In commemoration of Hadassah’s upcoming centennial milestone, Long Beach’s Tziporah chapter held a “ Stories to Share, Recipes to Savor” event on Thursday, January 12. Coordinated by Program Vice President Carole Pearlman, and Co-Chair Maxine Klein, six women, who were born and raised in foreign countries spoke about the trials and tribulations in their native lands. These Hadassah members representative of Paraguay, Greece, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Scotland, and Cuba conveyed their stories in a group discussion and through recipes shared in a cookbook that was compiled and distributed as part of the centennial program.
Hadassah, a volunteer women’s Zionist organization, which was founded in 1912, is the largest of its kind, committed to it’s mission to strengthen their partnership with Israel and ensure Jewish continuity through a plethora of programs they spearhead in Israel and in the U.S. In Israel, Hadassah initiates and supports pace-setting health care, education and youth institutions, and land development to meet the country’s changing needs. In the United States, Hadassah enhances the quality of American and Jewish life through its education and Zionist youth programs, which promotes health awareness, and provides personal enrichment and growth for its members. On its comprehensive agenda, Hadassah advocates for women’s issues spanning all streams of Judaism.
The Five Towns is well represented, with two chapters, Hewlett and Woodmere. The Devora group, a subset of the Hewlett chapter, meets monthly, and is comprised of “an eclectic group of women of different ages and different levels of observance,” says Miriam Abrahams of Woodmere. Abrahams, a 15 year member, and past president of the chapter, currently serves as liason between Hadassah and the Jewish Book Council. With their meetings hosted in member’s kosher homes, the Devora group, under the leadership of co-presidents Susan Kaye and Mindy Steinberg is welcoming of all new members and hopes to attract modern orthodox women to their mix. Miriam is proud to be part of the group of women that is so committed to the cause that has Israel as their main concern. “Hadassah means Israel. My zionism is expressed through the work of Hadassah”, says Abrahams.
It started in response to a need for an evening group with the idea that women who work outside the home or unavailable during the day could still have a connection to the organization, “says Cedarhurst resident and former chapter president, Karen Weinberg. Weinberg, who in May is due to assume the presidency of the Hewlett chapter originally was introduced to the organization as a guest at a paid-up membership function, roughly twenty five years ago. She is quick to make the point that although Hadassah avoids any political affiliation, it does in fact take a strong stance on controversial topical issues, such as stem cell research and often challenges politicians on their stances.
As part of the larger Nassau territory, which claims the distinction of being recognized as one of the top fundraising regions, Weinberg is setting her focus specifically on raising funds for the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower of Hadassah Hospital. Plans for the state of the art addition to include 500 beds, 20 operating rooms, and 60 intensive care beds and a heart institute will have five floors below ground and fourteen above. The below ground area will be a safe haven in the unfortunate event of an attack.
Carole Pearlman of Long Beach considers her affiliation with Hadassah as her expression of support for Israel. She just returned from her first trip to Israel with a contingency of twenty family members. “I’m especially proud of Hadassah Medical Organization and it’s hospitals which have top notch doctors and are on the cutting edge of discovering new medical procedures and cures, ” says Pearlman.
Members throughout the entire organization are looking forward to Hadassah’s Centennial convention which is scheduled to take place in Jerusalem on October 15 through October 18, 2012.
If you’re interested in joining Hadassah, please contact the Nassau region, at 516 766-2725.