Rhoda Smolow of Great Neck was elected National President of Hadassah this week, during its convention at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel.
With over 300,000 members, the 107-year-old Hadassah is the world’s largest women’s Zionist organization, supporting Israel, women’s health, and leadership training for women, and pursuiting groundbreaking, life-saving medical research and treatment at its two Jerusalem-based hospitals.
Smolow was past president of the Nassau Region, a Great Neck Chapter co-president, and past president of the Erev Group of the Great Neck Chapter. She is part of a five-generation Hadassah Life Member Family and a member of Hadassah’s Keepers of the Gate. She and her husband Craig are part of a three-generation Hadassah Founder Family and are members of Hadassah’s Society of Major Donors.
Her election is the culmination of 39 years of service to Hadassah, for which she is currently national secretary, a past national vice-president and a member of the Hadassah National Board, in addition to being one of Hadassah’s representatives to the American Zionist Movement.
The outgoing president, Ellen Hershkin, said Smolow “exemplifies the ideal of selfless service to Hadassah. Over the course of her Hadassah career, Rhoda has brought energy, imagination and dedication to every level of service in which she has been involved.”
Smolow “is an inspiration to the next generation of women who are dedicated to Hadassah’s mission to effect change and bring healing and justice to the world,” Hershkin said.
Hadassah CEO/Executive Director Janice Weinman said Smolow “has been unwavering in her commitment to women’s health and well-being, to Israel and to Jewish values and continuity. As the role of women and Jewish life here and in Israel continues to evolve, Rhoda will play a critical role in developing new programs and initiatives to enable Hadassah to meet those challenges.”
Hershkin, whose term ends Dec. 31, has led the organization since 2016, maintaining the historic agreement between the Government of Israel, Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) and HWZOA, and advocating on key issues of national importance.
Milestones of Hershkin’s tenure are completion of the $363-million 19-story Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower fundraising campaign, the opening of the $10-million Irma and Paul Milstein Heart Center, and the launch of the $91.2-million 360 Degrees of Healing Full Circle Campaign, all at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem campus, and the Rehabilitation Center and new Maternity facility at Mount Scopus.
Other highlights include creation of the 28-member Coalition for Women’s Health Equity; and the re-opening of the Young Women’s Department and of Hadassah’s Government Relations Office in Washington. Hadassah was instrumental in garnering support for the Never Again Education Act, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate this week by Sen. Marco Rubio. The House version of this Bill, (H.R. 943), is sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney and presently has over 200 cosponsors.
Smolow saluted Hershkin “for her tireless commitment, devotion and dedication to Hadassah.”
“I am both thrilled and humbled at the opportunity to follow in her footsteps, and those of the many brilliant and accomplished presidents who have preceded her, and by the example of ‘Practical Zionism’ of our founder, Henrietta Szold,” Smolow said.