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Arlene Dressler

I grew up in Colchester, Connecticut in a warm Jewish community and with a family life of orthodox Jewish values. Hadassah was a natural part of my life that I just took for granted.

It was routine for me to save my quarters as a child and fill in the Children's Youth Aliyah Savings Books and add my other coins to the blue JNF boxes.

But two experiences in my life transformed my connection into a deeper and more meaningful tie to Hadassah and made me realize just how important Hadassah and its values are to me.

My family owned a kosher resort hotel in Colchester, which was a "mini Catskills" years ago. It was Levy's Grand View Hotel. All of the Connecticut Region's Spring Conferences were held there - as were all of the Young Judaea Conventions.

When I was 16 years old and attending a Young Judea Convention at my family's hotel, I learned that very weekend that a deal had been made for my family to sell the hotel. I couldn't believe it and I was just devastated. I thought my life was over! Looking back now, that's when I realized just how deep and strong was my connection to Hadassah and my pride in my family's part in supporting it.

The other transforming experience makes me smile and cry whenever I see it in my mind's eye. My Bubbie, whom I adored, presented me with my life membership - and with the smile and pride on her face, she knew she was passing on her passion for Hadassah to the next generation. And years later, my mother made my daughter a life member, making our family the first 4 generation life member family in our chapter.

These feelings have compelled me to be an active member of Hadassah for over 40 years. Hadassah lives in me always, in my daily activities, in my mind and my heart.

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