1891 – 1955
On February 24, 1912, a group of approximately thirty young women, who called themselves Bnoth Zion, or the Daughters of Zion, met together at the urging of Henrietta Szold with the intent of founding Hadassah. Gertrude Rosenblatt was one of those women, and on March 7, 1912, when the officers were elected, she became one of the first directors of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization. Her involvement in this new organization was only the beginning of her philanthropic activities aimed at helping those in need in Palestine and Israel.
Born in 1891, Gertrude (Goldsmith) Rosenblatt married Bernard A. Rosenblatt, a prominent lawyer from New York City and an ardent Zionist (he was founder and/or president of a number of Zionist organizations) who helped Szold draft the constitution for Hadassah. They had two sons, David and Jonathan. The couple settled in Palestine, but later returned to New York City.
Rosenblatt was an organizer of Young Judaea and, while in Israel, a founder of Ruhamah, a Haifa orphanage. In 1926, she organized clothing distribution in Haifa, and in 1934 she received a citation from the British high commissioner in Palestine for her role in providing aid to flood victims in Tiberias, Israel. Upon her return to the United States, she became a key member in the Hebrew-Speaking Society of New York, which was formed in 1949.
Gertrude Rosenblatt died on October 9, 1955, and was buried in Haifa, Israel. She truly was a Daughter of Zion whose passion for Israel was surpassed only by her passion to improve life for those who lived there.
AJYB, 58:478, s.v. “Gertrude Rosenblatt,” and 71:608, s.v. “Bernard Rosenblatt”; Beth Hatefutsoth, Women of Valor: The Story of Hadassah, 1912–1987 (1987); Kutscher, Carol Bosworth. “The Early Years of Hadassah, 1912–1921.” Ph.D. diss., Brandeis University (1976); Miller, Donald H. A History of Hadassah, 1912–1935 (1968); Obituary. NYTimes, October 10, 1955, 27:6.