Hadassah mourns the passing of Charlotte R. Bloomberg, an inspiration to the entire Zionist movement, who died Sunday, June 19, in Medford, Mass. She was 102. In addition to having the Mother and Child Center at Hadassah Ein Kerem named for her, Mrs. Bloomberg was the oldest living alumna of Hadassah’s premier youth program, Young Judaea, as well as a generous supporter of it.
“The Jewish people, Israel and Hadassah have lost a truly inspirational figure, a role model and a friend,” said Hadassah National President Nancy Falchuk. “We are tremendously sad at her passing but also incredibly grateful for the legacy she left us and the rich, full life she shared with us. Our hearts go out to her son, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and her daughter, Marjorie Tiven.”
Mrs. Bloomberg was associated with Hadassah almost her entire life, starting with the program now called Young Judaea, in her teenage years, to eventually endowing a scholarship fund there, as well as providing scholarship money to Camp Tel Yehudah, Hadassah's leadership camp. She was also once president of the Medford Hadassah chapter.
At the dedication in 2003 of the Mother and Child Center in her name and in honor of her 95th birthday, Mayor Bloomberg quipped, “I don't know if there is a more sublime mitzvah than a Jewish son taking his mother and sister to Israel,” glancing over at them. “Hadassah is a greater mitzvah,” the Mayor added seriously. “Hadassah is the gold standard of health care, a place that practices world class medicine and produces exceptional scholarship; a place that treats more than one million people a year; a place where every one of them is treated as a person.”
“Well, the real mitzvah was our opportunity to know Mrs. Bloomberg,” Falchuk said. “In her devotion to her family and to Israel, Charlotte Bloomberg represented the finest Hadassah tradition. She will be missed, but her name lives on in the center that bears it.”
Twenty years earlier, Michael Bloomberg endowed the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Professorship in the Humanities in her honor at his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and subsequently a children’s center scheduled to open there in 2012. She was once co-president of her synagogue, Temple Shalom in Medford, which is also home to the William and Charlotte Bloomberg Jewish Community Center.
Adds Judy Swartz, a National Hadassah Board Member, chair of its Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower campaign and a friend of Mrs. Bloomberg’s, “Charlotte Bloomberg was a magnificent example of leadership. Although small in physical stature, she was a giant in every other sense, an inspiration to others, and a true leader. No job was too big nor too small. ‘You help wherever it was needed,’ she would say. Her mother nurtured this work ethic in Charlotte when she was a young woman. ‘You do it because it is the right thing to do and you are capable of the work,’ Charlotte said. Charlotte carried this work ethic throughout her life and provided leadership for her synagogue and other organizations, as well,” Swartz said. “We will miss this wonderful, caring woman.”
In 2003, Mayor Bloomberg added, “Hadassah is almost as old as my mother. She grew up with Hadassah and has always had a special connection with Israel and with Hadassah. A long-time active and dedicated Hadassah member, she is thrilled that she has the chance to be part of something that makes this world better.”
“But it is we who were thrilled to have shared in HER life,” Falchuk said. “Hadassah mourns Charlotte Bloomberg today, a true Zionist, but we know that after we, too, are gone, our descendants will know her name and benefit from its blessings. May her memory be for a blessing and may her wonderful family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.”
Donations in Charlotte Bloomberg’s memory may be sent to Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, at Hadassah House, 50 West 58th Street, New York, NY 10019.