Young Judaea is en route to full independence from Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America.
Hadassah’s board had voted for the separation in June 2011, and both organizations announced this week that the move to independence had begun.
Simon Klarfeld was hired in December as Young Judaea’s executive director.
Hadassah will provide $7 million in transitional funding over the next three years, as Young Judaea works to secure independent funding, according to a spokesperson. Hadassah chapters also will continue to raise scholarship money for the youth organization and Hadassah will have representation on Young Judaea’s board.
“The fact that this is Independence Week in the United States has not been lost on us and is certainly appropriate in the evolution of Young Judaea,” Marcie Natan, Hadassah’s national president, said in a statement. “Like a bird leaving the nest, Young Judaea will always be part of the Hadassah family. Hadassah members take tremendous pride in how effective Young Judaea is in creating permanent connections between American youth and Israel.”
The spinoff comes as Hadassah, which supports two hospitals in Israel and other programs, has faced funding difficulties in recent years, both due to the poor economy and $45 million it was forced to return in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scandal.
Hadassah also recently announced the $71.5 million sale of its New York headquarters.
Founded in 1909 as a Zionist youth organization, Young Judaea serves 5,000 Jewish youngsters and young adults through U.S. camps and Israel programs. The group has been supported entirely by Hadassah since 1967.