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I Cannot Believe that I am a Hadassah Chapter Co-President

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Virginia Lebowitz

As a Jewish family living in a small town during the 1940s and 1950s, the synagogue was a central part of our lives. And, my mother felt a deep commitment to the Sisterhood and Hadassah. She never had a large vocabulary, never spoke eloquently, but she felt great pride at being present at each meeting and assisting with the preparations of the refreshments following each meeting.

Later in life, I married a factory worker and lived in the "ghetto" of the Lower East Side. My mother made me a Life Member of Hadassah, but I was busy with a baby and a disabled mother-in-law, and I was living in a neighborhood in which the majority looked aghast at Hadassah (they belonged to other Jewish organizations AMIT or ORT).

Fast-forward 30 years: my husband passed, and I attended occasional Bible Study group sessions held by my Chapter. Members read the Bible line by line, and I found their commentaries very interesting.

One of the members recognized me, as our sons had been in the same school homeroom for six years, and other members were friendly also. Soon I was asked to become a co-president of the Chapter, as one of three co-presidents wanted to step-down.

I wondered what I had to offer, and how well these women knew me, but I was considering retirement from my job and I had more time than I did previously. I believed in and wanted to continue the medical research of HMO and the work of Youth Aliyah; I had faith that these women, too, believed in the work of Hadassah and would help me succeed.

I have been co-president of my Chapter for the past six years, attended several National Conventions, am a Keeper and Founder, and for the past two years have also been the editor of the Chapter newsletter.


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