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The History of our Chapter

As the second oldest chapter of Hadassah, the Boston Chapter has a rich history that dates back to 1913 when we were first established by Henrietta Szold. In 1915, the Boston Chapter participated in a national Zionist convention held in Boston that drew 20,000 delegates and featured Henrietta Szold as a keynote speaker. In 1916, Mignon Rubinowitz, one of the Chapter's earliest presidents and active national board member, sponsored a communitywide Hadassah Education Day to promote Zionism.

Our remarkable history includes many Hadassah "firsts" including the following:

In 1927, the Boston Chapter gathered for Hadassah's first ever Donor Luncheon with six hundred women in attendance. So remarkable was this event that it was adopted as a regular annual fundraiser by chapters throughout the country. Donor Luncheons continued to grow in Boston over the next seventy-five years. In 1946, the Boston Chapter held its Donor Luncheon simultaneously in three hotels and in 1949, the Boston Chapter celebrated Israel's first birthday with a two-day Donor Luncheon. President Kennedy joined Hadassah's donor luncheon through a live broadcast in 1963 and in 1972, the Boston Chapter marked Hadassah's Sixtieth Anniversary with over 8,500 members in its ranks.


In the 1920s, thirty sewing circles in Boston joined three hundred and eighty sewing circles nationwide to sew linens, blankets, and clothing for an orphan committee that cared for 3,000 orphans in Palestine and the Hadassah Medical Organization. In 1924-25, the Boston Chapter sewed, packed, and shipped 910 garments, 60 erector sets, 68 blankets, 557 hospital linens, 27 yards of cotton cloth, and a collection of toiletries.

The Boston Chapter was the first chapter to conceive of life membership and grew to 8,500 members in the 1970s. The Boston Chapter is also noted for first initiating associate membership for men.  

The first Nurses Council in the country was founded in 1990 by Nancy Falchuk, past president of the Boston Chapter and HWZOA Development Coordinator. The Nurses Council has grown to include 30 Nurses Councils with over 2,800 members throughout the country.

The Bargain Spot was purchased in 1953 and in its earliest years was run by over 300 volunteers annually. One of our more illustrious customers was Barbra Streisand, who donated a "white coat" that was the talk of the town!


Hadassah was honored with proclamations and commendations over the past fifty years from Governors Dukakis,  King,  Weld, Volpe, and Herter; Senator Edward Kennedy, Theodore Mann from the City of Newton, and Mayor White of the City of Boston. Governor Francis E. Sargent signed a proclamation in June, 1972 making the month of June "Hadassah Month" in commemoration of Hadassah's Sixtieth Anniversary.

Hadassah Way, a street in downtown Boston off Boylston St., was inaugurated on Sept. 23rd 1955 during Hadassah Week by Mayor John B. Hynes.

The Past Presidents of the Boston Chapter

100 Years of Outstanding Leadership

Mrs. Louis Jacobowitz 1913

Mrs. Ethel H. Grossman 1914

Mrs. Julius Lasker 1915

Mrs. Mignon Rubenowitz 1916-1919

Mrs. David Lourie 1920

Mrs. Samuel Myers 1921-1923

Annie Lourie 1924-1928

Mildred Goldberg 1929-1931

Sarah Ansell 1932-1933

Minnie Epstein 1934-1936

Mildred Goldberg 1937-1939

Edith G. Michaels 1940-1942

Esther L. Schneider 1942-1945

Dorothy Spector 1945-1948

Romayne Goldberg 1948-1951

Freda Schlesinger . 1951-1953

Rose Feinberg 1953-1956

Marian Bond 1956-1959

Betty Canner 1959-1962

Beatrice Garber 1962-1963


Gisela Wyzanski 1963-1964

Ruth Woolf 1964-1966

Millie Zanditon 1966-1967

Evelyn Naigles 1967-1969

Rae Ginsburg 1969-1972

Cynthia Burstein 1972-1974

Dolly Silverstein 1974-1976

Beatrice Soltz 1976-1979

Florence Richman 1979-1982

Sarabeth Lukin 1982-1985

Nancy Falchuk 1985-1987

Rachel Albert 1987-1990

Maxine Wolf 1990-1993

Bernice Heinstein 1993-1994

Sara Aronson 1994-1997

Suzanne Offit 1997-2000

Helaine Ohayon 2000-2003

Valerie Lowenstein 2003-2006

Mady Donoff 2006-2009

Robin M Shuman 2009-2012




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