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Coffee Talk 10-10-11

The opening meeting of Coffee Talk took place at Marianne Mandel-Brown's home in Montgomery on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.  Michael Bassin, the 25-year-old son of Hadassah member Gayna Bassin, was guest speaker.  He talked about his experiences as a university student in Egypt and Sharjah, one of the United Arab Emirates.

Approximately 25 women enjoyed light refreshments in the kitchen, then settled into the living room.  Michael Bassin made a dramatic entrance wearing a long white kandura and ghutrah head covering, the traditional dress of men in the United Arab Emirates.  He explained that these clothes were a gift to him from friends he made while attending the American University of Sharjah.  When he was an undergraduate at the George Washington University, he spent one semester in Sharjah and a summer session at the American University of Cairo.  As an openly Jewish American, he made many friends but also experienced some dangerous situations.  He also traveled to several other Middle Eastern countries, including Lebanon, Syria, Dubai, Oman and India.  After graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations, he immigrated to Israel and served two years as an Arabic translator and sniper in the Kfir Brigade of the Israel Defense Forces.  He is currently writing a book about his experiences in the Arab world.

Tobe Snow, Coffee Talk Chair and Programming Vice President of Cincinnati Chapter, presented Michael with a Hadassah Certificate and gave a beautiful Hadassah pin to Marianne Mandel-Brown to thank her for hosting tonight's Coffee Talk.  She spoke about Hadassah's two hospitals in Jerusalem and how Hadassah works for peace in the Middle East by providing medical care, education and other services to people of all religions and backgrounds.  She also spoke about the special $100 lifetime membership offer, in effect until Dec. 31st, in honor of Hadassah's 100th anniversary.
 Michael bassin spoke about his experiences in the arab world.
Michael Bassin spoke about his experiences in the Arab world.
 Michael holding a hezbollah t-shirt as freda weiner zipkin looks on.
Michael holding a Hezbollah T-shirt, as Freda Weiner Zipkin (his friend Guy's mother), and Sharon Casper, Cincinnati Chapter Co-President, look on.
Guy, an Israeli citizen, was planning to visit Michael in Sharjah but changed his mind at the last minute.
 The hezbollah t-shirt that michael bought in lebanon.
Michael bought this T-shirt at a Hezbollah demonstration in Lebanon
shortly after the second Lebanon War with Israel.
 Tobe snow, coffee talk chair and programming vice president, gives michael a hadassah certificate after his talk.
Tobe Snow, Coffee Talk chair and Programming Vice
President, gives Michael a Hadassah Certificate after his talk.
 Michael holds the certificate from tobe snow.
Everyone applauds as Michael receives a Hadassah Certificate from Tobe Snow.
 Marianne mandel-brown and tobe snow.
Tobe Snow gives a special Hadassah pin to Marianne Mandel-Brown to thank her for hosting Coffee Talk.
 Carol neuman, michael bassin and sandy spitz.
Michael Bassin holds a cardboard cutout of Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah, with Carol Neuman (left) and Sandy Spitz (right), two of his former teachers at Yavneh Day School.
 Michelle neuman (carol's daughter), pam meyer and bobbi levin.
Michelle Neuman (Carol Neuman's daughter), Pam Meyer and Bobbi Levin.
 Michael bassin and jamie dalin.
Michael Bassin and Jamie Dalin.

Photography by Gayna Bassin.

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