Born-to-lead Dana Kapustin, 46, has been on the Hadassah board of directors in Charlotte, North Carolina, for thirteen years. First, as Vice President of Young Women's Programming and Camp Judaea Liaison, then Treasurer for six years, followed by three years as Chapter President. Now, as Immediate Past President, she's busier than ever.
Her passion for Israel began in childhood. "My three sisters and I grew up in Temple, Texas, a town without a synagogue. My parents took us to Waco, Texas for the High Holy Days, but it was a big schlep," she said.
Kapustin's Hebrew school classmate invited her to Camp Young Judaea (CYJ). That's where she learned about Zionism and developed her strong love for Israel.
"Raised in YJ, I participated in Israel programs and Year Course. That's also where I met my husband, Andrew. He'd spent summers at Camp Judaea in Hendersonville, North Carolina. We've raised Judaean children! Danielle is 20, and our twins, Jacob and Charlie, 18. All three are involved in Camp Judaea."
As the Charlotte Chapter Immediate Past President, Kapustin's current work is driven by a passion to promote advocacy and support the Never Again Education Act. Her advocacy for this part of Hadassah's mission is informed by her extensive work in Holocaust education. She works with Jewish Family Services to engage local Holocaust survivors and second- generation survivors to interact within their Charlotte community. She's also a facilitator of workshops providing education about refugees, the Holocaust, and Elie Wiesels' Night.
In addition to her advocacy work, Kapustin has played an instrumental part in one of the first initiatives from EVOLVE Hadassah: The Young Women's Network. She is one of 18 members of the newly created National Young Women's Cabinet, committed to developing strategies to attract and meaningfully engage younger members.
"Some of us in the cabinet represent five generations of Hadassah members, and some are new to this organization," she said. "We are married, single, with children and without. We hope to capture the essence of what young leadership in Hadassah will look like as we continue the values, mission and passion of 'Women Who DO.'"
"At the [most recent] cabinet meeting, we set goals, asked questions, searched for answers and now we will help lead Hadassah," she said. "What drives us is our passion for Judaism and Zionism, and our determination to find cures for diseases, ways to educate, and paths to advocate.… We are also determined to share positive values and goals with the next generation of Hadassah."
Now, let's talk TaTas. Kapustin lights up about Celebrate the TaTas, a program that began in Charlotte eight years ago. It's a fundraising day to celebrate and promote outreach on breast cancer. Female artists paint women's torsos, and everyone gets food, massages, makeup, and bra-fittings. The money is raised during annual "reveals" and selling photos of each woman's paint TaTas. Luncheons raise $40,000, and dinners, $120,000. Most women buy their own photos.
Kapustin has visited Israel a dozen times since her teens. Every trip includes a visit to Hadassah's Hospital and is driven to keep the hospital thriving.
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