”To fully understand the Birth of our Region, I must first do some temporary surgery, which I dislike doing, but I promise you, it will be reversed in a few minutes.
The surgery will be to eliminate the Northern portion of our Region, and concentrate for a moment on the Southern part, namely Arizona, El Paso, and New Mexico.
Prior to 1979, these areas were part of the Southern Pacific Coast Region, which consisted of Southern California, including two big chapters, Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, and us...those areas mentioned before...and we were known as the Inland Chapters...the sound is like a scraping chalk board, even today.
The Inland Chapters consisted of Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Rio Rancho, El Paso, Tucson, Phoenix, and Sun City (Scottsdale was not yet a chapter).
Yes, I forgot to mention, Las Vegas was also part of this Southern Pacific Coast Region.
If you had completed your Presidency of one of the Inland Chapters, you could be invited to join the Region Board in one of three positions: Membership Co-Chair; Education Co-Chair; or Area Vice-President of the Inland Chapters. You guessed it. The Chairs came from California, and if you were the AVP, you were expected to visit all your chapters twice a year.
Well, I was a lucky one. I finished my presidency in 1969 and served in all the above mentioned portfolios. As an AVP, and visiting the chapters, I became very aware of the exceptional talent that would have nowhere to go. Would we lose the Grace Ellowitz, Seema Liston, Sharon Khan, Phyllis Stern, Joan Feiner, Sharon Briskman, to mention just a few? This was unacceptable.
Southern Pacific Coast Region had had just one Region President from the Inland Chapters, Dorothy Pickelner from Phoenix. They never stopped talking about what a disaster that was. Why? Dorothy was wonderful...but...
she didn't live in Los Angeles or Beverly Hills, and that had become almost a pre-requisite for the Presidency.
This was not satisfactory to me. So, being younger, stronger, and yes, more feisty, I verbally attacked every National Board member who came to visit. I insisted that we become our own Region so we could have a place for all our up-and-coming leadership.
At one point, it was suggested that we join with the Northern states, who were being tossed from one Region to another and were not happy campers. I, very tongue-in-cheek, said that it would not work...because...I didn't even own a warm coat, so I couldn't travel there. The National Board member, who shall forever remain un-named, reported on this, and that is how I was known.
A little more arguing, and we were given the go-ahead with a year of transition, with Enid Young as our advisor.
Yes, we were capable, and in 1979, under a chuppah, at a hotel in Scottsdale, with Rose Goldman, of blessed memory officiating, I was elected the first president of the Region to be known as the Desert Southwest Region. Las Vegas was given a choice and chose to stay with the Southern Pacific Coast Region at that time.
Things went very well. We had a phenomenal cadre of leaders from every chapter, many of whom are still here with us today.
Scottsdale was born, many chapters had their own births, and then...remember? I promised to reverse the surgery. Then, we were approached again about the Northern states. Yes. I had bought a coat, and we were ready to grow. A new marriage was made. Now, as one Region, extending from the Canadian to the Mexican borders, we became the Desert-Mountain Region. Las Vegas decided to join us, and today, I am proud of our place in the Hadassah Family. We have three National Vice-Presidents, many important National Chairs, and a not-so-young, not-so-strong, but still feisty lady, who is so very proud to have been your first President and qvells from your accomplishments."