The year 1960 has been set aside by the Zionist movement, Hadassah particularly, for celebrating the centennial of the birth of Miss Henrietta Szold. In addition to being the founder, first president, and ideal personification, as it were, of Hadassah—the American women’s General Zionist organization—Henrietta Szold had the kind of extraordinary life and career that must surely give her a place among the modern Zionist saints. She was largely responsible for both conceiving and realizing the major public health and welfare programs in Jewish Palestine; she was the director of Youth Aliyah, an agency which after 1935 performed the feat of rescuing, settling in Palestine, and educating 30,000 children from Nazi Europe and elsewhere; and she must also be credited, although indirectly, with the passage of countless millions of dollars from America and other Western countries to the Palestinian community. Not the least extraordinary fact about this career is that it took its most practical turn when she was sixty years old.
Perhaps no people is so intransigently equalitarian in its legend-making as the Jews: with their heroes they must share a secret—a wink, a double meaning, a small vice—from the rest of the uncomprehending world. Chaim Bialik, Chaim Weizmann, Shemarya Levin, David Ben Gurion—to mention a few of the Zionist saints—carry the aura of a greatness made all the more real by a certain reducing intimacy. There is, however, no familiar legend of Henrietta Szold. Somehow the secret is not possible with her, who always appears—even in the descriptions of those who knew her best—wrapped in her record of achievement, splendid, abstract, a little forbidding. The tiny, exquisitely gnome-like, white-haired lady who worked for eighteen hours a day until she was in her eighties is called “our founder,” “our leader,” “our guiding spirit” in tones of hushed reverence, almost as if to talk with familiarity about Henrietta Szold might be to take some unwarranted liberty.
Henrietta Szold was born in Baltimore on December 21, 1860, and was therefore an infant during the American Civil War. Her father, a Hungarian-born, Vienna-educated Conservative rabbi, was a man of learning and advanced social and religious ideas, and she his eldest and favorite child. The culture of her home was that peculiar and short-lived species of German Jewish Romantic enlightenment overlaid with a post-bellum American passion for social betterment. In her father’s study, where she very early became both confidante and amanuensis, “Miss Henrietta” learned Jewish history and classical languages—and doubtless in an earnest young way shared her father’s dream of a universally enlightened and cultivated Jewry. (This dream had a material effect on her life; from 1893 until 1916 she was to serve as editor of the Jewish Publication Society, an enterprise originally founded for the purpose of making great Jewish books available to American Jews in English translation.) When she completed high school, Miss Henrietta joined the staff of an elegant girls’ academy, where for several years she taught German, botany—all her life she remained an ardent amateur botanist—and mathematics.
People have tended to draw a parallel between Henrietta Szold’s coming to Zionism and that of Theodor Herzl: she and Herzl were contemporaries, both “Western,” both brought up on German culture. But the parallel is faulty. Herzl’s Zionism was a shocked response to his discovery, through the Dreyfus Affair, that Emancipation was a cheat as far as the Jews were concerned. Hers was the inevitable result of what can only be called her Jewish feelings. She was a pious Jew, but historically and culturally, rather than theologically, pious—after the tradition of her father. And in fact, the Conservative movement, with its twin notions of the historical development, and the fulfillment within history, of Judaism, was from the very beginning a most logically fertile ground for the breeding of Zionism.
Her difference from Herzl seems worth dwelling on because it points to something significant both about Henrietta Szold’s life and work and about the Zionist movement in general. Herzl, with his dashing Viennese manners and his aspirations to aristocracy, grand gestures, and historic moments, was sufficiently detached from the real concerns of the masses of his fellow Jews to become the kind of romantic figure who might serve as a symbol of their new movement. Furthermore, as he moved through the courts and salons of Europe, pleading for the rightful estate of the Jews and dreaming of their eventual glory, Herzl gave Zionists the sense that what they wanted for themselves could be allied with the respectable impulses of European nationalism—and so without really understanding these Jews, he was able to activate them. Henrietta Szold belonged in the far more complicated if more commonplace tradition that fed into the mainstream of modern Zionism. What she and the early “Lovers of Zion” wanted was not so much to save the Jews from the degradation of statelessness as such: she wanted a way of giving the individual Jew a new sense of his own dignity and the Jewish people as a whole a sense of security that were both lacking in the Diaspora. Henrietta Szold’s education, like Herzl’s, was grounded in Western culture (many years later she was to tell a group of children just arrived in Palestine from Nazi Germany, “Do not forget your Goethe and your Schiller. They are Germany, too”); but in her upbringing there was also an element of East European Haskalah, which pronounced: the mission of the Jews is to become again as whole and as live and as valuable as we once were. For Herzl the object was always the Jewish people. For Henrietta Szold and those at the spiritual center of the Zionist movement the object was Jews. And with them she shared that loving antipathy for what had become of Jewish life and institutions as a result of centuries in the Diaspora that made real-world Zionism, and ultimately the State of Israel, possible.
