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Hadassah celebrates 100 years

April 16, 2012

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, was founded by Henrietta Szold at a meeting at Temple Emanu-El in New York City on February 24, 1912.  Within a year, Hadassah has five growing chapters in New York, Baltimore, Cleveland, Chicago and Boston. Its charter articulates twin goals: to begin public-health initiatives and nurses training in Palestine, and to foster Zionist ideals through education in America. Hadassah is currently the largest Jewish organization in America with 300,000 members and one of the largest women’s volunteer organizations in the world.

Henrietta Szold was the guest of honor at a preliminary meeting held in 1920 to organize a Hadassah chapter in San Antonio.  The San Antonio Chapter of Hadassah was formally organized April 9, 1921, with a charter membership of 20 women. The San Antonio Chapter, like the national organization, provides education and youth programs, promotes health awareness, and provides personal enrichment and growth for its members.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the organization, UTSA Special Collections has a selection of materials from the San Antonio Chapter of Hadassah Records on display in the John Peace Library reading room.  The exhibit will run from now until the end of June.

Photograph likely documents the opening night banquet of the 1925 Hadassah convention in San Antonio. The convention took place at the Gunter Hotel, but opening night activities were hosted by the Menger Hotel. Image provided by Marion Bernstein, San Antonio Chapter of Hadassah.

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