• Issue: December 1960
  • Designer: O. Adler
  • Plate no.: 44
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

Henrietta Szold was described by David Ben-Gurion, Prime Minister of Israel, "not only the greatest woman produced by American Jewry, but one of the noblest personalities of our generation."

Daughter of a Baltimore rabbi, Henrietta Szold was born in 1860, at time of the outbreak of the American Civil War. In her childhood she was associated with the movement for the liberation of the Black; later she was active in assisting the integration of Jewish immigrants in the US. As a young girl Miss Szold trained as a teacher and taught in one of Baltimore's fashionable schools.

Henrietta Szold was an idealist but not one of those who believed that with good will all will come right. In things great and small she demanded constructive action. In the 1880s discerning difficulties of the new Russian Jewish immigrants, Miss Szold organized one of the first night schools for immigrants in the United States. Years later, Mayor Fiorella H. La Guardia said it was Americanization as Henrietta Szold had pioneered it that had saved America from a new slavery.

It was for her Zionist work, however, that Henrietta Szold will be remembered by history. From the time of her first visit to the Holy Land in 1909, her life was devoted to furthering the Zionist ideal. Together with a small group of women, Henrietta Szold founded Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, which adopted as its cause the Introduction of modern health services into Palestine.

In 1927 Henrietta Szold became a member of the Zionist Executive, the first woman to occupy such a post. In this position and later as head of the Social Service Department of the Vaad Le'umi (The National Council of the Jews of Palestine) she was responsible for the introduction of many of Israel's present medical and social services. Notable among her work in the field of social welfare was her contribution to the professional training of both nurses and social workers for educational projects for young children and reeducation of young offenders.

Amongst the many institutions in Israel that bear concrete testimony to Henrietta Szold's humanitarian social philosophy, the most distinguished is probably the movement known as Youth Aliyah which has given new hope of life to thousands of immigrant children. Henrietta was 75 years of age when, in 1933, she was called upon by the Agency to organize the rescue of Jewish youngsters from the clutches of the Nazi regime. She was destined to give the last decade of her life to the salvation of the Jewish refugee children, innocent victims in a tormented world.

To Youth Aliyah Henrietta Szold gave all the wisdom of the educational ideals that she had propounded in her early years as a teacher. Besides elaborating Youth Aliyah's educational philosophy Henrietta Szold brought to the movement a love and warmth for every child of the thousands rescued by the program. It has been said that she made it her concern to know personally every child who came in as a Youth Oleh. On February 13, 1945, at the age of 85, Henrietta Szold - healer and visionary - took leave of the world, she had worked to better. She lies buried on the Mount of Olives.

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Centenary of Birth of Henrietta Szold