Was it even possible that at the "ripe old" age of 26, I was about to be installed as President of my Gladys Zales Hadassah Group? Did I have the requisite experience and skills yet?
After less than a year of affiliation with Hadassah, one thing was certain. I had no doubt about the level of devotion I felt to my new found cause and its incredible accomplishments.
And, despite feeling a bit overwhelmed about taking on the responsibility of the presidency so soon in my career, the overriding emotions I was experiencing on the eve of installation were excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to further Hadassah's extraordinary work.
Only one concern remained and it continued to gnaw at me. I was the new mother of a six-month-old daughter, our first child, and the center of my life. How could I possibly have enough time and energy to take care of both her and our chapter?
Taking possession of all our voluminous records and Hadassah materials didn't do too much to allay my worries about how I was going to balance all this and do an excellent job for all who were counting on me---the small angel in her crib upstairs, relying on me for her most basic needs and more, and the thousands of patients of Hadassah, anonymous and so much further way, yet still depending on me not to let them down. As she cheerfully helped me transfer box upon box of Hadassah paperwork from her car trunk to mine, and watching the look of dismay crossing my increasingly furrowed brow, my much more experienced predecessor, Debby Goldberg, calmly assured me it could--and would-- all get done. Equally importantly, she explained to me that I could actually involve my baby daughter in this endeavor in a very meaningful way.
"The silver spoon!" she exclaimed.
I then learned that by making Alissa a child life member, she would be presented with a beautiful silver spoon, in lieu of a life membership pin. What better occasion than my installation?! Alissa would not only be included in this amazingly special moment, but perhaps this public gift would inspire other new moms in our group to do the same, cementing the bond with the next generations.
I still remember with a smile in my heart, the moment when Debby pinned me with my presidents pin and simultaneously handed Alissa, clothed in lavender and her first patent leather Mary Janes, her tiny silver spoon--which she promptly proceeded to put right into her mouth! The room erupted in glee at this sight and my infant daughter and I were both catapulted on our way to a lifelong Hadassah commitment. Since my mother in law, Alice Rogol, for whom Alissa had been, named was also a devotee and life member of Hadassah, this became a full circle of family connection. Many more Hadassah milestones have graced my life over the next quarter century plus. Becoming an advisor myself, numerous board positions, yet another stint at the presidency in the past decade, education work at the CT Region level, becoming a Centennial Founder and a visit to Ein Kerem to see the fruits of our labor first-hand--many, many moments of fulfillment and pride.
But none can quite compare to that innocent moment of years ago where I took the initial plunge, motivated by a little silver spoon--a spoon that to my baby daughter spoke of her next serving of applesauce and to me and my colleagues symbolized the future of Hadassah.