Actually, there was an event—of the kind biographers find so useful in determining the sources of their subjects’ ideas—that undoubtedly pushed her into accepting the need for Jewish statehood. In 1881 refugees from the Russian pogroms began pouring into Baltimore and gravitating, the learned and eager among them, to the hospitable home of Rabbi Benjamin Szold. By 1889, Miss Henrietta was devoting every minute to be spared from an already formidable routine of teaching, botanizing, and activity in such groups as the Women’s Literary Club, to “my Russians.” With her help, they established night classes in English and American history for the new immigrants. She undertook to procure rooms and supplies for this “school”—the model for what later became the predominant pattern in immigrant Americanization—to plan the curriculum, supervise, provide teachers, and teach herself. She was clearly hit hard by “her” Russians, but not—as Herzl would have been—so much by their collective plight as by her recognition of kinship with this new and strangely impressive breed of Jews. Coming into contact with them helped her formulate the political Zionism which had been latent in her commitment to Jewish tradition. Under the proper conditions of freedom and cultural autonomy, what might not these marvelous people accomplish—these people whose aspirations she found were vibrating in the depths of her own nervous system?
By 1893 she was helping to organize a Zionist society in Baltimore. Then in New York, where she and her mother settled in 1902 after the death of Rabbi Szold, she joined a women’s Zionist study circle which called itself Hadassah, after the Jewish queen of Persia. It is not entirely clear by what impulse these early Zionist groups in America were organized or for what specific purpose. There were several of them scattered across the country, all founded around the same time—that is, more or less at the turn of the century. All were, it may be imagined, study groups, much like the New York Hadassah: the members prepared papers on aspects of Jewish history or ritual, and they held discussions of the new Zionist literature.
On her first trip to Palestine, in 1909, Henrietta Szold (or, as the story goes, her mother) found something useful for herself and her fellow Hadassah members to do. Prophetically enough, they were to translate their Zionism into action by doing something about health conditions in Palestine. Henrietta Szold returned to America with the proposal that the Hadassah group send a couple of public health nurses to Palestine to help combat such diseases as the trachoma she and her mother had found raging among the schoolchildren there. Even this tiny venture would have been too expensive for the single group to undertake, but the eminent philanthropist Nathan D. Straus offered to pay the nurses’ first year’s salary and also to equip a settlement house—on the model of the Henry Street Settlement—for their base of operation. Then in 1912, eight women’s Zionist groups from several different cities met in Buffalo and constituted themselves a national organization, which was to take over responsibility for the public nursing venture. After some discussion, the organization adopted the name of the original New York group—Hadassah.
In any single life it is easy to detect recurring patterns; in Henrietta Szold’s they were sharply marked out. The founding of Hadassah and its first project appeared in the same rhythm of development that she imposed on things and events over and over in her life: first came the work, conceived in the most direct and unpretentious way, then the organization, and then the burst of imagination and ambition that committed everyone, including Henrietta Szold, far beyond his original intentions. Much is made of Henrietta Szold’s modesty and public shyness—so much that one must credit the reports. But modesty by itself cannot explain her peculiar mode of operation; no truly shy woman could have pushed her will so far. She had become the editor of the Jewish Publication Society after first doing some difficult and painstaking work as a volunteer; then she assumed full editorial responsibility—for the Society and for the American Jewish Year Book as well—that involved her in the most minute questions of scholarship, translation, and bibliography. In Palestine later, she was to begin each job as a kind of office manager, sweeping her small and punctiliously collected details into ever more grandiose heaps: a nurse’s school, a hospital, a medical school, a youth welfare program, finally a national social service network. She was a woman who backed into everything she did. Once in, however, it never occurred to her that she was out over her head; nor was she ever.
