Taken from 5 different presentations to the Associates
at National Convention in Nashville
Let's travel back to the Mid-Winter Hadassah National Board meetings held in February 1966.
Under the heading of Special Committee report on "New Categories for Affiliation," Mrs. Max Schenk (Faye) reported on requests that had been addressed to the National Board for some form of specific affiliation for men with the work of Hadassah.
The committee settled on granting some form of honorary or associate life affiliation for men at a one-time fee of $150 acknowledging, in the words of one committee member, that an accord of some kind with "our men friends and relatives would produce good will, good friendship, and good fundraising." The words "NOT membership," appear in parentheses. Then Hadassah president, Charlotte Jacobson said, "The primary purpose of the plan is to harness the sincere desire on the part of thousands of men to support our program in a definitive way and to deepen their interest in the work by associating it with an endowment fund that insures the future."
Two weeks later there were already ten men signed up for this yet unnamed affiliate category. The name would be the first item on the agenda for the meeting about the Men's Association. A week later (March 3, 1966) the National Board approved the name "Hadassah Associates" and Mrs. Carl Spector (Dorothy) was appointed as the first Associates chair.
Hadassah husbands were developing a new regard for their wives' work. A letter written by one such husband in 1968 and circulated to the Associates would seem to bear this out and reads in part, "I want to relate my experiences, as a Hadassah husband, at the recent Hadassah Convention in Miami Beach. I was awed and electrified, and deeply inspired by Mrs. Jacobson and the other Hadassah leaders. They could be giants in industry for personal gain, but instead, they are truly devoting their lives to a cause much more rewarding than monetary gain. The profound thoughts they expounded, their deep, logical thing, and their executive ability was a revelation and an experience. To me this was not a Hadassah Convention - it was a Hadassah Revelation!"
Hadassah husbands saw their wives from a new aspect and wanted to support and take part in their vital work.
The Associates' targeted fundraising project changed from the Trauma Clinic to the Intensive Coronary Care Unit. The project chair recommended a more comprehensive role for men including:
- More visibility at conventions
- Consideration of permitting men to serve as Associate Chairmen in their local areas
- The appointment of a male counterpart to the National Chair
Hadassah was listening. They noted that doctors wanted a closer relationship with Hadassah's medical work, lawyers and accountants wished to be involved in the Wills and Bequests program and, in California, many men wished to identify with the camping program.
The committee heard a report that Associates wanted to do more work, have a drive to increase their numbers, and fundraise.
The Hadassah Associates Chair promised to speak with the National Fund Raising Committee, but she pointed out difficulties that might arise if the men wanted autonomy.
The Associates endowment was redirected to Cardiac Rehabilitation. And, for the first time, Associates were encouraged to fundraise for a project. Although many Associates had given gifts they had never been formally asked to do so. But, there was a caveat. Associates were directed not to compete with Hadassah and not to appeal to a Hadassah audience.
And changes continued to come. After studying various Associate programs, a Hadassah committee recommended that Associates could establish a loose structure, with officers in areas where feasible. They recommended encouraging Associates to participate in fund-raising for a specific piece of equipment.
In the last years of the 1970's, the thorny issues of autonomy, leadership and decision- making were not the focus of the Hadassah Committee. They discussed whether Associates should receive the Hadassah Magazine and paperweights.
Oh well! It is O.K. The next decades held promise of autonomy.
The decade of the 80's was an extraordinary decade for the Associates, one in which they proved themselves to be true Champions of Hadassah. Think of this: in two short years their numbers were increased by 5,000! In 1982 Isadore Engle, a lawyer from the Great Lakes Region, became the 15,000th Associate, and only two years later in 1984, Samuel B. Isenberg of Elgin, IL became the 20,000th Associate! Remarkable! And as if that wasn't enough, in that same decade, in another two year span the Associates raised the magnificent sum of $1M to equip and maintain the Cardiac Surgical Suite at Ein Kerem. From the time the commitment to raise the funds was made in 1983 to the dedication of that surgical suite in 1985 they made their goal, in two years! Amazing! Please note that these two campaigns, one to increase numbers, and the other to raise funds, were occurring simultaneously in 1984.
And there's more in the 80's. Another significant event of the decade was the first heart transplant in Israel, performed by HMO surgeons, presumably in that very cardiac surgical suite which the Associates had funded. These are accomplishments of which all the men and women of Hadassah can be proud, and which have been the foundation of much Hadassah activity ever since. Not too shabby for the-then twenty-somethings Associates! What Champions!
In October of 1994, Hadassah Associates Chair Linda Minkes presented a proposal to the National Board. She moved that: "a National Committee of Hadassah Associates is created with by-laws, a chairman and co-chairman for the purpose of increasing the number of Hadassah Associates and support through the organization of Hadassah Associates groups and activities"
The minutes of that meeting indicate that the purpose for the proposal was twofold: to recognize, in an official way, the importance of the Hadassah Associates and to enable and encourage the Associates to take an active role in the enrollment of new Associates; fundraise for National Associates' projects; and plan activities for fundraising and/or social purposes.
The motion was accepted and Alvin Friedman was elected its first "leader." It was also noted that the National Associates' committee would not be autonomous, but function under the aegis of the department.
By 1995 the National Committee of Hadassah Associates had its first national conference in Jerusalem and David Burman was elected its first President. Nationally, Associates membership now numbered 26,000.
In 1997, at the opening session of the Hadassah National Convention, David Burman, the President of the National Committee of Hadassah Associates, was invited to sit on the dais and was formally introduced to those in attendance. This was a Hadassah first, and David stated that "this was major recognition for the NCHA and acknowledgement of its role and importance."
The Associates have stepped rapidly into the new millennium with great achievements. In 2000, you, the Associates, launched a campaign to raise a million dollars for the Goldyne Savad Institute for Gene Therapy and you achieved this goal!
You raised funds for the successful campaign to build the Center for Emergency Medicine. You continue to raise funds for ongoing scholarships at Hadassah College Jerusalem. Your newest campaign is to fund the fitness center at the new Young Judaean Youth Hostel and we know this will happen.
The Associates in this decade have stepped into their very own Keepers of the Gate program. The first 100 Associate Keepers have stepped forward and we are looking for the next 100 in the coming year.
Your excellent fundraising would be enough, dayenu, but the Associates have expanded their programming and membership base as well. Associates now number 29,000 strong! You have added variety and spice to your programming activities such as being bartenders at Hadassah Chapter affairs, having motorcycle rallies, golf tournaments, sponsoring mediscope events, theater parties and barbecues.
There is an Associates track at Convention and outstanding Associates of the year are honored. The Associates participated in the CEM Mission to Israel. The visibility and status of Associates is growing.
In the last year the Associates developed, with the Department of Women's Health and Advocacy, and with the Hadassah-Hebrew University Braun School of Public Health, a new family health initiative called EVERY STEP COUNTS. This program enables us to conduct local programs on health issues of major concern to men and their families today.
The Associates are transitioning "The Advisor" newsletter to electronic delivery which saves our resources.
We created a new Associates Website as part of the upgrading and increasing of websites throughout all units in Hadassah.
The best part of this decade is the outstanding leadership, the Presidents of the Associates Committee:
David Burman, 1995 to 2001,
Stephen Parkoff, 2001 to 2005
James Smith, 2005 to 2007
Howard Kaplan, 2007 to 2009
Joel Marks 2009 to 2011
Mark Roth 2011 and currently president