Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, is the largest Jewish organization and the largest women's organization in the United States. It was founded in 1912 by American born Henrietta Szold, who was so deeply moved by witnessing the poverty and sickness in Jerusalem, that she founded a women's organization to provide medical aid.
The first two nurses arrived in 1913, followed by a full-scale medical team.
The organization set up well-baby clinics and infirmaries and later hospitals were set up all over Israel. A nursing school, medical school, school of pharmacy, school for dentistry, school of public health and school of occupational therapy were established.
While the volunteers of Hadassah worked to gather funds for this expanding health network, Hadassah's membership grew to hundreds of thousands of women in all fifty states of the United States.
From the beginning, all Hadassah institutions gave equal treatment to all, without regard for religion and race. Today, 90 years later, the policy of equality has remained a Hadassah creed.
Over the years, Hadassah turned over most of its clinics, infirmaries and most of its hospitals to the government as Israel's own health system developed. However, Hadassah retained its two flagship medical centers in Jerusalem: Hadassah Medical Organization in Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus.
These two medical centers set the standard for health care in Israel, providing compassionate care to patients from all backgrounds.
Over the last decades, Hadassah affiliates have developed in 34 countries, (between them Israel ), under the aegis of Hadassah-International. These men and women of all backgrounds help support medical and scientific research in Israel. Together with the American-based organization, these benefactors are playing an important role in improving people's lives.