Hadassah is the Women’s Zionist Organization in America. Founded in NYC 1912 by Henrietta Szold, Hadassah arrived in Pittsburgh in 1916. There is evidence of Homestead women being involved in Pittsburgh Hadassah in the late teens. In the early 1922, just after when Homestead seems to have first gotten involved, “the Hadassah Pittsburgh Chapter had grown to over 500 members whose work helped support four hospitals, several clinics, visiting health care services, nursing schools, and two infant welfare programs in Palestine.”
All the references to the existence of a Hadassah chapter in Homestead are so vague that I wouldn’t have thought that there even was one had it not been referenced directly in the 4/24/1943 by-laws for the Homestead Jewish Council. 1
The earliest mentions come from The Jewish Criterion in 1921. Homestead is never mentioned as having its own chapter; it is either doing activities “under the auspices of the Hadassah Chapter of Pittsburgh” or “under the auspices of the Ladies’ Aid Society.” Such Pittsburgh-oriented events and fundraisers, often with a Homestead district chairman alongside other district chairmen, happened frequently throughout the 1920s. In early 1931 a “Homestead Study Group” began meeting regularly throughout the 30s. “The study groups meet very informally for the study and discussion of Jewish current events and history of Jewish interest.” Homestead girls are mentioned in connection with junior Hadassah in the 20s and especially the 30s.
On the sharp drop in the number of newspaper mentions alone I would assume that the group faded in the 40s…. which is surprising, given the sharp rise in Zionist activities in the Pittsburgh area during the period preceding and following the creation of the State of Israel.
Box 10, Folder 1 ↩