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Message from the President
Ways we made an impact
Our installation of region officers was conducted on November 17, 2013 by National Vice President and Executive Division Coordinator, Shelley Sherman. This article is an excerpt from the remarks I made to the Board of Directors and region and chapter members in attendance.
In the previous day’s parsha, Vayishlach, we read that Jacob struggled with a man in his dreams before meeting his brother Esau. There are various interpretations to this struggle, but one is that Jacob struggled with himself and in so doing left behind his old ways of deceit and running away and embraced a new self, that of Israel and of dealing with G-d and people and not avoiding or manipulating them.
In Hadassah we struggle with challenges that thankfully do not have us running away or lying to each other. Our struggles concern issues pertaining to membership, fundraising and programming. How can we attract young members, how can we encourage our current members to stay involved and how can we do the work we wish to do so that Hadassah will remain strong, viable, and relevant to our members, our community and the world?
As the theme of this installation is Choose Your Impact, I’d like to share some of the ways we have made an impact, collectively, over the past year and a half. On a region level, we have heard from eloquent Hadassah doctors, Dr. Joshua Schroeder and Dr. Roy Eldor who spoke about their work at Hadassah in orthopedics and diabetes, respectively. These two physicians spoke at our Big Gifts events in 2012 and 2013 and we raised nearly $100,000 for Hadassah Medical Organization at these two events, alone. Last year, at Myrtle Wreath, in addition to honoring our beloved Yvette Tekel, past Region President, current Region Big Gifts Co-Chair and National Board Member, we also heard from another Hadassah doctor, Dr. Osnat Levtzion-Korach, Director of Hadassah Mt. Scopus. Dr. Levtzion-Korach shared stories about the healing done at Mt Scopus which is geographically close to many Arab villages and therefore, a local hospital for Arabs as well as Jews. Hadassah does not distinguish between Jew and Muslim, Israeli and Palestinian or anyone else for that matter. It is why we are considered a bridge to peace and it is why we were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. It is why two cancer patients at Hadassah, an Israeli IDF officer and an Arab guide from Gaza can become friends. As Dr. Levtzion-Korach has said, and I’m paraphrasing, “in knowing one another, we don’t hate.”
Our region also celebrated Jewish Women Making an Impact this past spring at our Education Day in April. At that time we heard Yehudit Barsky, Middle East Analyst of the American Jewish Committee, Mada Lieberman, who had worked with Senator Lautenberg (z”l) and Governor Corzine and we listened to Lori Price Abrams whose work with the government and community relations gave us insight into politics and community engagement. We also heard from Dr. Alice J. Cohen, the Director of the Division of the Hematology and Oncology Department at Beth Israel Hospital in Newark and we were entertained by Carol Lempert who shared her visual interpretation of a Holocaust story in a one woman skit entitled, After Anne Frank. Not to be guilty of omission, Montclair chapter member and musician, Joan Streit, also led us in the anthems that day.
On a chapter level, we have played games such as Jewish Jeopardy, we’ve enjoyed comedy shows and other plays, we’ve had study groups and book groups and we’ve listened to rabbis, politicians and educators. In these programs and events we have learned more about each other, our world and Hadassah and we have done work that supports our organization both financially and structurally. Going forward, we will continue to strive to make our impact in Hadassah and in our communities. Earlier you heard announcements for One Billion Rising and efforts to stop Human Trafficking as well as our Dec. 12 event in Bergen County to attract young women and our Snowbird Event on January 30 to stay connected with our Florida members. In keeping with Hadassah’s mission, vision and values, we support and form partnerships with other community organizations that promote our values of empowering women and providing outstanding medical care and education for all people. We hope our work with the Young Women of Bergen County will lead to a new group of young women involved in Hadassah and furthermore, we hope we can replicate our efforts with these young women in other northern NJ counties.
A few of our Northern NJ Region chapters have already achieved their membership and fundraising goals and I know some of you are close to that point. Many of you have interesting programs planned for 2014 and these programs are designed to attract and educate our members, staying true to our values of promoting a Jewish community, allowing for personal growth and encouraging social responsibility. I am inspired and amazed by all of you and I applaud the work you do to make an impact in Hadassah. I look forward to celebrating your successes on December 8 at our Myrtle Wreath Brunch and on January 12 when we present our Chapter Awards.