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Hadassah is in my DNA

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Randy Heidenfelder

Hadassah is the thread running throughout my life. It is not a moment, but a constant and foundation. My mother, then Leatrice Mandel, met my dad, Herbert Ennis, at a Hadassah dance in Brooklyn, New York in 1947.

I grew up with Tobay Hadassah on Long Island, stuffing envelopes for Hadassah mailings and working at the annual rummage sales with my mother and grandmother, Doris Mandel.

When I was twelve, my dad was transferred to the small town of Muskegan, Michigan. The move, away from the rest of the family, from the big city, from a lively and large Jewish community, was traumatic. I was one of three Jewish kids in the school. But, Hadassah was there, and mom became president of the chapter. Three years later, Dad was transferred again, this time to the Chicago suburbs.

Once again, Hadassah was there to provide connections and continuity. Mom became president of the Highland Park group, and one of the charter members of the North Shore Chapter. I loved hanging out with Moms Hadassah friends, and I am still friends with them forty years later.

For my college graduation gift, I didn

After law school and my husband, Toms, service in the Air Force, we moved back to the Chicago suburbs. To make new friends, I jumped right back into Hadassah, holding a variety of positions in the Henrietta Szold group, then several portfolios on the chapter board, and the Great Plains Region Board. I now wear a variety of Hadassah hats: group bulletin editor and Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) chair, chapter Fundraising Vice President, and region Fundraising Coordinator.

Hadassah binds us together as a family. We are now a four-generation Hadassah family, with my young cousins in Israel being the fourth. My sister, Meryl Ennis, is a life member. My dad and husband are associate keepers. Mom and I attended many Hadassah conventions together. With my parents and sister, we went to Israel for the 50th Anniversary Celebration. The whole family went for the dedication of the Center for Emergency Medicine, and Mom and I went for Israels 60th anniversary. Mom and I are planning to attend the Centennial Convention October 2012.

Skills and experiences flow between my law practice and my Hadassah portfolios. Writing, organizational and computer skills developed at work help with Hadassahs mission. Interpersonal relationships and public speaking with Hadassah helps me grow as a person.

Hadassah lets me make a difference in the world. Raising money for medical care and research with HMO, giving children a home and hope with Youth Aliyah, and giving students the tools to build a better future for themselves and Israel with Hadassah College Jerusalem matter greatly. As a young bride, it was difficult to donate $100 in a year. As Tom and I became more successful in our careers, we were able to grow our giving level- from major gifts, to Founder, to Circle of Founders to Society of Major Donors. A few years ago, we were thrilled to be able to set up an endowment scholarship for computer science students with Hadassah College Jerusalem.

But nothing can match the caring and devotion of my Hadassah friends. When my dad died in August a few months ago, my Hadassah girlfriends went to Moms house to set everything up while we were at the funeral. They arranged everything. We did not have to lift a finger. In October, when my husband had open-heart surgery, we were overwhelmed with calls, cards, good wishes and prayers from our Hadassah family. Their support got us through a very difficult time this year.

Hadassah is woven deeply into the tapestry of my life.

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