Two things about her, it seems to me—one ideological, one personal—accounted for this pattern. First, she was a pragmatic liberal who abhorred the visionary—and abhorred it all the more for being so beset, so tempted by visions herself. Anything there was to be done, no matter how great or difficult, she believed, must be done step by simple step. This belief was to plague her—and yet serve her magnificently well—in the Palestine of the 20’s and 30’s, where almost everything that had to be done was either bizarre or seemingly impossible. And secondly, she was someone who hated making final commitments, hated both their demands on the soul and their effects on the personality. She lived and worked most productively while dreaming of doing, of being, something else somewhere else.
Henrietta Szold’s life in New York continued to be, as it had in Baltimore, a crowded one. She attended the Jewish Theological Seminary—the first and for a long time the only woman there. She was never without a heavy burden of galley proofs to read or indexes to complete. There were several articles to write for the Jewish Encyclopedia, then in preparation. She was involved in a voluminous correspondence with friends and with her four sisters, who were married and scattered. What was, from the standpoint of her future, to be her most significant activity, namely her association with a small group of friends in the Hadassah study circle, seemed then only a minor aspect of her general busyness.
Henrietta Szold was not, however, that phenomenon we recognize as a “career woman.” At the very height of her activities in the world of men—who conceded to her enormous talent and power—she far more closely resembled one of those old-fashioned spinsters doing good works who have been associated in the American imagination with Abolitionism and Women’s Suffrage.
She nowhere showed the marks of a great ambition, either to fame or power. Yet, though she had lived what might have been regarded as the best part of her life respected and valued and surrounded by loving friends—fulfilling, in fact, the highest demands of her time and culture—at the age of sixty (in 1920) Henrietta Szold took herself off to a distant and never quite acceptable country and remained there to become famous and powerful—and to die. The Palestine to which she went, moreover, was a wilderness, whose physical conditions were almost intolerable to people much younger and much less kindly treated by life than she, and in whose language she was not fluent.
The twenty-four years she spent in Palestine converted Henrietta Szold from an admirable woman of her day into a great woman. Yet for all those years she refused to regard herself as anything but an American on a particular mission about to return home. Anyone inclined to be mystical would have to feel that her whole life of backing into things had been a preparation for its final phase: it was greatness she was backing into.
The Palestine Henrietta Szold and her mother had seen in 1909 was a primitive place, undeveloped and disease-ridden. The Jews she found there were mostly Orientals, with a sprinkling of very early East European Zionist settlers, and of course the small Orthodox community of Jerusalem. Insofar as it could be regarded as subsisting, this early Yishuv subsisted largely on foreign philanthropy. The two Hadassah nurses who went to Palestine in 1913 must have made little enough impact on the country, medicating the fly-infested eyes of children, trying to improve the standards of pre-natal and infant care.
But during World War I, the Turks deported the nurses and most of the few doctors who had been in the country. When Henrietta Szold returned to Palestine in 1920, this time to help administer the American Zionist Medical Unit, the country was in a state of acute postwar emergency, medical, social, and economic. In 1916 Hadassah, at the behest of the American Provisional Committee for Zionist Affairs, whose chairman was Louis D. Brandeis, had undertaken to organize a relief medical group. Hadassah then had about 4,000 members. In 1916, too, a group of Henrietta Szold’s friends settled a small income on her for life. This income not only freed her of the necessity to earn her living, thereby releasing all her time to the Zionist movement; it also officially placed her in the aristocratic relation to her work that was truly consonant with her character. The American Zionist Medical Unit sailed in the summer, 1918, with a first year’s budget, including transportation, of $250,000. Hadassah and the Joint Distribution Committee were to share the costs.
The dependence of this first major project on so much non-Zionist money may have been responsible for one extraordinary organizational principle of Hadassah, laid down immediately by Henrietta Szold and adhered to with astonishing rigor through the years: exactly 100 per cent of the funds raised by Hadassah for projects in Palestine must go to Palestine; the money required for organization, propaganda, and fund-raising in America must come from membership dues. Forty-four years and hundreds of millions of dollars later, that percentage has been reduced to 96.
