The renowned cooks of Salt Lake City's Hadassah chapter are firing up their kitchens for a Tuesday, Nov. 6, dinner/reception. The event will take place at the James L. White Jewish Community Center at 6:30 p.m.
Joy Erickson, president of the local Hadassah chapter, invited Tobey R. Olken of Hadassah's national board and national executive committee as guest speaker. A lawyer in Philadelphia, Olken is attorney for her chapter of Hadassah and is legal counsel and board member of the Paley Day Care Center of Philadelphia. She sits on a special committee for the aging and is a member of the International Society of Mediaeval Scholars.In a telephone interview from Philadelphia, Olken told about the beginnings of Hadassah in 1912. "We were in Israel before it was even a state. Our founder took a trip there and saw an appalling lack of medical care in Palestine," she said. The American women of Hadassah founded two hospitals in Jerusalem, a youth organization and a technical school. All of the Hadassah organizations are non-sectarian, said Olken. "Our mandate is the humanitarian work of our hands."
Olken serves as national American affairs chairwoman for Hadassah. "I talk about Israel's 40-plus-years relationship with the United States," she said. The inevitable questions about Israel's fears over the Palestinian question brought a sharp response. "If it were just Israel's fears, I could understand more why people are so impatient with Israel. But it's more than fear, it's fact. The Iraqi situation proves that. Israel said that certain governments were repressive; they warned that Iraq was planning some activity toward Kuwait, and they were correct," she said.
Olken said there are a few facts that are overlooked about the Palestinians. "When the Ottoman Empire was dismantled, 73 percent of the mass of the original Palestine went to Jordan and 25-27 percent of the land went to Israel. Jordan built camps for the Palestinians, they never created a homeland," she said. "Last week President Bush appeared to link Israel with the Iraq situation. In my mind Iraq went in and invaded a neutral country. The peace process in Israel ought not, should not and cannot be linked with Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait."
The Nov. 6 dinner/reception should provide a lively discussion with Olken. Salt Lake Hadassah president Erickson explained that the fund-raiser will benefit the Youth Aliyah program in Israel and the Young Judaea project, which is the only project of Hadassah where the money stays in the United States. "The Youth Aliyah brought children to Israel after the Holocaust. Now disadvantaged children, some from Iran, Ethiopia and the Soviet Union, are helped in care centers and camps," said Erickson.
The public is invited to become a patron of Hadassah with either a $24, $36 or $50 contribution for the Youth Aliyah program. A donation of $18 is suggested for the Young Judaea program but any donation will be gratefully accepted. Non-patrons may attend for $7.50.
Co-chairs for the event are Dorothy Seiler and Drora Oren. Cele Siegel is the food director and Celia Weisman the publicity chairwoman. For more information call Erickson at 292-1211 or Seiler at 262-9613.