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News Around the Country

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Centennial Celebrations

The San Diego Chapter of Hadassah of Southern California held a Centennial Hadassah Shabbat in an aircraft hangar at the Mira Mar Air Station in San Diego. Two Navy chaplains, Rabbi Newman and Rabbi Elson, conducted the service for the community in order to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Hadassah. The program honored Jewish servicemen as well as the founding of Hadassah.

The Greater Miami Region of Hadassah celebrated Hadassah's Centennial Anniversary at Beth David Congregation, which was the first synagogue founded in Miami in 1912. This joint centennial celebration took place at a special Kabbalat service, "A Century Shabbat: The Impact of Jewish Women." Women who made significant contributions to both organizations and chapter presidents from the Greater Miami Region of Hadassah participated in readings about Jewish women. A wine and cheese reception preceded the service featuring Hadassah's National President, Marcie Natan.

The Collier County Chapter of Hadassah, in Naples, Florida held a benefit concert "A Simcha in Song" to honor Hadassah's 100th anniversary. Nine Florida cantors and cantorial soloists, including Cantor Donna Azu of Temple Shalom in Naples, participated in this musical journey from Israel to Broadway. Stuart Warshauer and the Naples Klezmer Revival Band also performed. This concert, which was open to the public, benefited the Hadassah Medical Organization and other Hadassah projects.

Hadassah North Shore and Chicago Chapters celebrated Hadassah's Centennial Year at a Kabbalat Shabbat Service and dinner on February 24, the date that Hadassah was founded, at Congregation Beth Shalom in Northbrook.

The Westchester Region of Hadassah recently celebrated Hadassah's Centennial at a meeting in its new headquarters in White Plains. Hila Elroy, an advisor to the Consulate General of Israel in New York City, was the featured speaker. She spoke about the political and social situation in Israel and the role of Hadassah in impacting events. Read about it

The City of Wheeling helped celebrate the Centennial Anniversary of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc. Tuesday evening February 21, 2012 by reading aloud and presenting a Proclamation at Wheeling Village Hall to a delegation led by Wheeling resident and Hadassah volunteer Karen Jacobson. The Proclamation was read aloud by Village Clerk Elaine Simpson and presented by Mayor Judy Abruscato who congratulaed Ms. Jacobson and the members of Hadassah for serving as models of hard work, integrity, and dedication for the people of the State of Illinois.

With the Proclamation (left to right) are Vice President of Education Gloriann Levy of Skokie; Yelena Beylis of Wheeling; Jan Obrand of Buffalo Grove; Karen Jacobson of Wheeling, Vice President of Programming for the North Boundary Group of the Chicago Chapter; Judy Arkin of Skokie, President of North Boundary Hadassah; Myrna Alexander of Northbrook; Jennie Spallone of Buffalo Grove; and Vice President Carol Schwartz of Vernon Hills.
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Gala Event in St. Louis Highlights Progress in MS
St. Louis Chapter of Hadassah

(l to r) Linda Jayaram, David Barish and St. Louis Chapter Hadassah President Jenny Schmitz are pictured at the Hadassah event.

The gala event, "Framing the Future Encore: A Love Story" took place on February 14, 2012 at the Jewish Community Center's Arts & Education Building and attracted more than 100 members of the St. Louis Chapter of Hadassah.

"Tonight we celebrate the promise of stem cell research at Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) in treating multiple sclerosis," local Hadassah President Jenny Schmitz said. "About 350,000 people in the United States have MS and suffer from various symptoms, that include limb weakness, muscle spasms and visual disturbances."

The program featured remarks by Dr. Barbara Green, Medical Director of the West County Multiple Sclerosis Center, on the challenges faced by people living with multiple sclerosis and related diseases. She also spoke about the advances at Hadassah and other facilities in providing treatments and progress towards a possible cure for MS. Nancy Falchuk, immediate Past President of Hadassah, provided an update on the state-of-the-art Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower at Hadassah, a gift from Hadassah to the city of Jerusalem in honor of Hadassah's 100th anniversary.

A highlight of the evening was the inspiring and dramatic testimony of the advances in the use of stem cell replacement therapy by David Barish and his wife Linda Jayaram of Houston, TX. They spoke of their gratitude to Hadassah for its ground-breaking work. Jayaram had been unable to walk without a wheelchair and was in a profoundly weakened condition before she underwent stem cell replacement therapy at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. She is now able to walk unaided and has regained most of her previously lost muscle strength. It was stressed that Jayaram's recovery was by far the most dramatic of those who have received similar treatment.