When Henrietta Szold sailed for Palestine in February 1920, it was ostensibly to represent the American Zionist Organization on the Executive Committee of the Medical Unit. She of course had no idea that the move was to be more or less permanent. She seemed not to have a very clear notion of her responsibilities (soon she was sharing responsibility with the Unit’s director for administering the entire program). One thing was certain; she did not regard herself as involved in an emergency relief measure. For her the purpose of the Medical Unit (whose staff had grown in two years from forty-four to four hundred and whose budget “ought to” have been $1,000,000) was to create a standard of medical practice, public health, and medical education for the new Yishuv. What the unit succeeded in doing in the establishment of hospitals, clinics, sanitation, and the elimination of such diseases as malaria and trachoma, would provide the basis for all future handling of these problems. The outgrowth of her ideas about the Unit was the Hadassah Medical Organization and the Hadassah Hospital, a major medical center in the Middle East and co-sponsor of the Hebrew University medical school. It is interesting to note in this connection that both Henrietta Szold and Dr. Isaac Rubinow, the Unit’s director, fought unsuccessfully to socialize medicine. Both their staff and the labor union movement opposed it (though subsequently the Histadrut created its own system of socialized medicine for its membership). A nurses’ training school was opened and graduated its first class in November 1921. Just about this time Henrietta Szold also organized a school hygiene campaign and school lunch program.
The rest of Henrietta Szold’s career is by now a matter of quite familiar record. In 1923 she returned to America for a while and resumed the active presidency of Hadassah. From its limited and highly selective character as an expanded study group, the organization was growing steadily in membership and scope and assuming more and more its ultimate character as a peculiarly representative, mass organization of American Jewish women. In 1927 Henrietta Szold returned to Palestine as a member of the three-man Executive of the World Zionist Organization with the portfolio for Health and Education. The Yishuv was in the throes of an internal crisis. The Zionist Organization had overextended its budget in prematurely grandiose schemes for development and was bankrupt. Unemployment was critical. Relations with the British Mandatory government were strained to the breaking point. The Arabs threatened. Most of Henrietta Szold’s time in those years was spent juggling non-existent budgets, sometimes, as in the case of the school system, to the fine point of two or three pounds. She was bitter about the school system—made up of three separate school systems operated by the labor, capitalist, and religious parties with their separate curricula reflecting their respective party ideologies—which she considered vicious in itself for the education of the young and insane at a time when classes had to be shut down for lack of funds. She was also at swords’ points with many American Zionists over matters of policy.
In 1930 she returned once again to America, this time discouraged and despondent. But Hadassah had much for her to do in the way of stirring up the membership, as she by her very presence was able to do; and her seventieth birthday was celebrated with great fanfare. It is not far-fetched to imagine that she, who had spoken so much (and was to speak again) of her longing to return home, could no longer find being in America meaningful. As she wrote of her birthday round with Hadassah: “. . . I feel like a bubble filled, not even with gas, but with that ‘inspirational’ fluid I am expected to give out all the time. The worst of such a regime is that it unfits one for the real things.” The “real things” she had now tasted for good—building institutions and making them work—in Palestine. Very likely it was a fear that her Palestine days were over that made her despondent. And so, when in 1931 she was called again—not by the Zionist Organization but by the Yishuv itself—she hurried gratefully back. This time another portfolio, in some ways her most cherished one, for Social Welfare, was given her by the Vaad Leumi, the General Council of the Asefat Hanivharim, the elected representative body of Jewish Palestine. Her new position meant two things: personally, it meant her full acceptance by the Yishuv, without the suspicions or reservations that had interfered with their early relations (an unprecedented crossing of political lines had made possible her being seated on the Vaad Leumi); administratively it meant the opportunity for doing something she had dreamed of since 1920, the establishment of an indigenous Palestinian social welfare program. Her insistence that such a program was necessary had previously fallen on deaf ears; the labor ideologists thought it smacked too much of capitalist-style palliation; others had been indifferent. Now, without funds, and backed by very little general interest in the program, she hopefully organized classes and discussion groups in the problems of Palestinian social welfare. She was yet to have her way: in 1937 the Vaad Leumi and the municipality of Tel Aviv jointly opened a work village called Kfar Avodah for delinquent boys.
Some years before Kfar Avodah, however, in 1933, she embarked on her most memorable project. Characteristically, she was just about to leave for home when the new job presented itself.
