Alexander M. Dushkin to Eleanor Roosevelt, February 17, 1952

Dear Mrs. Roosevelt,

    Your having made time to visit our Tuberculosis hospital in Jerusalem, our frontier hospital in Beersheba as well as the Eddie Center village in Maale Hahamisha has left an indelible impression upon our people. It was in consonance with the concept which has built this land and which was embodied in Herzl's famous phrase, "If you will it, it will come to pass". We did will it and your action bespoke your will. We did so wish to show you at least a fraction of what American Jewish women have done in speeding health and rehabilitation in the land, especially of the remnants of the Jewish people who have finally found a home and haven on those shores. Your coming to Israel at this time has enhanced the feeling of security of the many here to whom your very presence is a symbol of their greater personal safety for in you they see the personification of the world's interest in their better destiny.

    Had there been another minute for me to speak when we had the pleasure of your lunching with us at our Negev hospital, I would have taken the privilege of recalling a personal experience there 32 years ago.

    I first visited Beersheba in 1920 as the guest of the Military Governor of the District. I vividly remember an evening we spent examining a blood feud which he kept. It represented a record of the many inhabitants in the region who had sworn to avenge the blood of their murdered kinsmen. If you had had time during your visit, we might have shown you our blood file today. It carried the hospital record of the blood types of Beersheba's present inhabitants so that at a moment's notice they may be able to locate the specific blood donor needed in emergency blood transfusions for saving the lives of Jews and Arabs alike. To me this, in a deep sense, connotes the change that has taken place in this area within our lifetime.

    Dare we hope that another miracle will happen in your schedule—one which will release another few free moments when you may wish to pause to send us a message for our 350,000 member who with greatest eagerness await your impression of the their courageous pioneering effort in health, child welfare and vocational education. Or may it be that unbeknown to us here, you have already spoken to them directly through your daily Column which they read so avidly?

    May your visit in Israel leave in its path seeds of peace, "hope, faith and charity" for all of its inhabitants.

Gracefully and respectfully yours,

Mrs. Alexander M. Dushkin,

Hadassah Council in Israel Executive Committee



[Read Eleanor Roosevelt's reply to this letter]