Tell us a little about yourself.
Born in New Jersey, I moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut when I was eight. Graduating from Cornell University with a Masters in City and Regional Planning, my city planning jobs were all for Community Development Corporations, working on affordable housing. My husband of thirty years and I have two daughters-- Danya who lives in D.C., and Alia, a senior at the University of Vermont.
I just completed a three-year Co-Presidency with my chapter. I have coordinated the Hadassah CHECK IT OUT program where we have educated over 16,000 students since 1998 about Breast and Testicular Cancer. I am working on a Hadassah L’Dor V’Dor multi-generational program for my region, which involves bringing together life members who have not been involved with Hadassah.
I am a Holocaust educator, and currently teach at my synagogue. I am on the Boards of the Merrimack Valley Jewish Federation and the Groton Interfaith Council. I am a Co-founder of the Groton Area Jewish Community Group and help coordinate food for Christmas day for shut-in seniors. I brought the movie Paper Clips to my town that resulted in students collecting over 1.5 million pennies, which are now displayed in a container at our middle school.
How did you get involved with Hadassah?
How did you get involved with Hadassah? I was made a life member by my mother-in-law in 1991. I vividly remember attending the Hadassah program that day at her Chapter, and being pinned by a sweet older member. I kept saying “I haven’t done anything for Hadassah,” and she responded that I will. My mother-in-law’s sister was Miriam Portman, who was a Region President of Hadassah Northern New England and a National Board Member. She was my Hadassah mentor. When I moved to Groton, MA, I looked for a local Hadassah chapter to join. Coincidentally, I became a member of Nashoba Valley Hadassah, which was a chapter that Miriam had mentored and helped establish.
What is it about Hadassah that resonates with you?
I love that Hadassah helps me feel connected to the State of Israel. I love supporting cutting-edge research and medical care at the Hadassah Hospitals. I am passionate about organizing and creating programs and Hadassah gives me that opportunity. I am big on L’Dor V’Dor, and Hadassah allows me to be a link in the chain of supporting Judaism and Hadassah from generation to generation.
Share something you would like people to know about you
Share something you would like people to know about you In the summer of 2015, my husband and I drove from Krakow to Bialystok (in Poland), where my ancestors had lived and were murdered during the Holocaust. There are two Holocaust Memorials in Bialystok, the only proof that there was Jewish life in the region. We formed a family-and-friend volunteer crew of 11, to restore the largest cemetery in Bialystok, where all the gravestones were knocked down or vandalized. This restoration will help to ensure that the cemetery will not be built upon by the Polish government.
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I love that Hadassah helps me feel connected to the State of Israel.
Find out more about Amy Degen›