Hitler had come to power in Germany and the Yishuv began to mobilize its money and resources for a German immigration. In Berlin a woman named Recha Freier had conceived the idea of sending German adolescents to live on the kvutzot as part of their secondary education and for this purpose had begun organizing the children into the Juedische Jugendshilfe. In 1932 Henrietta Szold had opposed the plan and refused Mrs. Freier’s request to take over the work. She had felt strongly that it was wrong to take children from their families and commit them to a life in the Palestine settlements before they were old enough to make such a decision for themselves. One year later, with Hitler firmly in power, she understood there was no choice and became the director of a new agency called Youth Aliyah. Her fears for the responsibility she and Youth Aliyah and the Yishuv were assuming reflected themselves in every aspect of the program, and she was adamant about the arrangements. The children in Germany were to be fully prepared, on training farms and by thorough orientation courses, for the life they were about to lead. Their secondary education (in the beginning all the children transferred to Palestine were fifteen to seventeen years of age) must be completed under the aegis of Youth Aliyah. Henrietta Szold selected the kvutzot on which the children were to be settled and made detailed agreements with their members; she herself carefully inspected the housing and other facilities. As each boatload of young people arrived in Palestine, she was at Haifa harbor waiting. She personally interviewed most of the children and in the central office of Youth Aliyah kept voluminous files on the personal adjustment, aptitudes, and special problems of each and every child. The children were supervised in their various settlements by madrichim—the madrich was a combination youth leader, teacher, and case worker—who were obligated to keep in constant close touch with Henrietta Szold. After two years of Youth Aliyah training, the children were to choose an occupation and place to Eve.
By 1938, of course, these very high standards had to break down. By then, children all over Europe had to be transferred as quickly as possible to Palestine; setting Emits to their age or requiring that they be properly prepared was out of the question. The British were both difficult and unpredictable about issuing immigration certificates; sometimes the children languished in temporary camps and sometimes boatloads of them had to be dispersed and settled in a matter of hours. Still an amazing degree of personal contact and individual accommodation was maintained in the Youth Aliyah procedure. Henrietta Szold simply continued to regard these children as her own charges, and—until the war closed Europe off totally—as children belonging to families elsewhere. Twice after 1933 she went to Berlin on business, once in 1935 and once, with special permission of the Gestapo, in 1937. Twice she had to face meetings with hundreds of parents, tearing at her for word of their children already in Palestine or for promises that she would take out those still in Germany. It was in some way those parents, and all the ones unconfronted, who presided over her plans and methods; at least until the children who came under her care were the ragged bands who had wandered through Europe and the Middle East, or those for whom home had been the Nazi camps.
Once again Hadassah took responsibility for Henrietta Szold’s most pressing work. Its convention of 1935 voted to take on the raising of funds for Youth Aliyah in the United States (which under the circumstances meant about 75 per cent of the total budget). The organization was pledged to raise $30,000 a year for two years, a sum representing the amount of money required to keep and educate one hundred children. However, during those first two years Hadassah was able to transmit to Youth Aliyah no less than $250,766. By 1948 a total of 30,000 children, including those rescued before the war and those taken after the war from the camps of Europe and the Arab countries, had come under the care of the program. During the first decade of the State of Israel an expanded Youth Aliyah (now including those Palestine-Israel adolescents who needed some sort of special disposition) provided for 60,000 more. From 1935 to 1959 Hadassah had contributed $38,000,000—this in addition to its responsibility for the Hadassah Medical Organization, the hospital and medical school, a child welfare program, and a vocational high school.
On her eightieth birthday, Henrietta Szold invited a group of friends to hear her read her will. She was not to die for another four years, but she had saved a sum of money—an accumulation of gifts given her by Hadassah and individual friends—and she wished to preside over the execution of her last project. This was to be a children’s fund, patterned after the Pro Juventute of Switzerland, which would provide a center for research and publication, and the coordination of national youth activities. After her death, in February 1945, the children’s bureau was named the Mosad Szold.
So much of the drama of Henrietta Szold’s career is bound up with the apocalyptic Hitler period in Palestine and with the unbelievable matter-of-course heroism of the Yishuv in those days that it becomes practically impossible to separate the woman from her institutional dimensions. All political partisanship aside, who can doubt the systematic, instinctive, incredibly heroic self-sacrifice of the Yishuv during the 30’s and 40’s? Desperation was part of it, true;—and what the Israelis call “no alternative”—but there was something else we cannot quite manage to understand and can speak of even at the most detached only with a touch of oratory. Everything in Henrietta Szold’s own style militates against thinking of her against a background of apocalypse; but her final destiny—the mother of 90,000 Jewish orphans—makes it impossible not to.
Yet the real meaning of her service to the Yishuv lay elsewhere. In 1921, after one year in Jerusalem, she wrote to her family:
The new people—a war-created generation—who are coming here are wonderful. But I cannot, cannot accept them. I want to—and I cannot. I love order. Disorder nauseates me. And they are systemless. . . . Yet they are heroic, not I. If indeed I am fine and aristocratic as you say I am, why do I not embrace them?
