Award-winning author Francine Klagsbrun reveals the complex life and work of Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah and a Zionist trailblazer
Henrietta Szold (1860–1945) is renowned as the founder of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, which quickly became one of the most successful of all Zionist groups. In her work with Hadassah, Szold used a combined ethical and pragmatic approach aimed at improving the lives of both Jews and Arabs. She later moved to Mandate Palestine to help shape education, health, and social services there. The pinnacle of her career came in her seventies, when she took on the task of directing the Youth Aliyah program, which rescued thousands of young people from the Nazis and resettled them in Palestine.
Using Szold’s copious letters, diaries, and essays, along with other archival documents, Francine Klagsbrun traces Szold’s life and legacy with an eye to uncovering the person behind the Zionist icon. She reveals Szold as a complex human being who had to cope with controversy and criticism, a workaholic with an outsized sense of duty, and an idealist who fought for her beliefs even as she questioned her own abilities. With deep insight, Klagsbrun introduces readers to this extraordinary woman, whose impact on women’s lives as well as on education and health systems still resonates.
Francine Klagsbrun is the author of numerous books, including the award-winning Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel. She has been a columnist for Jewish Week and Moment, is a contributing editor to Lilith, and is on the editorial board of Hadassah Magazine. Her writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Newsweek, Ms. magazine, and other national publications.
“Francine Klagsbrun’s resplendently transfiguring biography of Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold will illumine and excite and wake and shake you to a new understanding of a remarkable woman of valor.”—Cynthia Ozick, author of Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays
“Compelling and engrossing, Klagsbrun’s portrait is particularly impressive in integrating the personal elements of Szold’s life with her professional and public activities and immense and enduring achievements, thereby creating a holistic picture of this extraordinary woman.”—Rabbi David Ellenson, author of Jewish Meaning in a World of Choice: Studies in Tradition and Modernity
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