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Irma Levy Lindheim

Irma Levy Lindheim

Called “the grandmother” of the kibbutz for helping found and sustain multiple kibbutzim, Irma Levy Lindheim also made phenomenal contributions to fundraising and organizational efforts to create and maintain the fledgling State of Israel.

Hadassah president Irma Levy Lindheim challenges American Zionist leadership

March 30, 1928

Hadassah President Irma Levy Lindheim condemned the president of the Zionist Organization of America, accusing him of "political machinations" counter to Zionism's aims.

Zionism in the United States

The modern movement of Zionism began in the nineteenth century and had as its goal the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. American Zionism consistently portrayed the movement as faithful to democratic and social ideals and argued that the highest ideal of Zionism—social justice for the persecuted remnants of the Jewish people in Europe and elsewhere—was identical with the ethos that animated the American nation. Jewish women were active participants in American Zionism from the earliest years of the movement on these shores.

Hadassah in the United States

When seven women concluded on February 14, 1912, “that the time is ripe for a large organization of women Zionists” and issued an invitation to interested friends “to attend a meeting for the purpose of discussing the feasibility of forming an organization” to promote Jewish institutions in Palestine and foster Jewish ideals, they scarcely anticipated that their resolve would lead to the creation of American Jews’ largest mass-membership organization. Yet Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, became not only the most popular American Jewish organization within a short span of years, maintaining that preeminence to this day, but also the most successful American women’s volunteer organization, enrolling more women and raising more funds than any other national women’s volunteer organization.

Irma Levy Lindheim

Irma Levy Lindheim was a colorful American Zionist millionaire, fund-raiser, and educator. Born in New York City on December 9, 1886, into a German Jewish assimilated family with roots dating back several generations in the American South, Lindheim discovered Zionism at age twenty-one. In 1926, she succeeded Henrietta Szold as president of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. Then, in 1933, as a forty-seven-year-old widow and mother of five, Lindheim joined [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:342]Kibbutz[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] Mishmar ha-Emek in Israel, where she remained, aside from frequent stays in the United States and elsewhere for Zionist and political activity. To create greater interest in Judaism and Zionism, she designed family-based educational programs, a project on which she worked until her death.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Irma Levy Lindheim." (Viewed on October 25, 2014) <http://jwa.org/taxonomy/term/11859>.

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