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Greater Philadelphia Honors Life Members
Hadassah of Greater Philadelphia

(l to r) Elyse Leace, Membership Coordinator; Lisa Glassner, Event Chair; Roz Holberg, President of Hadassah of Greater Philadelphia; Lucy Maislin, Membership Coordinator

Hadassah of Greater Philadelphia wanted to do something special for its life members by creating a unique opportunity for them to experience an event that would not be available to the public. On February 9, 2012 over 170 life members of Hadassah of Greater Philadelphia attended a luncheon at the beautiful Estia Restaurant and a dress rehearsal of the Pennsylvania Ballet at the Merriam Theater. Over $3500 was raised for Hadassah's projects.

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Hadassah New Orleans Presents Education Day
Hadassah New Orleans

Hadassah New Orleans presented a health awareness program at its recent Education Day. Dr. Catherine Wilbert, a nutrition and wellness expert, and a champion body-builder, spoke about her book Mending Your Metabolism."Preventing Heart-ache" was the topic addressed by Dr. Pramilla N. Subramaniam, Professor of Medicine and Co-Director of the Louisiana State University Medical Center. Lastly, Dr. Margie A. Kahn, Director of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at the Tulane University School of Medicine, spoke on "Bladder Matters."

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Houston Chapter Hosts Women of Courage Luncheon
Houston Chapter of Hadassah

The Houston Chapter of Hadassah held its annual fundraiser, the Women of Courage Awards Luncheon, in January at the Westin Galleria Hotel.

A crowd of more than 400 people came to honor two women and an organization that have dealt with important issues in the community and have gone the extra mile to make a difference in the lives of others.

Houston Chapter President Marlene Bergman welcomed the attendees who were supporting this important event. Judy Yambra, "Woman of Courage" Honoree, spoke strongly of her 22 years of leadership in Hadassah. Next, Dr. Shanda Blackmon accepted the award on behalf of Methodist Hospital. A special collaboration exists between Methodist's Dr. Michael Reardon and Dr. Oz Shapira of Hadassah Ein Kerem in Israel. They, alongside Dr. Blackmon, have performed life-saving surgeries together. Finally, "Woman of the Future" Hilary Kamin spoke about how her passion for Judaism has transcended both her personal and professional life. She was particularly proud in starting the Machar group and forming Hadassah's "Weigh to Go" program.

The day started with a silent auction and funds raised at the luncheon went to Hadassah Medical Organization.

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Dramatic Sculpture on its Way to Jerusalem
Hadassah of Southern California

Los Gatos, CA sculptor and Hadassah member Joyce Steinfeld is donating her sculpture of Hebrew letters that spell “Hadassah” to Hadassah Medical Organization. The sculpture, fabricated steel on a granite pedestal, will stand six feet tall. Steinfeld decided to create the sculpture after visiting Hadassah Ein Kerem last summer.

Read the story on losgatos.patch.com

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Figs, Faith and Fashion
New England Region / Boston Chapter

The Boston, MA Chapter celebrated Tu B’Shevat with an Evening of Renewal—for body and soul. “Figs, Faith and Fashion” was moderated by Rabbi Michelle Robinson of Temple Emanuel in Newton, venue for the event. Featured speakers were Rabbi Claudia Kreiman of Temple Beth Zion and Dr. Shula Reinharz, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. Local experts demonstrated make up techniques, meditation, yoga, fashion and skin care.

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Westchester Region Celebrates Centennial
Westchester Region

The Westchester, NY Region had a Centennial bash in January, and made news doing it. Hila Elroy, an advisor to the Consulate General of Israel in New York City, was the featured speaker at the Hadassah event.

Read about it in The Daily Whiteplains

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Hadassah Collier County Centennial Celebration

The Collier Country Chapter of Hadassah, with almost 800 members in Naples, Marco Island, Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Sanibel Island, hosted a “Simcha in Song”, in celebration of Hadassah’s 100th birthday, on Sunday, Feb. 12th at Temple Shalom, Naples, FL. The event raised at least $15,000 and donations are still coming in.

Over 400 guests thrilled to the versatile musical talents of 9 cantors and cantorial soloists, and the musicians of The Naples Klezmer Revival Band. All of the performers donated their time and energy to make this centennial concert a huge success for Hadassah’s benefit.

