Dr. Stacey Maslow, Vice-Chair, Hadassah Medical Organization, and Lifetime Member, Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America: Diana, tell us about yourself and how Zionism became your passion?
Diana Diner, Zionist Educator, Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America: Before coming to work at Hadassah, I spent almost 15 years working with college students and young adults and I am very much in tune with how they think and feel about Israel and Zionism. I am a proud Zionist and I want to elevate the national conversation Hadassah is having about Zionism.
Maslow: Your enthusiasm for Zionism is infectious. Tell us how you are bringing your experience and excitement to Hadassah.
Diner: Hadassah is a proud Zionist organization with an impressive 110-year tradition of supporting Israel through action, advocacy and policy statements.
Israel is the heart of Hadassah and we support both The Jerusalem Program, the official platform of the World Zionist Organization and the Zionist movement, and its definition of Zionism as the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. We want to have deep and meaningful conversations about how Zionism impacts each of us and we’re doing that through a Hadassah program called Evolving Zionism.
Maslow: What is Evolving Zionism?
Diner: Evolving Zionism is a multi-year program launched in 2022 to engage Hadassah members and non-members in an ongoing conversation about Zionism. Our goal is for Hadassah to be a safe, welcoming space in which young Zionist adults feel comfortable having frank conversations about their feelings and questions about Zionism. We also want to amplify the ideas and voices of the new generation of Zionists – especially those who are young women since they are the future leaders of Hadassah. Young adults today may speak about Zionism differently from the way we, our parents and our grandparents did – they ask questions previous generations may not have asked or felt the need to ask – but they are just as passionate and committed as their older counterparts. Hadassah wants to be the home for all Zionists.
Maslow: What types of programs does Evolving Zionism offer?
Diner: Our goal with all of our Zionist programming is not to change anyone’s view of Zionism but to educate and expand people’s views. We are listening to both young adults – say, those under 45 – and older adults about what Zionism means to them. The title “Evolving Zionism” is intended to be dynamic, to reflect the reality that young adults understand Zionism differently than older adults may.
Toward that end, we have started a series of national and local programs collectively called “What Zionism Means to Me.” In each program, three young Zionist women share their thoughts about Israel and Zionism with the audience, who get to hear different and possibly new perspectives.
Earlier this year, we launched what will be an annual list called “18 American Zionist Women You Should Know” through which we highlight 18 incredible young women who are trailblazers in their respective fields. Our list represents the diversity of Zionism today and the many ways women are building bridges and making an impact. We are thrilled these women are participating in this unique opportunity to honor their important work, amplify their voices, and celebrate Zionism and the State of Israel.
On October 25-26, 2023, we will hold Hadassah’s first Zionist symposium, “Inspire Zionism: Tech, Trailblazers and Tattoos.” This virtual event will celebrate Zionist innovators in diverse fields and from diverse backgrounds. The event will feature women who are Zionist trailblazers, including political leaders, industry pioneers and academics. It will also highlight the unique struggles and triumphs of Zionists who are balancing multiple identities, such as people of color and members of the LGBTQIA community. Promising to be thought-provoking, relevant and informative, the symposium will be a timely opportunity for people to engage with Zionism in all of its rich and fascinating complexity.
Maslow: Thank you, Diana, for your overview of Evolving Zionism. Is there anything you’d like to leave us with?
Diner: Hadassah wants to be the home for all Zionists. We hope everyone will join us on this important journey of Evolving Zionism.