Memorial Pamphlet, 1945
This pamphlet was produced by the Child and Youth Immigration Bureau a month after the death of Henrietta Szold. It includes the transcript of a speech she made on Israeli radio, a quote from a speech she made in America, and letters she wrote in reply to children from Youth Aliyah.
Following are some quotes from the pamphlet.
In 1935, at a dinner held in New York in honour of her birthday, she said:
“Let’s forget the past 75 years. I don’t want to talk about age…a great task stands before us, a new task that needs to be completely executed from beginning to end. We have to take Jewish youth out of Germany, and afterwards from Poland, France, Lithuania etc.”
In a letter written to one of the Youth Aliyah immigrants, she gives advice about how to best integrate into Israeli society:
“Try to understand the hidden tastes [of Israel]; try and penetrate the secrets of the language; read the Bible and be one with nature, the nation, leaders and the ways of our Land of Israel.”
In a speech she delivered on the radio in 1940 in honour of her 80th birthday, she remarked:
“You can see the many incredible changes that have occurred over the eighty years of my life, however, one thing has stayed consistent, untouched by the hand of time. As in the past, today there are generous men and women who do good deeds. Today, as in the past, educated men and women express great ideas. Today, as in the past, active men and women work and create. Today, as in the past, we, the people of the Jewish nation, cultivate the spirit and aspirations which have served as the foundations of our life since we became a nation. The human soul stands forever; it just finds new and better paths to the soul of the other.”
Henrietta Szold led an amazingly rich life. She established a night school, was the first woman to study at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), and founded Hadassah, the Woman's Zionist Organization of America. In Israel she founded Youth Aliyah, a nursing school, and several hospitals.
Read here to find out more about Youth Aliyah.
Henrietta Szold never married or had children, but she became known as the “Mother of Israel.” In fact, Mother's Day (which later became known as Family Day) was established in her honour on 30th Shevat, the Hebrew anniversary of her death.
This pamphlet could be used by Israel Studies teachers when discussing the role of women pioneers in building the State of Israel. Hebrew teachers could use this resource to discuss immigration and the difficulties of integration or to introduce Mother's Day or Family Day (Yom HaMishpacha) in Israel. Teachers of Jewish History could use Henrietta Szold's life story to relate to different historical events: early Jewish life in America, the reform movement, Aliyah (immigration) to Israel, the rescue of children during the Holocaust, and the building of the infrastructure of the State of Israel.
What is this resource?
Who produced it and why?
What can you learn about Henrietta Szold's personality from this resource?
Look at the dates of Henrietta Szold's birth and death. What important world events happened during her lifetime?
What was Youth Aliyah? Why was it established?
Mother’s Day (or Family Day) is celebrated in Israel on the anniversary of Henrietta Szold's death. Why do you think this date was chosen?
Compare these two posters advertising Youth Aliyah. When do you think each was produced? Why? What are some of the similarities/differences between them?
Look for information about Youth Aliyah.
Does this organization still operate today?
Compare Youth Aliyah's goals today to the goals when Henrietta Szold founded the organisation.
What do you think Henrietta Szold would think about her organisation today?
Make your own poster advertising Youth Aliyah – you can use the Youth Aliyah website for more information.
Watch Henrietta Szold talking about the importance of Youth Aliyah here.