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GREATER SALT LAKE CHAPTER OF HADASSAH
More than sixty years ago, on February 24, 1943, fifty-five Jewish women gathered at The Covenant House to organize the Salt Lake City Chapter of Hadassah. Under the dedicated leadership of Hattie Feldman, the formation of the Chapter took place on National Hadassah's thirty-first anniversary day. Soon there were 110 Charter members, including a group of women living in Ogden; twenty-eight members filled the committee chairmanships. Meetings began with an invocation, the salute to the flag and singing of The Star Spangled Banner. After adjourning the meetings everyone joined in the singing of Hatikvah. The first contributions collected by the Chapter were distributed to the Jewish National Fund, Youth Aliyah emergency fund, and there was a Passover donation sent to the Hadassah Medical Organization.
In March of 1945, Hadassah's National President, Mrs. Moses Epstein, visited Salt Lake City and spoke to the Chapter's members and friends at the Hotel Utah. During this first decade, some of the most exciting and successful fundraisers were car raffles. They were also said to be the extraordinary as members sold raffle tickets on Main Street to passersby.
In 1959 the Chapter's first publication, Hadassah Highlights, presented local news as well as information taken from National's newsletter concerning Youth Aliyah's celebration of its Silver (25th) Anniversary. The report emphasized the miracles performed by Hadassah since its inception, including fantastic medical research coming out of Hadassah Hospital and the rescue and fostering of 90,000 children from 72 countries. The upcoming World Conference of Youth Aliyah to be held in Israel was announced, with Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt agreeing to attend. Utah Governor, George D. Clyde, designated March 25, 1962, as "Child's Day for Youth Aliyah".
In 1967 Salt Lake Hadassah held an emergency meeting in support of Israel. Members responded willingly. They brought with them many hundreds of dollars and displayed an outpouring of tzedaka that made this one of the most exciting highlights ever witnessed in the Salt Lake Jewish community.
In 1979, after months of planning and vigilant anticipation, a "Chai Gala Peace Celebration" was finally held at the Jewish Community Center when the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt was signed.
In 1983 the community's first Jewish Cultural Festival was announced, the members of Hadassah's Salt Lake Chapter participated in a big way. They successfully organized and managed the best booth there, Bubba's Pastry Shop. The mouth watering pastries sold out to the last crumb.
In celebration of Hadassah's 75th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary, Norman Bangerter, Governor of Utah, signed a proclamation declaring February, 1987, Hadassah month. That same year the Salt Lake City Chapter of Hadassah hosted the Desert Southwest Region Board Meeting in the Hilton Hotel.
Cecelia Siegel was a very surprised but most deserving recipient of the 1988 Hadassah National Leadership Award. Her leadership in the community, Chapter, and Region has been invaluable. Many past presidents of Hadassah have acknowledged their indebtedness to her for her guidance and direction. She has always remained vigilant in being a loving and vital presence.
The Salt Lake Chapter helped organize a breakfast for the entire Jewish community in honor of Teddy Kollek, Mayor of Jerusalem. 1991 president Joy Erickson presided over the ceremonies.
During its existence the Chapter has belonged to the Southern Pacific Coast Region, Central Pacific Coast Region, Southwest Region and Desert Southwest Region which in 1991 was renamed the Desert Mountain Region. The Desert Mountain Regional Conference was held in Salt Lake City in 1994. Greater Salt Lake also hosted the DMR Educational Meeting in February 2005 with an innovative and unique opening of Havdalah in the Planetarium.
Through the years, an area of great concern for the Chapter has been that of present and future leadership. This worry was quelled as new young members with sharp minds, fresh energy and willingness to serve accepted offices and committee assignments. Young mothers and professional women have become devotedly involved. Thus, Hadassah has been able to grow and continue in its work and the future of Greater Salt Lake Chapter of Hadassah looks bright.
In February 2013, the Greater Salt Lake Chapter of Hadassah celebrated a milestone event--our 70th Anniversary! Our numbers may be small but we have more than six decades of outstanding accomplishments, fundraising successes, service to humanity, dedicated leadership and devoted membership. We trust that our past history will become a treasured legacy and an inspiration to future generations of Hadassah. We hope to welcome you as a member of the Greater Salt Lake Chapter of Hadassah.