Two thousand Hadassah members from around the world are arriving in Israel to celebrate the organization's centennial and will stage a festive parade through Jerusalem on Tuesday, followed by the dedication of the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower, a 19-story state-of-the-art medical facility at the Hadassah Medical Center at Ein Kerem.
Hadassah’s highest award, the Henrietta Szold Prize named after its Baltimore-born founder, will be presented to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
"We're marking 100 years and committing ourselves to the next 100," said Hadassah National President Marcie Natan.
Besides organizational events next week, the Israel Postal Service, in partnership with Hadassah, will dedicate a stamp that features symbols of Hadassah's activities in Israel by displaying a Magen David on a blue background, with the emblem of Hadassah and of the Hadassah Medical Center in the upper right-hand corner.
Hadassah was founded on March 3, 1912, in New York, by a group of women headed by Henrietta Szold, to advance efforts toward practical Zionist initiatives to foster and improve health and education conditions for women and children of Palestine.
In 1912 two nurses were sent to set up a small public-health and welfare station in Jerusalem to provide maternity care and treat trachoma, then rampant in the Middle East.
In 1918, a delegation of 45 doctors, nurses and maintenance workers established hospitals in Tzfat, Yafo (Jaffa) and Tiberias in addition to renewal of the hospital in Jerusalem.
In 1920, Henrietta Szold arrived in Israel to aid the group and remained in the country until her death in 1945.
The Hadassah Hospital in Tel Aviv was opened in 1921, and the Mount Scopus Hadassah University Hospital was inaugurated in 1939. On April 13, 1948 a convoy of doctors, nurses and staff headed to Mount Scopus was attacked by Arab terrorists and in the slaughter that followed the attack all 78 members of the convoy were killed.
The Hadassah Hospital University Center at Ein Kerem was opened in 1960, and following the Six Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem, the Medical Center at Mt. Scopus was re-opened.