Hadassah's role in education.
(photo credit: courtesy of Hadassah Women's Zionist Organization )
The Hadassah College of Technology in
downtown Jerusalem is among the important accomplishments of Hadassah, The
Women's Zionist Organization of America. Hadassah is usually associated with the
hospitals, and indeed Hadassah has made unparalleled contributions to the
development of medicine. Yet the women of Hadassah never forgot that the
founding charter includes a commitment to ³promote the Zionist ideal through
education," as well as "public health initiatives."
Since the beginning,
Hadassah has been involved in education projects, in training nurses and
doctors, establishing youth villages and fostering vocational
But the establishment of Hadassah College was among the
crowning achievements in Hadassah's partnership with Israel.
In the late
1960s, the women of Hadassah analyzed the education system in Israel and came to
the conclusion that there needed to be additional options for young men and
women after high school. Not everyone could easily acclimate in universities.
They were familiar with community colleges and junior colleges in the United
States and knew they often served as a conduit to fully academic studies and,
even more important, to satisfying job opportunities.
At the time, it was
a novel idea. Today, colleges are very common in Israel. In the 1960s, Hadassah
was a pioneer.
One of the reasons that Hadassah decided on a college in
Jerusalem was as a means to bridge the social and economic divide. The Jerusalem
population is the poorest of Israel's major cities.
For many of the
underprivileged, university seemed too high a goal, like reaching for the stars.
A college would bridge both the psychological gap and, in most cases, an
The Hadassah women chose a fitting location: downtown
Jerusalem. Hadassah has always been devoted to maintaining and developing
Jerusalem. The college was housed in a historic building constructed in 1888 by
Baron de Rothschild the first Jewish hospital built outside the walls of the Old
City of Jerusalem.
That building on Hanevi'im Street was home to the
Alice Seligsberg School, named for Henrietta Szold's closest friend and second
national president of Hadassah. Two hospital wards had been converted for a
vocational school for girls, while boys studied at a similar school named for
Justice Brandeis. The progressive educational idea of these schools was
to combine skills such as fashion design and carpentry with regular high school
studies. In 1969, the Seligsberg and Brandeis schools joined in a comprehensive
In a sense, Hadassah College of Technology was an outgrowth of Hadassah's
educational approach of helping young people make use of their talents in their
working lives. In 1972, the first Hadassah College students graduated. In 1978,
Hadassah College of Technology opened Israel's first twoyear dental technicians'
course, in cooperation with the faculty of the Hebrew University-Hadassah School
of Dental Medicine.
Today, in most departments of Hadassah College,
students earn bachelor's degrees together with training for a modern workforce.
Hadassah College is fully accredited as an academic college by the Ministry of
Education and the Council for Higher Education. It still emphasizes teaching
marketable skills and thereby providing a better future for its
There is an advanced school of Computer Science, which gives
undergraduate and graduate degrees, and a school of Health and Life sciences
with majors in Optometry, Biotechnology, Communication Disorders, Environmental
Health Sciences and Medical Laboratory Sciences.
There is also a School
of Design and Communication, which includes Industrial Design, Photographic
Communication, Politics and Communication. And there is a School of Management
that offers a degree in Management of Service Organizations.
College graduates find work in research, the media and other information
industries, and medical organizations, etc. In addition, the college has the
Tachlit Center for Continuing Education for those who want to develop
professionally by enhancing their education.
There's also an extensive
pre-academic program aimed at helping immigrants integrate into Israeli academic
requirements and culture. All students take part in community volunteer
programs, and special services are available for students with special
The college's president is Prof. Bertold Fridlender, immediate
past chair of the Biotechnology Department, who recently took over from
Prof. Nava Ben Zvi under whose guidance the college underwent further
expansion and academization.
All this happens in downtown Jerusalem,
where the beautiful campus has expanded to Havazelet Street. The Milton
Gottesman Bridge links the two halves of Hadassah College 's downtown Jerusalem
campus. It complements the traditional Jerusalem architecture of the Esther
Gottesman Center for Technology.
It is fitting that this bridge will
unify the campus of an institution that is renowned for building bridges in