The event was the brainchild of Lauren Becker, chair of the chapter’s Evening Interest Group. Lauren said, “I’ve waited over a year for this to come together and it exceeded my wildest expectations! Our huge committee worked tirelessly to get articles in the press, interviews on radio and donations of goods and services from our community.” Lynn Weiner, Chapter President, introduced the program thanking guests ”…. for donating For Now, supporting us for the Future and reminding them to keep Hadassah’s Planned Giving programs in mind for Forever”.

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Coloradans Meet New HMO Director General in Jerusalem
Denver Chapter

Lorraine and Donald Skupsky of Greenwood Village, Colorado met Hadassah Medical Organization's new Director General Professor Ehud Kokia (center) in Jerusalem at an evening dedicated to Hadassah's multi-disciplinary institute for low vision.

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Knoxville Sponsors Educational Event
Knoxville Chapter of Hadassah

(l to r) Nancy Britcher, Mary Evars-Goan Co-Chairs of Event; Marcia Shloush, Fundraising Vice President; Cindy Pasi, President of the Knoxville Chapter

The Knoxville Chapter of Hadassah has done it again. A very successful HMO luncheon was held in December with over 65 people in attendance, including many Associates. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was the topic and a panel of professionals discussed the issues, which included a rabbi, a lawyer, a stress management/meditation specialist, and a mental health professional. Marcia Shloush, Fundraising VP and her co-chairs, Mary Evars-Goan and Nancy Britcher updated the attendees with the inroads that Hadassah is making in this area, including recent studies and programs. Marcia also updated everyone on the progress of the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower and encouraged all to join Hadassah in Israel in October 2012. Over $2,200 was raised for the Tower at this event. In addition to the money raised, several people became Associates and Life Members.

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Main Line/Delaware County Group Celebrates Centennial
Hadassah of Greater Philadelphia

With Jane Stark are (from left) Oranit Dror-Caplan, Program Director for the Sam Azeez Museum, and Main Line/Delaware County Program Chairs Shirley Chalick and Gladys Shubin.

The Main Line/Delaware County Group of Hadassah of Greater Philadelphia hosted Jane Stark, Executive Director of the Sam Azeez Museum of Woodbine Heritage, at their meeting commemorating Hadassah’s 100th anniversary last month. The luncheon, held at Adath Israel Synagogue in Merion Station, PA, focused on Hadassah’s Centennial as it relates to the great wave of immigration that brought about the development of the town of Woodbine by Russian Jewish immigrants. Stark, (second from left) spoke about the celebration of the life of Ruth Gruber, the centenarian rescuer, photojournalist and author. The two had met in Israel in 1989 and became close friends, sharing in life cycle events and personal achievements for more than two decades. Stark was asked to present an informal lecture on Gruber’s life and times. Gruber celebrated her 100th birthday in October of this year.

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NJ Senator Honored with Myrtle Wreath Award
Northern New Jersey Region

(l to) Sofia Parish of Cranford, Co-Chair; Senator Robert Menendez; Susan Finkle of Hackensack, Co-Chair; Karen Goldman of Montclair, President of the Northern New Jersey Region of Hadassah.

Senator Robert Menendez ((D-NJ) joined 34,000 men and boys who support the work of Hadassah in becoming an Associate at a recent awards event sponsored by the Northern New Jersey Region of Hadassah. At this time he also received the Myrtle Wreath Award. In his acceptance speech, the Senator underscored the strategic importance to the United States to continue its support of Israel, the only real democracy in the Middle East.

The annual event took place at the Glenpointe Marriott in Teaneck, NJ where 280 Hadassah members and friends came to honor Senator Menendez and the Region "Gems", women who have made an outstanding contribution to one of the 27 chapters in the Northern New Jersey Region of Hadassah.

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The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks Program
Hadassah of Greater Baltimore

The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks program held by Hadassah of Greater Baltimore on December 8, 2011 provided a human face to the research through Mrs. Lacks' family as well as the important questions about bioethics, how we conduct research and who benefits from scientific discoveries. Over 300 participants attended the Legacy of Henrietta Lacks program. The National best-selling book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is a true story about the origins of "HeLa" cells, discovered in Baltimore in the 1950's and heavily utilized in research ever since.

