HWZOA’s initiatives to fight anti-Semitism through education. Recently, the organization has worked to advance the Never Again Education Act, legislation that would create a U.S. Department of Education grant program to provide the resources necessary to implement teaching about the Holocaust and the consequences of bigotry. The bill attracted 200 co-sponsors from both sides of the political divide.
“We see it as not only raising awareness about the horror of the Holocaust and genocide, but really educating kids of the future about the consequences of hate and the consequences of isolating certain groups to harm,” said Weinman, who is a child of Holocaust survivors.
HWZOA has championed Zionism since its foundation over a century ago. The organization has been active in fostering ties between American and Israeli Jews, and has worked with legislators to promote anti-BDS legislation. The group also has sponsored a series of speakers from across the political spectrum to share views on Zionism and Israeli politics. Its podcast, called “The Branch,” tells stories of coexistence and friendship between Jews and Arabs. In addition, Hadassah has worked with the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem to train people to teach a curriculum on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Weinman noted that these are the types of initiatives that younger Hadassah members have asked to see implemented. “The younger group very much wants to discuss the implications of what’s going on in Israel. Although the Hadassah population has always educated itself, this group goes further into some of the issues and really questions some of the assumptions people had before,” said Weinman.
“We welcome that, because we see that as a way of allowing people to express their different points of view, of trying to come to some middle ground as to what is acceptable and what is not. It’s good for the organization, and it’s good for the people involved.”
The event will be held at noon. Tickets ($36) are sold out. A “Rock Your Inner Fashionista Donation,” which includes lunch and semi-private consultation with Tali Katav at 11 a.m., is $250. Call Hadassah Northeast at 781-455-9055.