Henrietta Szold

Born in 1860 in Baltimore, USA, Henrietta Szold's interests lay in education, literature, Judaism and Zionism. Her father was the Rabbi who headed Baltimore's Temple Oheb Shalom. She was the oldest of his eight daughters. Szold graduated from Western Female High School and became a teacher. Beginning in 1893, she worked for the Jewish Publication Society, a position she maintained for over two decades. In 1898, the Federation of American Zionists elected Szold as the only female member of its executive committee. Her commitment to Zionism was heightened following a trip with her mother to Palestine in 1909.

She was a well known public figure and one of the founders in 1912 of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization in the USA. She served as its president for many years. From the end of World War I, the Hadassah Organization provided medical aid to the Yishuv, the Jewish community in the Land of Israel. In 1920 she immigrated to Palestine and in 1927 was elected by the Zionist Congress to be a member of the Zionist Executive. Henrietta Szold became known as the Mother of the Yishuv for her enormous contribution to the Youth Aliya organization she founded in 1934. She became its director, a position she held until her death in Jerusalem in 1945. By 1948, Youth Aliya had helped save 30,000 Jewish children from the Holocaust. Without having children of her own (she never got married either), the tens of thousands of the Youth Aliya children can be viewed as her own!

Kfar Szold in the northern Galilee is named in her honor. One of the ships of Aliya Bet, the illegal immigration of Jewish people to the Land Of Israel during the British Mandate of Palestine, was named after her (the ship sailed from Greece in 1946 with 536 Holocaust survivors on board). There are streets and public buildings named after her in various cities throughout Israel. Her portrait appeared on the banknote of 5 Israeli Lirot that was issued in 1976. An excellent book about Henrietta Szold (in Hebrew) is Always Be Yourself by Esther Ziv Inbar (publisher: Am Oved).

The stamp also shows a group of children representing the Youth Aliya organization and part of the Hadassah, and the Hebrew University Medical Centre, Jerusalem. Its day of issue was Dec. 14, 1960. The stamp designer was O. Adler.