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“Israel’s Right to Exist” Discussed at Philly’s Education Day
Hadassah of Greater Philadelphia
Beth Admin

Hadassah of Greater Philadelphia's Education Day: (l to r) Roz Holberg, President; Judy Shereck, National Board Member; Seth Finkelstein, National Past President of Young Judaea; Richard Schifter, former Ambassador to the UN; Elaine Maniloff, Event Co-Chair; Cliff Goldstein, America Israel Chamber of Commerce; Shelli Keeny, Event Co-Chair

Over 250 people attended Hadassah of Greater Philadelphia's annual Education Day on Tuesday, November 15, 2012. The topic, Israel's Right to Exist…but What If? examined the global campaign to delegitimize Israel politically, economically, on college campuses and through the United Nations. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement was discussed in relationship to Israel's growing isolation in the world arena. In addition, the audience learned ways that they are able to advocate on behalf of Israel. Guest speakers included former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Schifter, who served as the keynote speaker; Cliff Goldstein, President of AMIDEX Funds, Inc. and Member of the Board of the America Israel Chamber of Commerce; Seth Finkelstein, senior at the University of Maryland and Past National President of Young Judaea; and Judy Shereck, National Board Member and National Hadassah Zionist Affairs Chair.

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Amazing Centennial Scavenger Search
Knoxville Chapter of Hadassah

Team Henrietta won Knoxville's Centennial Scavenger Search: Jill and Andrew Weinstein (he is an associate), Laura Floyd, and Marian Jay (seated).

On a cold, dark night in November Traveling Henrietta joined members, families and friends of the Knoxville Chapter of Hadassah in their amazing Centennial Scavenger Search, a program that has encouraged community participation. Teams Henrietta, Szold, and Zionist received a top secret packet, loaded up into their cars, and were set off to accomplish as many of the tasks as the 60 minute time would allow. They flew out from the AJCC parking lot and hit the streets in full force, only to return an hour later, out of breath and with their spoils in tow. Greeting the teams were the three honorable judges of the evening. Each thoroughly questioned the teams and examined the things they brought back, until they came to an agreement on the evening's winners.

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Associates Hear Congressman Speak
Hadassah North Shore Associates

At their annual breakfast Hadassah North Shore Associates partnered with Congregation Beth Shalom’s Men’s Club in Northbrook, Illinois to hear guest speaker, Congressman Robert Dold, who recently returned from Israel. The topic “A Leader in Congress on the U.S./Israel Relationship” provided for a lively discussion on the current situation in the Middle East.

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Diamond Centennial Celebration
Westport Chapter of Hadassah

The Westport Chapter of Hadassah (CT) celebrated Hadassah's 100th Anniversary at its Diamond Centennial Celebration on November 12, 2011. The event also was a tribute to the Chapter's past and current presidents and the rich heritage of Hadassah. Everyone enjoyed the food, auction and entertainment that were provided and all proceeds went to benefit Hadassah Medical Organization. In addition, participants were asked to bring linens, towels and toiletries for the emergency shelters of Homes With Hope, a non-profit agency, which responds to the tragedy of homelessness.

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Handmade Blankets Delivered with Love
Bat Shalom Hadassah Chapter - Jackson NJ

Members of the Bat Shalom Hadassah Chapter in Jackson NJ have partnered with the Monroe Township Chapter of Project Linus in making blankets for premature newborns. About 12-15 blankets are donated each month to two local hospitals.

Project Linus is a nationwide program, named after the Peanuts character, Linus, who always holds onto his security blanket for comfort. The Bat Shalom Chapter has a community action committee that is always looking for ways to help others. Elaine Blatt, a member of Bat Shalom, thought that this would be a good collaboration and helped organize the project. She explained how Hadassah is “committed to the ideal of repairing the world and the appreciation we get from the nurses when we bring the blankets is just one of those heartwarming joys that we get when we do this.”

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Health Expo Presented in Partnership
Hadassah Southern New Jersey Region

Recently Hadassah Southern New Jersey Region partnered with the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County to present a Breast Cancer Education and Awareness Expo. A distinguished panel of experts discussed new innovations in technology, research and medicine to help eradicate breast cancer. US Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was supposed to be the keynote speaker but at the last minute she could not attend. However, she made a video addressing her views on breast cancer, which was very well received. Co-sponsors of the event were Monmouth Medical Center and Saint Barnabas Health Care System. Even though the weather was bad about 100-150 people attended the event and appreciated the information that was presented.

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Send us news from your region, chapter or group!

Each month we will bring you news of the events and programs of the local chapters and groups throughout the country. Share your success stories and facts in the areas of fundraising, education, membership and advocacy and help spark new ideas for others. Be sure to identify participants when you send photos. For more information contact Bobbi Kraft bkraft@hadassah.org.

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