Advocacy Highlights November 2023
Hadassah convenes influential American women to discuss the importance of continued support on Capitol Hill for the US-Israel relationship
Hadassah hosted “American Women Supporting Israel: Building Bridges and Making an Impact” in partnership with Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-25), a briefing showcasing women who are working to build support for Zionism and who believe America needs policies that support a strong alliance with Israel.
Speakers included Rhoda Smolow, Hadassah National President; Naomi Adler, Hadassah CEO; Destiny Albritton, National Outreach Director of the Israel On Campus Coalition, Ana Sazonov, former Executive Director of the Columbia Jewish Federation in South Carolina; Michelle Rojas-Tal, Hadassah’s former Zionist Scholar-in-Residence, and Danielle Rugoff, Head of Movement Activation, Product and Partnerships at Starts With Us.
“Women have always been a powerful voice to ensure Israel’s right to exist and to strengthen the close alliance between the US and Israel,” said Rhoda Smolow, Hadassah National President. “With nearly 300,000 members, donors and supporters in every congressional district across the country, Hadassah is the largest Jewish women’s organization and one of the oldest Zionist wom-
en’s organizations nationwide working to advance the US-Israel relationship for over 100 years.”
“A strong US-Israel relationship helps keep both our countries secure and facilitates opportunities and partnerships that accelerate innovation to solve global issues,” said Naomi Adler, Hadassah CEO. “As we celebrate Israel’s 75th anniversary, we’re proud to bring forward these extraordinary women whose work shows the world that support for Israel is critical and widespread.”
“As a strong supporter of the US-Israel relationship and Florida’s first Jewish congresswoman, I know that advancing the strategic alliance between the countries and combating antisemitism are critical priorities, and I’m so grateful for Hadassah’s leadership in advocating for this critical relationship and uplifting the work of women working to support Israel,” said Representative Wasserman Schultz. "We must continue to support Israel’s ability to defend itself and thrive, as our ally and as a secure Jewish and democratic state.”
During the briefing, speakers discussed the importance of Congressional support for the US-Israel relationship, and the broad support for Israel and Zionism nationwide. “As someone who spends her days fighting for democracy and the American experiment, I believe strongly that support for the largest democracy in the Middle East is in America’s best interest,” said Danielle Rugoff, a lifetime member of Hadassah and Head of Movement Activation, Product and Partnerships at Starts With Us. “I’m proud to speak with the other amazing women on this panel who are passionate about a strong US-Israel relationship and to see the overwhelming bipartisan support for Israel in Congress.”
“The strategic alliance between Israel and the United States, which advances mutual security and enables cultural exchange, is strengthened by the average American’s understanding of its importance and impact,” said Michelle Rojas-Tal, Hadassah’s former Zionist Scholar-in-Residence. “That’s why it is critical that we are united in our advocacy for the US-Israel relationship, regardless of our different backgrounds.”
“The Jewish community, both on and off campus, is experiencing antisemitism, and we as Americans must address it head-on together,” said Destiny Albritton, National Outreach Director of the Israel on Campus Coalition. “In my work, I teach students that Zionism is the movement for self-determination of the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland, but you do not have to be Jewish to be a Zionist.”
Speakers also discussed the impact of the US-Israel relationship worldwide, from humanitarian efforts to security partnerships to healthcare diplomacy, and the importance of supporting the mutual security of the two nations.
“Israel is on the forefront of helping with the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine,” said Ana Sazonov, former Executive Director of the Columbia Jewish Federation in South Carolina, who was born in Ukraine. “A strong and secure Israel is an active force for good in the world, and the US-Israel relationship and its strategic alliance are important not only to Israel’s security, but also to the security of all our allies.”