The Danville Chapter of Hadassah was founded in April 1918 by a group of young Jewish women who were inspired by the ideas and Ideals of Henrietta Szold, and within a few years this local chapter received a charter from the national organization. Early efforts included collecting medical instruments, baby food, and clothing to be sent to Palestine, along with fundraising efforts to support the Hadassah Medical Organization. Our members continue to be strong supporters of the good work done by Hadassah both at home and in Israel, including Youth Aliyah and Young Judaea in addition to HMO. The Danville Chapter draws members from the central part of Southside Virginia, including the communities of Martinsville and South Boston. We currently have 75 life members, although many of them now live in other geographic areas. While our small number presents certain challenges, it has also allowed for a wonderful sense of community and support among our members.
Angels of Mercy Campaign
Our major fundraiser is the Angels of Mercy campaign, which has been done annually since 1950. Individuals and businesses are contacted for donations to the Hadassah Medical Organization in Israel, and a full page ad is taken out in the Thanksgiving Day edition of the local paper to thank these “Angels of Mercy.” Last year the project raised $12,852 and continues to be our most successful fundraising event.
From our President
The winter holidays are behind us, and as my eternally optimistic mother would remind me, we are getting a minute or two more of daylight every day. However, the long months of winter are still ahead of us and it’s hard to think about celebrations when the environment is cold and often dark. Fortunately, Hadassah can come to the rescue!
There are not many observances in January, but it’s been designated as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Human trafficking includes both sex and labor trafficking; women and minors are especially vulnerable. Hadassah has been a tireless advocate for human rights and has become a significant partner in the efforts to address human trafficking and the suffering it causes. Due in part to our efforts, Congress passed the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act in 2015, but further legislation is pending. To bring this matter close to home, Atlanta has been identified as a major hub of human trafficking. Hadassah encourages everyone to become more informed about this topic and to encourage both grassroots and legislative action to combat what amounts to involuntary servitude.
February brings Valentine’s Day (not a Jewish holiday, but widely celebrated!) and of course, February has been designated as American Heart Month. There has been growing awareness that women experience different cardiac symptoms than men do, but this awareness took too long, because most medical research has been done on men. Health care is not a “one size fits all” endeavor! Hadassah has created the Gender Equity in Medical Research initiative to help ensure that medical research benefits women and men equally. You can join Hadassah in advocating for the Research for All Act, which represents a critical step towards ensuring effective, non-discriminatory medical research.
Finally, Hadassah has long been a partner with the Jewish National Fund. Tu B’Shevat begins Friday evening, February 10th, so please consider buying a tree in Israel as an expression of “practical Zionism.” All you have to do is contact Jo Ann Howard at 434-799-3505. Thank you for all you do in support of Danville Hadassah, “the little chapter that could!”
Martha Woody, Chapter President
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Jo Ann Howard