Rebecca Shulman dies at 100 past national Hadassah leader

Shulman served as national president from 1953 to 1956.

Born in Vienna 15 years before the founding of Hadassah in 1912, Shulman came to the United States as a child and later became a lifelong Zionist activist.

She was first elected as a delegate to the World Zionist Congress in 1929, and in 1932, she became a national board member.

As chair of the Hadassah National Convention in 1945, she called on the organization's 150,000 members to become "soldiers" in the fight for Jewish liberation and nationhood.

For the next three years, Shulman's home in Stamford, Conn., was the "core and hub of activity for the Jewish state" during the years just prior to the establishment of the state, Abba Eban, former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement.

David Ben-Gurion, Chaim Weizmann, Golda Meir and other activists for a Jewish state were frequently "whisked away to that hideaway" for weekend retreats after United Nations conferences and meetings, said Eban, who also participated in the meetings.

A trained nurse and social worker, Shulman was sent in 1946 to Palestine to examine Hadassah's medical services and its capacity to absorb refugees from Europe.

Her late son, Paul, was instrumental in building Israel's navy, and became its first admiral.

After she retired as Hadassah's national president, Shulman continued to dedicate her energies to the improvement of medical services in Israel and the construction of Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, one of the largest medical care and research facilities in the Middle East.