Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Bithday Hadassah!!!

Today is my hebrew name sake's Birthday. My hebrew name is Hadassah, and the town I live in, Myrtle Beach. Hadassah means Myrtle. Is that coincidence? Or g-d trying to tell me something? Who knows...... Anyway, back to my post.....

When you think of Hadassah, what comes to mind? First, you think of a strong Jewish women's presence? Jewish Feminist and reform, thanks to Hadassah all of these things are possible.

Then, in the same breath,  do you think, Henrietta Szold? Hadassah Hospital? Hadassah the Jewish Women's Organization?

The year is 1912, after returning from Palestine with her mother to New York City. Seeing the terrible conditions in Palestine. The poor section, not just Jewish, but Muslim and Christian.

  Henrietta, and her small study group at Temple Emanu-el in New York City,  formed a women's zionist group.  On Febuary 24, 1912,  the holiday Purim, Hadassah was born.

This small group of Jewish ladies devoted their lives to promote, better social  conditions, and healthcare, and Jewish values,and ideas, in Palestine.

In the year 1913,  a philanthropist offered Hadassah funding to send two nurses to Palestine. To bring medical supplies, and medical care to Palestine. Rose Kaplan and Rachel Landy -- sailed with the Strausses on January 18. In March 1913 they opened an office in a rented Jerusalem house identified by a Hebrew and English sign that read "American Daughters of Zion, Nurses Settlement, Hadassah They saw 5000 patients that year.

Since then, Hadassah has been responsible in establishing Hadassah Medical Center, in Israel.. It is one of the most respected hospitals for medical research.  It is also responsible for educating women to advocate social issues, political issues, and medical issues..    To teach Jewish living through Jewish education, and programs to the Jewish people of the United States, and Israel.  Thank you Hadassah for being here.

I am very proud to be a Hadassah member. I just moved to Myrtle Beach at the time I moved here there was not a Hadassah chapter. I did not know a sole in town, from a small town in  New Jersey, Thinking nothing will happen in a small Jewish community

.  Me, and my big mouth wanted to start something. I did not know anyone in town. Thinking no one will be interested in a southern tourist small town, in South Carolina.

 I called the number on the website. Lo, and behold a few people came forward, they wanted to start a Hadassah group. Not realizing anything would happen. Lo... Behold a few people wanted one here as much as I did. We started a steering committee.

 The rest is history. But, now we have 65 members. I am not as active any more because of school. But, look what can happen if you want something bad enough.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Israela;Book Review

By Batya Casper
Tate Publishing

Israela, I picked up because I am a American and thought it would give me a larger scope than what I know between the Israeli and Palestinian people.  This is the story about the daily lives of the Israeli people.

The novel is written with three perspective view points. Two sisters, Orit, and Ratiba, and their cousin, Elisheva.

Ratiba, is Jewish, and marries a Palestianian, Ibrahim. She meets her husband at the University. She turns her back on her heritage, and her religion, and her family.

Ratiba, never tells her husband that she is Jewish. As you probably tells this causes terrible consequences later in their marriage.

Orit, is a actress, and wants so desperately, to reconcile with her sister. But, her sister, stays away for years. Later, when her sister, has a son, he learns the truth about his mother, and leaves their home to live with Orit, and eventually joins the army.

Their cousin, Elisheva is a nurse, she dedicates her life for the sick and dying.

The book spans from the 1960's, of Israel, but goes back to the fight of Independence in 1948. Most of the book, felt like I was seeing the news on TV, or watching a documentary about Israel's history. The story spans from the beginnings of forming the Israeli state and spans to the Intifada in 2000's to the present. including the Intifada, and Israel's response to it.  Most of this I already knew as a Jew.

I like to read something I have not experienced before. I thought I wanted to read this book because I have not read any novels that authors write about the experience of the Israeli-Palestianian perspective.  Since I am Jewish, I thought it would be a good read.

Most of the book, I was confused who the author was talking about. Even with the different chapters of the cousin, and the sisters. I think the author was trying to do too many things at one time. Writing about the historical, political, social, culture of the Israeli's. Fiction and non-fiction in one book did not work for me in this novel.

There were times, I did enjoy reading this, it was a fast read. But, there were times, I felt that I already knew about it. I did not feel like the author, gave the character's any emotions, they were too dry, and wooden.

 I had a love-hate relationship with. It kept you guessing, with the secrets until the author wanted to let loose and let you know.

I did like the part of the story about the relationship of the school children going to school together Jew and Palestianian. They pretty much forgot the politics outside of the home and became friends with each other. Also the insular politics of the treatment of other Jews that immigrated to Israel.

The part, I did not enjoy, was when Ratiba finds, a bloodied shawl, and you are wondering who does it belong to? What is it doing in the shed?  It took the entire book to keep you guessing. Some books it works, but this one I don't think it worked.

 But, it was a important piece of information that would change the perspective of the story at the end. Because in the end, it is all about we are just all human, not Jewish against Palestinian.

The book was fair, I am not raving about it. But, for a person that is not Jewish, or Jewish that does not know the politics, social, historical, cultural climate, and the events of the state of Israel, and the middle east. Then this is a good starting point to start reading about the middle east.

I can see a good discussion and jumping off point for any book club, mainly Jewish. But, not a great read.
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