These “new people” were the East European pioneers—the halutzim—who were coming into the country armed with their socialism and their ideologies of labor and a Jewish return to the soil. The feeble economy of those times offered them nothing in the way of occupation but a little road-building. Economic problems, however—in fact, all that order of things the rational world calls by the name of hard realities—were beside the point: the halutzim established their communes and cooperatives, made themselves into farmers and laborers, not out of the existence of possibility but solely from their possession of a new truth.
Henrietta Szold could not embrace them, while passionately admiring their heroism, because they represented the overturning of her world and her apprehension of it as no evil she might ever encounter could. Ideology was as real an element in the social topography of Palestine as the hardship, poverty, disease, disorganization she was equipped to contend with—indeed, in the end it proved realer than any of them. The systemlessness she complained of was actually something other than that: it was a new system of its own, which enthroned a kind of order both uncongenial to and never fully comprehended by her. The halutz was peculiarly a creature of order; everything material, to come into being for him, had first to be adjusted and shaped to his abstractions. And without his abstractions, the Jewish National Home—itself the highest abstraction—could neither have existed nor have been prepared for the most concrete moment in its history—namely, the moment when it undertook to save the salvageable remnant of European Jewry.
If the early socialist pioneers in Palestine were a species of madmen—and it has become the better part of both reason and Zionist theology to think so—it is important to remember that Henrietta Szold was no less mad in her own way. In a contemporary world dominated by the grandeur of social forces and historic movements, she was afflicted with the wild-eyed conviction that people move forward by placing one foot in front of another. She said good public health depends on a good hospital, good education depends on good attitudes among the children, and she said: Do you want to rescue children? Very well then, let us establish proper training farms. Enraged as she was by a politically divided school system that was as inevitable to Palestine as the sun or the rain, it was she who found the means to keep the schools open and the teachers teaching when economics and social reality said no. Thus without the anachronism of Henrietta Szold’s spirit, much would have had to remain unadjusted to the halutz’s order.
It is perhaps in relation to the Arab problem that her peculiar position in the Yishuv was worked through most completely. Practically on her arrival in Palestine she began to fret about Arab hostility—blaming now the Jews, now the British, now the Arabs—and she accurately saw the problem as the obstacle against which the entire Palestinian community might founder. “Here lies my attitude,” she wrote in August 1937: “we must have another five years of sympathetic trial to solve the Arab-Jewish problem. I believe there is a solution; and if we cannot find it, then I consider that Zionism has failed utterly.” Here again, and most significantly, she ignored historical inevitability, which might now be stated in the simple proposition that the Arabs did not want the Jews in Palestine and that if the Jews remained, there was going to be war. It was this view—that Zionism must stand justified by an amicable settlement with the Arabs—which brought her to join Ihud, a group dedicated to the principle of a bi-national state. The official Zionist movement has had bitter thoughts and feelings about Ihud, which it is not necessary to rehearse here; in any event, Henrietta Szold was exempted from them. To those to whom the proposal for a bi-national community seemed a breach of discipline at a time when discipline above all was called for, she at least needed to present no credentials of a thoroughgoing Zionist loyalty. Apart from the ultimate political fate of bi-nationalism, and apart from all the just arguments that can be mustered on either side of the question, Henrietta Szold’s membership in Ihud is of a piece with her entire approach to the movement she served: the real problems of the Jewish state must have concrete, and concretely Jewish, solutions, or else the purpose will have been cut off from those whose purpose the Jewish state is.
Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement has faced still another crisis. No one really knows what Zionism means any more—or what it can be made to mean. In America, Zionist organizations are languishing for want of an ultimate goal—such as the creation of a Jewish state once was—to which to direct their longings and energies. Hadassah, too, insofar as it is an organization deeply committed to the ideas of Zionism, is now going through the troublesome business of redefining its larger purpose. But Hadassah, alone within the whole Zionist movement, carries the unique legacy of Henrietta Szold. Ideologies come and go but orphans and the sick and the socially or psychologically disabled will be with us forever; Zionism will come to mean this thing or that—or, in a happier world, maybe nothing—but the 318,000 members of Hadassah, regardless of what they may finally come to say about their relations with the State of Israel, will not be left looking for ways to concretize their attachment to it. Perhaps Henrietta Szold—the stranger to the Yishuv who was not a stranger, the holder of enormous power who remained staunchly non-political, the woman who did the work cut out for her and left behind a string of useful institutions—perhaps she has provided the clue for the future behavior of those who wish to call themselves Zionists while continuing to live outside the State of Israel.